Friday, January 18, 2013
Submitted yesterday, the resignation is effective immediately.
The newly appointed Snellville city attorneys, Nola Jackson and Karen Woodward, resigned on Jan. 17, effective immediately. Jackson and Woodward, lawyers with the Cruser and Mitchell law firm, were appointed on Dec. 13 by Mayor Kelly Kautz, after she said that her relationship with the former attorney, Tony Powell, was "irretrievably broken." While Jackson and Woodward only said in an email that they felt it was "not in the best interest of Cruser and Mitchell to continue in this position," their decision does end, for now, the debate on whether they are the city's official legal representation or not. For further reading on Powell's dismissal: As it stands now, Powell is still acting as city attorney, despite the fact that Kautz …
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
After nearly a year back on the job, Mayor Kautz is removing City Attorney Tony Powell from his position.
Mayor Kelly Kautz has fired City Attorney Tony Powell. In a Dec. 13 email, she told Powell that "after much thought and deliberation, pursuant to my powers granted to me by the Charter of the City of Snellville as Mayor, effective December 13, 2012, I have appointed a new City Attorney, Cruser and Mitchell. This is a decision that I have thought long and hard over. It is not based on personalities but rather what I feel is in the best interest of the City." Kautz asserts that the relationship between Powell and the City is "irretrievably broken," and that there is "an irreparable breach of trust and communication with [Powell] and all the members of Council and City staff." An example of her mistrust of Powell is that she did not know he …
Friday, April 20, 2012
At a special called meeting, council was greeted with a familiar face.
After months of wrangling and discord, Mayor Kelly Kautz has changed her mind regarding who should be Snellville's city attorney. Kevin Tallant is out, and Tony Powell is back in. Hired actually to replace Powell, Tallant had been on the job for a little over a month. Powell is the former city attorney, who left the position in November when Kautz was elected. "There's no secret that I did not want Tony," Kautz said of her earlier decision not to have him continue as the city attorney. "Tony and I had our own issues." In addition, the mayor believed -- and still does -- that there are likely conflicts of interest because Powell serves as a councilman in Lawrenceville. While the city looked for a replacement for Powell, Stuart Oberman …
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The city of Snellville recently paid more than $30,000 to its former interim city manager.
A couple of weeks ago, the city of Snellville paid an outstanding bill of more than $30,000 owed to its former interim city attorney Stuart Oberman. It was an issue that proved contentious over the past several months, with city council questioning the charges and the mayor asserting that the bills be paid. Despite council's lingering questions, Mayor Kelly Kautz said she continued to authorize payment right up until the last bill. "Every time I got a bill, I instructed the city manager to pay," she said. "He did on the last one." In a Gwinnett Daily Post article, Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts said that the mayor had no right to do what she did. "I don't know what we do," he told the news agency. Oberman resigned from his post in late February…
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Following the resignation of Stuart Oberman as interim city attorney, Snellville's mayor has appointed a new person to a permanent position.
Cumming-based attorney Kevin Tallant has been hired as the city's newest permanent counsel. Tallant, who is founding partner at Miles, Patterson, Hansford and Tallant, was appointed by Mayor Kelly Kautz just days after Stuart Oberman resigned as interim city attorney. On Monday, city council is slated to vote on Tallant's attorney fees. The firm plans to charge the city $185 per hour for any work done by Tallant. According to a letter to Snellville officials, the fee represents a 30 percent reduction from the firm's normal rates. In the letter, Tallant said, "Please know that I and the rest of my firm are both honored and excitd to have the privilege of serving as legal counsel to the city of Snellville, Ga." Named a 2010 Georgia Super …
Friday, March 2, 2012
Who should hire and fire the city attorney? Council members weigh in on Patch.
Snellville City Council is pushing forward with plans to alter the charter to allow shared power -- between council members and the mayor -- when appointing the city attorney. On Wednesday evening, council voted 4-2 in favor of changing the charter to do just that, and now will need approval of the state legislature. Currently, the power to hire and fire city attorneys is at the sole discretion of the mayor. A change to share this decision would effectively dilute the mayor's control. Dave Emanuel, Diane Krause, Tom Witts and Bobby Howard voted for the change. Mayor Kelly Kautz and Mike Sabbagh voted against. Click here to read our initial post about this issue and take our poll. We surveyed council members to learn their positions on the …
Thursday, March 1, 2012
In a 4-2 vote, Snellville City Council voted this week to move forward with a plan to reduce the mayor's powers to appoint a city attorney.
For weeks now, several members of city council have been particularly peeved with Mayor Kelly Kautz. Last night, the council voted to do something about that. No, they aren't discrediting the election, but they do want to relieve Kautz's powers to appoint a city attorney. It was a 4-2 vote to amend the charter, with Dave Emanuel, Diane Krause, Tom Witts and Bobby Howard voting for the resolution. Kautz and Councilman Mike Sabbagh were in opposition. The specific section of the charter that the city council wants to revise is 3.12. It reads: "The mayor shall appoint a city attorney, together with such assistant city attorneys as may be authorized, and shall provide for the payment of such attorney or attorneys for services rendered to the …
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Stuart Oberman submitted his resignation to the city of Snellville on Friday, February 24, 2012.
Stuart Oberman completed his last day as interim city attorney at the close of Monday's council meeting. Oberman, who was appointed to the post in November, said he resigned after discussions with Mayor Kelly Kautz about her pending decision on a permanent city attorney. "He said that if I was comfortable moving forward, then he's ready to tender his resignation," Kautz said. The mayor plans to appoint permanent counsel soon, and Oberman said he wanted to "ease the transition" by stepping aside. Tendered Feb. 24, the resignation became effective at the end of the Monday city council meeting. "It's been a great experience," he said, adding that the mayor and "certain members of council" were a pleasure to work with. Although the city has …
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Snellville City Council meets to discuss payment of the city attorney, among other matters.
Snellville City Council will meet Feb. 27 for its second regular meeting of the month. The 7:30 p.m. meeting will be preceded by a work session at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at City Hall. You may view the full agenda documents here.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
The city's interim attorney is owed more than $23,000, but his predecessor also has been charging the city this year. View documents here.
Snellville's interim city attorney isn't the only attorney that has racked up a number of fees in the past several months. However, there's at least one stark difference between the two stacks of bills. Staurt Oberman, interim city attorney since mid-November 2011, has been fighting to get paid. Tony Powell, the previous city attorney, has not. Although officials say both Oberman and Powell charged the city the same hourly rate of $150, several city council members have maintained that Oberman's fees are excessive. According to information received through a Freedom of Information Act request, Oberman was owed a little more than $23,000 as of January 30. (See the documents attached.) Nearly $19,000 are fees associated with administrative …