The City of South Fulton will hold an investigative hearing on Dec. 30 at 9:00 a.m. at City Hall, 5440 Fulton Industrial Blvd. Councilwoman Helen Willis and Mayor William “Bill” Edwards are accused of interfering with South Fulton Development Authority and steering a deal with Halperns’ Steak and Seafood to the Development Authority of Fulton County.
According to the resolution, if the charges are proven, both could face disciplinary action including removal from office. A hearing was first held on Dec. 10, but was dismissed due to an administrative oversight.
A special called meeting will also be held at 2:00 p.m. The agenda will include discussion on the Mayor’s veto of City Attorney Emilia Walker’s contract, and the contract and arrangements for the swearing-in ceremony on January 11.
The veto of the city attorney’s contract was signed on Friday. During the process of establishing the investigative hearing, it was learned that the city did not have a formal contract with the city attorney. Walker presented a draft of a contract to the council on Dec. 16.
Reasons cited for the Mayor’s veto of the contract included: it was presented to the council one hour before the meeting, prohibiting meaningful discussion; the contract was never give to the finance department for proper vetting and remarks; section titled “Termination” is believed by the Mayor to violate Section 4.12 of the city charter; it is the custom that all contracts be reviewed by an attorney; and at the time of contract approval, funding had not been identified by the finance department.
Mayor Edwards also vetoed a section of the resolution establishing the hearing. The section was related to the designation and role of the hearing officer being left in the discretion of Special Attorney John Mrosek. The reason cited was financial impact.
Mrosek said that under Georgia law, a hearing officer is not required for this type of administrative proceeding. On Friday, he said that he would provide the city council with the hearing procedures in the absence of a hearing officer.
A request for comment on Mayor Edward’s intent in issuing the veto was sent to the city on Friday. A response was not provided by the time this article was published.
Editor’s Note: Story updated on Dec. 23 at 2:02 p.m.