In February, the Georgia Attorney Generals Office received nine complaints from residents of alleged illegal government meetings in Gordon and other alleged misconduct.
The complaints spurred the Attorney Generals Office to send a letter to Mayor Mary Ann Whipple-Lue and members of Gordons City Council, requesting their response to those concerns. The Telegraph obtained the records through an Open Records Act request.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Stefan Ritter is scheduled to meet with Whipple-Lue in Gordon on Tuesday to follow up on the complaints and gather information about the allegations, said Daryl Robinson, counsel to the attorney general.
Robinson said similar meetings happen across the state about a dozen times a year.
Typically, the Attorney Generals Office meets with officials to help them understand the law and to help the state office understand the basis for residents complaints.
Reached by phone Monday, Whipple-Lue said, Weve not had any open meetings that has been, you know, against the rules and regulations of the laws. So, other than that, I have not done anything except kept things in compliance.
She ended the one-minute conversation and hung up before The Telegraph could ask a second question. A subsequent phone message was not returned.
Robinson said the Attorney Generals Office has prosecuted just one case for civil penalties in recent years.
Our purpose ... really is not retribution, he said. Its to get everybody to understand the law so they can follow the law.
Records in the Attorney Generals Office case file on Gordon show:
The first complaint was emailed Feb. 8 by a 43-year Wilkinson County resident who doesnt live in the city limits, but who has family living in the city. A second email was sent by another resident the next evening.
Seven more complaints were filed between about 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Feb. 20.
The complaints contained allegations of illegal meetings, financial malfeasance, violations of the citys charter, racism, nepotism, tampering with files, and job discrimination.
One person additionally requested information about how to accomplish a recall of elected officials. Ritter responded with a citation from the state law but said he couldnt provide legal advice.
Ritter responded to each of the complaints. In several of them, he told complainants that allegations aside from Open Records and Open Meetings violations fall outside his offices jurisdiction.
One of the complaint filers responded back: With social media what it is today, word of your quick response has lit a fire and a glimmer of hope that somebody, somewhere can help the town with some relief.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.