Gordon residents file suit seeking mayor’s removal

awomack@macon.comMarch 11, 2014 

Two Gordon City Council members and several members of the Concerned Citizens of Gordon group filed a lawsuit Tuesday, seeking to remove Mayor Mary Ann Whipple-Lue from office.

The suit, filed in Wilkinson County Superior Court, cites instances of alleged violations of Georgia’s open meetings law and asks that a judge nullify any votes or actions that resulted from those meetings.

The city charter allows a mayor to be removed from office on the grounds of “incompetence, misfeasance or malfeasance” in office, said Devlin Cooper, a Macon lawyer representing councilmen Terry Eady and Freddie Densley and the residents in the lawsuit.

“Obviously the citizens have grave concerns about how the government is being run,” Cooper said.

The removal can be accomplished by an order from a Superior Court judge after a hearing on a complaint that seeks removal, according to the lawsuit.

A phone message left for Whipple-Lue was not returned Tuesday.

The plaintiffs also allege that the mayor took keys and a city checkbook from the city clerk. Four personnel files, including one for former Mayor Kenneth Turner, were found missing during a city audit, according to the court filing.

The missing files and the checkbook were found in the mayor’s filing cabinet Feb. 28, along with missing and unpaid city invoices, according to the complaint.

Additionally, the plaintiffs allege malfeasance, citing the mayor’s instructing the city clerk to write a check for the audit despite City Council members’ voting down a motion to fund it.

Whipple-Lue also has allegedly refused to provide the city attorney or Eady with a copy of the “engagement letter” used to hire the auditor, citing an exemption in the state’s open records law for an ongoing investigation, according to the court filing.

Cooper said the lawsuit may be amended if additional evidence is discovered.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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