Gordon’s city insurance won’t be renewed due to apparent ‘dysfunction’

awomack@macon.comApril 1, 2014 

The city of Gordon could lose its property and liability insurance coverage in a month.

In a letter mailed to the city last month, the Georgia Municipal Association notified elected officials that the city’s policy won’t be renewed when it runs out at 12:01 a.m. May 1.

In that event, the city hall, city vehicles and other property wouldn’t be covered. There would be no workers’ compensation insurance or insurance to cover the city if someone filed suit against it.

The Municipal Association administers the city’s policy through the Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency, a group of about 330 cities, housing authorities and regional authorities that pool their money to pay claims, said Amy Henderson, a spokeswoman for the association.

The letter mailed to city officials cites “apparent dysfunction among the elected officials ... which has created conditions that increase risk of loss to the city beyond acceptable levels.”

The letter also mentions an “apparent consistent disregard of open meeting laws and related notice requirements” that have spurred an investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office.

That scrutiny followed claims of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by three city department heads that also have increased potential liability, according to the letter. A fourth employee, not a department head, also has filed an EEOC claim.

“It is felt that the current situation is unacceptable,” the letter went on to say.

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

City Councilman Terry Eady, who also serves as mayor pro tem, said the city is shopping for a new policy in hopes of having it in place before the current one expires.

“We are desperately seeking another insurance company that will carry us until we can work through all the problems that have caused us to be dropped,” he said.

In the nearly three months since Whipple-Lue has been in office, residents have attended city council meetings in droves due to concerns about how the city is being governed.

A lawyer from the state Attorney General’s Office met with the mayor and several council members last month to discuss alleged open meeting law violations.

Two city council members and members of the Concerned Citizens of Gordon group filed a lawsuit in Wilkinson County Superior Court last month seeking to remove Whipple-Lue from office.

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

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