GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF) — Some people have questions about Wednesday’s special-called city council meeting in Grovetown.
Mayor Gary Jones says the meeting was called without notice and that some council members may have been conducting business secretly.
Georgia’s sunshine laws are there to make sure governments keep records and meetings open to the public. Since the meeting wasn’t planned and wasn’t posted, the council could have broken state law.
“It should concern the citizens because they’re who put us in office,” Jones said.
The mayor says he and councilman Eric Blair did not know about Wednesday’s special-called city council meeting until the city administrator told them about it.
Jones says that’s when he also found out that some council members had already signed a resolution.
“So, in theory, he would have had three signatures before they ever went into the meeting, which is what is required to pass it,” Jones said.
Former mayor and current councilman Dennis Trudeau wanted to hire an outside attorney to investigate claims that Jones was creating a hostile work environment for city employees, but Jones says the claims are not true.
“It was more of an attempt to try to tarnish me and maybe a last ditch effort to regain some type of control or power,” Jones said.
Councilman Trudeau’s step-daughter is city clerk Vicky Capetillo who is on administrative leave while a federal investigation takes place into the theft hundreds of thousands of dollars in Grovetown’s city government. That’s why Jones is calling on Trudeau to resign from office.
“Mr. Trudeau has served the city well during his time in the earlier years. He’s an honored and respected veteran and he should be recognized for that, but when this event has happened involving his step-daughter, it certainly would cloud most people’s judgement to do the right thing,” Jones said.
As the federal investigation continues, the mayor is asking citizens to be patient.
He says the city should know more about a forensic audit next week, adding that the Georgia Municipal Association could end up helping out.
“The drawback to that is that they have to do the forensic audit through firms that they utilize. That forensic audit would be at no charge. So I think it’s a no-brainer as to what we’re going to do,” Jones said.
The mayor says the council will take up the forensic audit decision during the next scheduled city council meeting, which is Monday, August 8.
NewsChannel 6 reached out to Councilman Trudeau to get his side of the story. He declined to do an interview Wednesday. Our calls and emails were not returned Thursday either.