By Monroe Roark
“Welcome to the first
official meeting of 2014 for the city of Stockbridge.”
That statement Friday morning
from Mayor Tim Thompson drew an enthusiastic round of applause from
the audience in the council chambers at City Hall, as the newly
configured Stockbridge City Council began its duties for the new
L to r: Alphonso Thomas, Tim
Thompson, Anthony Ford and Lakeisha Gantt.
The meeting was called on
24 hours’ notice, with Alphonso Thomas present as well as the
two newest members, Anthony Ford and Lakeisha Gantt. No reason
was given for the absence of Robin Buschman and Richard
Steinberg, and there was also no mention during the meeting of
when the mayor and new members were sworn in.
The entire meeting, including
executive session, was completed in less than 40 minutes. Several
administrative items typically handled in January were addressed,
all with a 3-0 vote.
The Jonesboro law firm of
Fincher Denmark Williams & Minnifield was named the new city
attorney, replacing Bill Linkous. There was no discussion regarding
The council accepted the
resignation of former city manager David Milliron and appointed Dr.
Ronald Finnell as the interim city manager. Finnell is chairman of
the Department of Public Administration at Clark Atlanta University.
Milliron resigned at the end
of the Dec. 30 council meeting effective immediately. He made no
public statement and efforts to reach him later in the week were
Thomas inquired as to whether
there were any terms connected to Milliron’s departure, and Thompson
stated that he was paid $15,000 in severance.
“He has been paid, and a
check has been cashed,” said Thompson. “And it has cleared.”
Only one administrative
position did not change at the meeting. Mike Bush, who was hired as
city treasurer last spring, was named interim city treasurer.
Stephanie Tigner, formerly
the deputy city clerk, was named interim city clerk to another round
of applause. City clerk Rhonda Blackmon, who was at the front table
attending to her duties when the vote was taken, was relieved
immediately and escorted by an officer from the meeting, and Tigner
took over. There was no discussion or reason given for the change.
Finnell and Tigner were
listed on the city’s web site in their new positions as of Friday
Another move that got a
positive audience reaction was the vote to remove all three members
of the Ethics Board approved at the Dec. 20 meeting. There was no
other discussion and no new members were nominated.
The meeting agenda originally
included an item to review and take action on the membership of the
Downtown Development Authority, but that item was removed at the
beginning of the meeting.
There was a brief executive
session but no action was taken after the council reconvened.
At the close of the meeting
Thompson gave the council members an opportunity to address the
community, and each of them thanked the public for their support and
asked the citizens to continue communicating with them and
participating in the city’s government.
There was no public comment
period at the meeting, but Thompson assured the audience that more
adjustments would be made in the near future to make the meeting
process more “citizen-friendly.”
The 2014 meeting schedule right now appears to
reflect past years for the most part. A meeting was set for Tuesday,
Jan. 7, after this edition of the Times went to press. That is the
tradition date of the council’s regular work session.