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New mayor, council meet in Stockbridge


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent 

  “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 year.

L to r: Alphonso Thomas, Tim Thompson, Anthony Ford and Lakeisha Gantt.                                               Special photo

  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 change.

  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 unsuccessful.

  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 night.

  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.



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