Thompson requested to attend counseling

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

City officials in Stockbridge have authorized a further probe into the events surrounding a City Council meeting earlier this month that led to a censure of Mayor Tim Thompson.

A number of Atlanta media outlets have covered the story, which includes video from City Hall in which someone can be heard screaming at others in a conference call. That someone is alleged to be Thompson, who was accused of threatening other council members and against whom a police complaint was filed by Mayor Pro Tem Alphonso Thomas.

Thompson said nothing about these events during an emergency called meeting March 18, the agenda of which consisted solely of an executive session. Robin Buschman made a motion to go into executive session while excluding Thompson, and that motion passed 4-1 with Anthony Ford voting no.

The open meeting reconvened about an hour later, with Buschman moving to approve a resolution “reprimanding the mayor.” She was the only council member not in attendance at the March 5 meeting which led to the allegations against Thompson.

After LeKeisha Gantt seconded the motion, Buschman read the entire resolution into the record, beginning with the charge that Thompson “engaged in behavior that was wholly unacceptable and inexcusable” that “brought great discredit and shame” to the city.

The council is concerned about the morale of city employees in light of the mayor’s actions and “wishes to make it clear that it does not condone or accept” those actions, according to the resolution.

Also included were the council’s concerns that this was not an isolated incident and that the mayor has engaged in a pattern of "abusive, bullying, intimidating and threatening behavior" toward council members.

The resolution formally censured and reprimanded Thompson and requested that he undergo anger management counseling, showing with 30 days that he is taking steps in that direction. It also authorized an investigation to determine if the mayor has violated the city charter.

The motion to approve the resolution passed 5-0 with no additional comment, and the council moved to adjourn immediately after that vote.

A Henry County Police Department spokesperson issued a statement that the original complaint was investigated and presented to a magistrate court with no warrant issued.

Thompson released the following statement the day after the meeting:

“One independent investigation into the City Council's meeting was concluded and the Council advised of that mere hours before it resolved to fund a private investigation at public expense. I welcome any inquiry independently and honestly seeking the truth and will gladly participate in such an effort.

“I will reserve any further comments for the investigators. I respectfully suggest that others do the same. No good purpose is served by fanning the flames and making the city a spectacle.

“I commit to go forward with the same principles that have guided me thus far - public stewardship, service, honesty, and candor.”