MILLEDGEVILLE — Mayor Richard Bentley Friday called for removal of City Manager Barry Jarrett for comments made during a City Council meeting that discussed the ramifications of withdrawing city funds from a bank whose president had criticized the council.
The council discussion, held three months ago without the public or press present, was secretly recorded and the contents published in The Union-Recorder last Saturday.
“The events referenced in the article are unfortunate, embarrassing and disappointing,” said Bentley in a City Hall announcement. “I must condemn the recording of the conversation, as well as the content.”
A special executive closed session of the City Council has been called for noon Monday to discuss the mayor’s request. A majority vote of the six-member council would be needed to remove the city manager. The mayor would vote only in the event of a tie.
Two councilors — Boo Mullins and Jeanette Walden — responded to the mayor’s statement. Mullins said he’s satisfied with Jarrett’s job performance. Walden expressed disappointment the mayor didn’t consult with the council before speaking out publicly.
“It's basically the mayor and council that run the city not just the mayor,” said Walden. “We need to all work together, including the mayor.”
Jarrett had no immediate comment on the mayor’s call for his removal. But Thursday he submitted a statement to The Union-Recorder and The Baldwin Bulletin apologizing to local residents. He also identified councilor Walter Reynolds as the person who recorded the meeting without the knowledge of city officials in attendance.
“I feel it necessary to make a heartfelt apology to each of you for those comments and to reassure you that the words expressed by me were expressed out of anger and frustration,” said Jarrett. “My statements were in response to Councilman Reynolds’ deceptively prepared remarks as he was the only person in the conversation that knew the conversation was being recorded. For this, I was wrong and I humbly apologize to each of you.”