The Union Recorder

October 2, 2013

No word yet on ethics recommendation

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — A month after its ethics board recommendation, city officials remain mum on the final ruling on the recent Milledgeville City Council ethics complaint. City officials are expected to receive transcripts of the ethics hearing next week. 

The transcript from the final hearing in reference to the ethics complaint filed against Councilman Phillip Joiner, District 4, was finally complete last week and is slated to be delivered to the city clerk Monday. 

“Until we received the transcript of the final hearing, we could not forward it to the mayor and Council,” Jimmy Jordan, city attorney, said Wednesday. “We had a different court reporter for the final hearing so she may have had other jobs ahead.”

The ethics hearing concluded Wednesday, Aug. 28. 

The city’s ethics ordinance states “the decision of the Board of Ethics shall be rendered to mayor and aldermen within seven calendar days after completion of the final hearing.” 

The ethics board ruled Joiner to be in violation of the city’s ordinances. Based on its own ordinance, the ethics board had until Wednesday, Sept. 4 to make its final recommendation to Council and Mayor Richard Bentley to take action on the complaint based solely on the presence of a discernible ethics violation. 

“The Board of Ethics will be getting a final version of their decision, which will be very similar to what they published the night of the hearing,” Jordan said. “A record, including the recommendation of the Board of Ethics, transcripts of both hearings and evidentiary documents, will be delivered to the city clerk.”

The city clerk will notify City Manager Barry Jarrett, who will then be responsible for informing Council.

“By Monday, we will have everything delivered to the clerk who will then notify the city manager. The city manager can notify City Council that he has received it and I assume he will invite council to come by City Hall to review the evidence and records as they so choose,” Jordan said. “The city manager will decide when to put it on the agenda for a future meeting to be reported and considered by mayor and Council, or he may call a special meeting.”

Local downtown business owner Danielle Fields filed the ethics complaint against Joiner earlier this year.

The rules allow for the censure of an official, or Council may ask for a resignation from office. Joiner is not running for reelection to the District 4 seat following his current term which runs through Dec. 31.

There is no timetable for City Council to take action.

“I would not anticipate for it being on the agenda for next week’s meeting,” Jordan said.

City Council is scheduled to hold a work session at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday followed by Council’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6:30 p.m. The meetings will be held at City Hall in executive chambers.

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