Unless the City of Snellville comes up with a payment of approximately $12,000 of taxpayer monies, mayor Kelly Kautz will find herself facing yet another lawsuit for irresponsible or bad behavior. This time Snellville will have to pay the bill. From the information we’ve been able to piece together from a number of sources, on Thursday, city officials received information that attorneys would file a lawsuit on behalf of Marilyn Swinney for violation of Ms. Swinney’s civil rights. The letter states that Ms. Kautz’s silencing of Ms. Swinney violates both the United States and Georgia Constitutions. It appears that Kautz has been named as a sole defendant.
The threatened lawsuit is a result of Kautz silencing Swinney by yelling, “You’re out of order” and ordering her microphone to be turned off. The incident occurred at the July 23 city council meeting when Swinney attempted to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting. Shortly after the incident, television station CBS Atlanta interviewed Swinney, Kautz and several council members. In that interview, Swinney stated she felt mortified by the incident, and as though the mayor didn’t want her to give her personal opinion. “After I thought about it, my civil rights were violated” (http://www.cbsatlanta.com/
When Kautz was interviewed she stated, “I probably cut her off before she said anything, and I’ll admit that, and that probably was my fault.”
PROBABLY? The video of the meeting shows that Kautz unquestionably silenced Swinney before she said anything. Kautz’s actions with Swinney are in stark contrast to her lack of action when someone is attacking a council member she doesn’t care for. When a resident made a verbal attack against council member Tom Witts, Kautz didn’t say a word. The woman’s comments grossly violated the rules of decorum, but Kautz did nothing. More recently, (after the Swinney incident) when a self-described ethics watchdog used the public comment forum for a personal attack, Kautz allowed remarks that violated the city’s rules for decorum.
Kautz has a long history of calling people “out of order” when she thinks they’re going to say something that she doesn’t want to hear. A review of meeting videos shows that she has repeatedly used that tactic to silence citizens as well as council members. These videos are posted on the city’s web site and are available to the public.
Gwinnett Ethics will be following this story closely and continuing our investigation. Aside from the Swinney case, we’ve found that Kautz has committed several other violations of the city charter. Those violations may not be the type that could result in a lawsuit, but they may be the basis for a complaint that can be filed with the city. Kautz’s disturbing history of abusing the power of her office will be costing taxpayers some money in the future and probably has in the past. We don’t think that should be allowed to happen without consequences. Kautz should be held accountable for her gross violations of the public trust.
This is a link to The Patch article is. http://snellville.patch.com/
*Other issues we are investigating*
1.Several Snellville leaders still have issues we will continue to look into.
2.We received a tip about some Grayson County leaders.
3.The State Ethics Commission (top priority)
4.Gwinnett school funds being paid to The Chamber of Commerce.
Send us your tips for Gwinnett or Georgia firstname.lastname@example.org