Powder Springs Mayor Warns of Closed Meeting Leaks
Pat Vaughn told council members that such disclosure, like information given to former Councilman Tom Bevirt, can result in sanctions.
Powder Springs Mayor Pat Vaughn sent a warning to City Council members before Monday’s legislative meeting, telling them that if they leak information from executive sessions, they “can be sanctioned.”
The warning stems from an email sent to council members by former three-term Councilman Tom Bevirt. The email, provided to Patch by Bevirt and posted at the bottom of this article, asks mostly questions but does reveal Bevirt found out the city will not utilize a selection committee in its search for a permanent city manager.
“He couldn’t have done this with his own mind,” Vaughn said of Bevirt’s knowledge of the situation, later adding, “You can laugh if you want to, but that’s an ethics charge.”
Bevirt has long pushed for the city to recruit a selection committee to help in finding a new city manager, just as it did in its police chief selection. Vaughn previously said the city would consider a city manager selection committee.
Rick Eckert resigned as city manager in February but was paid his full salary—$9,600 a month plus benefits—as a consultant through the end of May, when his two-year contract ended. Later in February, former Mayor Brad Hulsey was appointed interim city manager and has since been serving in that role at $6,000 monthly.
On Monday, Councilman Al Thurman, who hadn’t yet read Bevirt’s email, said he doesn’t “see where (what Bevirt knows) would be an issue” and began on a brief back-and-forth with the mayor.
“It shouldn’t be discussed, period, until the three finalists are announced,” Vaughn said.
“Correct me if I’m wrong,” Thurman said, “we are only dealing with issues that are discussed in executive session that are not to be discussed. Anything other than that, I don’t see your point.”
“Mr. Thurman, the point is who’s qualified and who’s not,” Vaughn said, referencing Bevirt’s question about whether those who have applied meet the position’s degree requirements. “That shouldn’t be going out to Mr. Bevirt. That is confidential."
“It’s not up to him to decide who’s qualified and who’s not,” she said.
The minimum qualifications are listed as: "bachelor's degree in public administration or related field; master's degree in public administration preferred; eight years of increasingly responsible experience in municipal or county government, including five years in a senior management role; or equivalent combination of education and local government experience."
Hulsey, an insurance agent, has a high school diploma and some college from Floyd Junior College and Georgia State University. He served as a Rockmart councilman from 1984 to 1991, a Powder Springs councilman from 1996 to 1999, and mayor from 2000 to 2003.
This information is listed on Hulsey's application for interim city manager, which is signed and dated Feb. 21—one day after he was voted into the position 4-0 by the council on Feb. 20.
During the public comment section of Monday's meeting, Bevirt was the only commenter. He first told council members that he has signed his full name, Thomas D. Bevirt, “since I was 7 years old,” alluding to Councilman Chris Wizner’s Patch comment accusing him of leaving a previous comment that was critical of the city.
Bevirt then repeated the questions in his email, to which the mayor responded that the council does not discuss personnel issues and “the applicants … do not want their names released and we will not release the names of any applicants until the three finalists, and we will clear it with them before we release the names of the three finalists. That is the process.”
“I’m not asking for any names to be released,” Bevirt said.
“Human Resources went through and selected and narrowed down,” the mayor said. “Council still has the option to look at as many as they do, and when they’re ready to make an announcement and decision, they will do that.”
After the meeting, Vaughn said out of about 50 original applicants, the city has narrowed them down to 12, but council members can still go back to the original applications if needed. There isn’t a timetable to when the three finalists will be named, she said.
Bevirt's email (unedited)
July 22, 2012
I am writing this note to inquire about several issues previously addressed:
1) Several months ago the Mayor was quoted in the PATCH that the Mayor & Council would have a selection committee made up of "city managers, mayors and HR persons" to help select names to be presented before you for the City Manager's job. This apparently was not done. Why is that?
2) The City Manager job posting clearly stated that the applicants must have a MS degree in Public Administration and a MS degree"preferred ". Are there any applicants who are being considered who do not meet those requirements. If so, why?
3) How many applicants applied for the job? Who gave the names to be considered by the council? How were they selected and on what basis?
4) What has happened to the DAPS? It is my understanding that there were three applicants? What became of them? If they were approved have they been sent for training? What are the plans for this important Authority which has over $100,000 in two accounts? I hope that you can give me some insight into these important matters.