The Dunwoody City Council chose to defer its vote on terminating City Attorney Brian Anderson at the council’s May 14 meeting.
Mayor Mike Davis added the resolution to the agenda to terminate Anderson, citing that “the mayor and council no longer have confidence in the abilities and judgment of the city attorney.”
Councilman Doug Thomas made a motion to defer the vote, which was supported by the majority of the council. Councilman Terry Nall and Davis voted against the deferral.
Earlier this year, Davis hired an investigator to look into a leak of information about the sale of the city’s 16-acre North Shallowford Road property referred to as the PVC Farm. City officials were discussing the property, which has now been revealed as one of the parcels to be included in the “Project Renaissance” redevelopment, in private executive sessions.
According to Georgia’s open meetings act, elected officials are permitted to meet privately to discuss the purchase of property, legal or personnel matters. According to Sandy Springs City Attorney Wendell Willard, the open meetings law does not allow city governments to discuss the sale of property in a closed session. Willard was responding to a reporter’s question about the law, and not commenting specifically on the Dunwoody case.
The council has heard the results of the investigation, Davis said, but has yet to see the report.
“Because we have not received the report yet, we as a group decided to defer (the vote) until we could review it,” Davis said after the meeting.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Anderson addressed the council from the podium, instead of from his usual seat at the table with them.
He said he has taken a polygraph test to show he did not share confidential information with Dunwoody Crier publisher Dick Williams.
“Further, I do not believe that under the open records and open meetings act that an actual violation of city ordinances could have occurred,” Anderson said. “The open records and open meetings act at that time did not have an exception for the disposal of city property. The courts have constantly rejected any expansion to any of the exceptions of the act.
“I believe the bigger issue here is the removal of all checks and balances within the city,” Anderson added.
Nall said he was ready to vote for the termination at the meeting.
“It’s clear we have sufficient information to conclude that (Anderson) has, at the very least, underserved this city council,” Nall said.
Editor’s note: an earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about the Georgia Open Meetings Act.