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Oak Park Council Member Lambasts Fellow Councilmembers with List of 10 City Charter Violations

An Oak Park City Councilwoman asked to be placed on the agenda for Monday night’s regular council meeting for the purposes of discussing Charter violations, a total of ten (10) she says have been violated over the last several months.

Councilwoman Elaine Strange, who joined the City Council along with Diane Wilson in January 2017, told her fellow council members Monday night that she was concerned over the fact that Council doesn’t follow the City Charter.

“It’s obvious that we don’t go by the Charter,” Strange said. “I’ve got a list here, it’s not all of them, and we haven’t been meeting the standards of our Charter.”

She continued, “The Charter is our Bible. That’s what we’re supposed to go by. And if we don’t, we’re illegal.”

A violation of the Charter is a misdemeanor offense.

Strange listed the following violations:

(All statements are transcribed from the sheet distributed by Strange. Any comments in parentheses are notes for clarification of the public and were not included in the sheet by Strange.)

  1. Monica Slater accepted the job as city manager knowing that she did not have the qualifications. She was asked if she was qualified and said yes. You must have 5 years experience in administrative employment or a college degree in business. She has neither.
  2. We had 2 months in 2017 we did not have a council meeting. The Charter states you shall have a council meeting every month.
  3. Monica and Trey (the police chief) went to Florida last year and bought a police car. It was not brought before the council in a meeting for approval.
  4. A canine unit was created and a officer was hired and the council had previously discussed it but put it on hold. It was done without council approval in a meeting.
  5. Patricia Bowen (a current city clerk) bought a city house that was up for bid. She did not submit a legal bid or have 10% down but was allowed to purchase the house. She is the clerk of Oak Park and according to the Charter she was not eligible to buy the house. No employees, council members, or mayor or immediate family of the above cannot purchase property of the city of Oak Park, GA.
  6. Larry Wilson, mayor, and Royce Dismuke, mayor pro tem, appointed Keith Head to sign checks on the city. This was illegal according to the Charter. Only the mayor, mayor pro tem, and clerk are allowed to sign city checks. This violation is still being carried out.
  7. The mayor authorized the clerk to sign checks with her name only, he does not have that authority, and it is a violation of the City Charter.
  8. Elaine Strange was elected Mayor Pro Tem in January 2017, and was not on the bank account in June 2017. Royce Dismuke was elected Mayor Pro Tem in June of 2018 and was on the bank account in days. Mayor and Clerk kept me off the account. This was in violation of the City Charter.
  9. Royce Dismuke worked on city property and was paid. He cannot engage in any employment concerning the city, regardless who pays him. No council member or mayor or immediate kin can work for the city of Oak Park. Violation of City Charter.
  10. Charter calls for financial reports every month. I have been here 18 months and have not seen one.
  11. This is just a few violations and there is more. Why isn’t our Charter being adhered to? What else is not being done legally?

No other council members made a comment on the statements made by Strange. Mayor Larry Wilson was not present for this portion of the meeting and Mayor Pro Tem Royce Dismuke ran the meeting. Wilson showed up during the executive session.  

You can watch the entire meeting below. The discussion begins at the 25:15 minute mark.

 

Jessica Szilagyi is a former Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com.

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