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Duckworth, Wingate absent from ethics committee hearing in Reidsville

Thursday evening, the City of Reidsville held a specially-called meeting to address concerns that a newly-formed ethics committee, created to oversee complaints brought against the city, was not properly appointed and is therefore operating illegally.


The meeting came at the request of Councilmen John Wingate and Virgil Duckworth who were both absent at the council meeting earlier this year when the appointments were made and confirmed, but both were again noticeably absent from the Thursday’s meeting.

City Attorney Van Cheney offered his directive, saying instead of the traditional 3/5 vote for quorum to appoint the ethics committee, they instead needed 4 of 5 council members voting in favor. He belabored the point that the issue was not one that was personal, but that it was brought to his attention that the vote in January, at which time he was present, was not proper. Ethics committee members Donald Prestage and Vickie Nail said otherwise. Those videos are below and offered contradictory legal opinions.

Cheney suggested the city dissolve the committee and cast a vote again when all council members are present at the meeting, however, Mayor Clifton and members of the public expressed concern that Councilmen Duckworth and Wingate would continue to miss meetings in an effort to avoid the creation of the committee. For that reason, Councilman Doug Williams proposed changing the ordinance to 3/5 vote so that the action taken is legitimate and the simple majority would be sufficient. Councilmembers Carolyn Blackshear and Curtis Colwell agreed that that may be the best course of action at the June meeting.

No action was taken.

City Attorney Van Cheney makes his case as to why the appointments were not legitimate.

Posted by Jessica Szilagyi on Thursday, May 26, 2016

 

Appointed members of the ethics committee respond.

Posted by Jessica Szilagyi on Friday, May 27, 2016

 

Part 3.

Posted by Jessica Szilagyi on Friday, May 27, 2016

 

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

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