Author: Sarah Bakhtiari, Snellville Patch
Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz filed a civil lawsuit Friday (Jan. 24) in the Gwinnett Superior Court to try to confirm some of her mayoral powers.
Specifically, the lawsuit is “for relief from the infringement upon the rights, duties, and responsibilities of the office of the mayor of the city of Snellville and upon the duly elected mayor,” says the affidavit acquired by Snellville Patch.
The lawsuit, which is against all five members of the city council in addition to City Manager Butch Sanders and City Clerk Melisa Arnold, details the following:
- The defendants have held “secret, closed door Council meetings without providing access or notice to the public” which are allegedly illegal.
- Sanders and Arnold have denied Kautz access to “essential parts” of Snellville City Hall.
- The defendants have improperly used the stamp or electronic impression of the mayor’s signature on city documents without her knowledge or authority.
- The appointment of Phyllis Moreland-Richardson as the Snellville city clerk, replacing Arnold, was read into the minutes at the city council meeting Jan. 13.
- The complaint also requests that the court issue temporary restraining orders against all defendants and that the mayor be awarded attorney’s fees and costs.
“During my service in my official capacity as Mayor of the City of Snellville, the Defendants have deliberately and repeatedly infringed on the rights and powers of the Office of the Mayor, which rights and powers are defined in the City Charter,” says the affidavit acquired by Snellville Patch.
Representing Kautz are attorneys Zahra Miller [Karinshak] of Krevolin & Horst and Phyllis Miller. Miller also represented Snellville resident Alisa Boykin when her candidacy was challenged during her run for city council in the 2013 general election.
“I hope that when people see the real facts and understand the actual applicable laws, they will see that Mayor Kautz is doing the right thing,” wrote Miller in an email. “A lot of people have been developing opinions based on incorrect information. Kelly Kautz is a good woman working hard for the citizens of Snellville.”
Councilman Bobby Howard told Snellville Patch that he received a copy of the complaint and affidavit, but has not made an official statement.
The mayor and city council will meet Monday (Jan. 27) for their second work session and regular meeting of the month. Per the city website, the agenda does not mention the lawsuit or any of the claims in the lawsuit.