PTC Council faces choice on Haddix pay lawsuit: Fight or fold

One of the most interesting decisions to be made by the Peachtree City Council Thursday night will likely occur in executive (closed) session as members ponder whether to restore the salary of Mayor Don Haddix or face a lawsuit that could cost more than the punitive pay cut enacted by council in May.

Haddix has threatened to sue his fellow council members if his pay is not restored, and because that counts as “pending or threatened” litigation, the council is entitled under the state’s Open Meetings law to discuss the matter in closed session.

At issue is a 4-1 decision by council to lower Haddix’s monthly pay from $750 a month to just under $75 a month. The action — spearheaded by Councilman Erik Imker — was made in a bid to recoup nearly $10,000 in legal fees that the city indirectly paid for due to a decision by the city’s risk management carrier.

Several council members felt the matter was mishandled by Haddix because he failed to notify them he was seeking to be reimbursed for the legal fees, which stemmed from a libel lawsuit filed against Haddix personally by former Mayor Harold Logsdon over language used in an email Haddix sent to a city employee.

The risk management company initially denied coverage, which left Haddix to pick his own attorney instead of being represented by an attorney chosen by council or the risk management company. The lawsuit was ultimately settled in December as Haddix paid $3,000 to Logsdon and also rendered an apology.

It was after the settlement that Haddix instructed City Attorney Ted Meeker to once more petition the Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency (GIRMA) to cover the cost of the lawsuit. Ultimately, GIRMA reversed course and agreed to “cover” the cost, saying that it would have covered Haddix from the start of the lawsuit had it understood the language at issue in the lawsuit was contained in an email from the mayor to a city employee.

GIRMA’s decision resulted in the city having to pay for the costs indirectly because the total costs and settlement amounted to just under $10,000 which was below the city’s $25,000 deductible limit.

When the GIRMA payment came to light, several council members expressed outrage that such an expenditure could occur, and council voted 4-1 to approve what they termed “a budget adjustment” to dock Haddix’s pay to recoup the money for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

In the latest publicly-presented version of the budget, that pay cut was intact, but that was prior to Haddix’s attorney sending the city a notice that if the mayor’s pay isn’t fully restored, with back pay, he would file a lawsuit with the city.

In that notice, attorney Mike Bowers noted that the pay cut from Haddix’s fellow council members was tantamount to a “legislatively enacted punishment” constituting a bill of attainder. Bowers also claimed that the city charter requires mayor and council member salaries to be established by the mayor and council in a previous term, which gives the current council no authority to reduce Haddix’s salary.

“If the City Council does not authorize the payment of the salary currently owed and restoration of Mr. Haddix’s salary, the members of the city council will be acting oppressively, maliciously, corruptly, without authority of law, and in bad faith by knowingly violating the law and acting outside the scope of their discretionary authority,” Bowers wrote. “Such actions may subject each member to personal liability.”

Haddix’s pay is currently established by budget at $9,000 a year even though by ordinance the mayor is entitled to a salary of $18,000 a year. Because of tight budgets the past several years, the mayor and council have voted to keep their pay levels the same despite an ordinance passed several years ago that doubles the pay for both offices, as council members are currently paid $6,000 a year though they are eligible under that ordinance for pay up to $12,000 a year.

mudcat
mudcat's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/26/2005
So, Mr. Bowers whatcha doin'? Been almost 2 months

All those bad things that were going to happen to the city council if they didn't cave in to your sharply worded letter, whazzup? Having trouble getting the client to foot your bill? Too busy with other things? What about "Personal liability"? That didn't fly either when you actually researched it? How about taking the case on a contingency basis? 30% or $12,000 is --- well, never mind.

Note to council - thanks for holding your ground. Proud of you.

Bostonian212
Bostonian212's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/24/2012
To coin a phrase…

Is PTC better off today than 4 years ago? If you say NO..Then they all must go!

Now is the time to begin looking for competent replacements.

SPQR
SPQR's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/15/2007
foot shooting

Vindictiveness is an emotional tactic that often results in unpredictable and undesirable results.

mudcat
mudcat's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/26/2005
You mean like voting against Cyndi Plunkett for example?

Everybody got all up in arms about a couple of west side votes that didn't make much sense and thought she would be a terrible mayor. Obviously lots of them voted for Haddix. Are those the unpredictable and undesirable results?

SPQR
SPQR's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/15/2007
Ms Cat

I think you get my gist.

Mike King
Mike King's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/29/2006
Exactly , Mudcat....

...And I remain embarrassed for such a lapse in judgement. Perhaps she'll consider another run.

KraftyFla
KraftyFla's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/03/2005
Vote Incumbents Out--- it is

Vote Incumbents Out--- it is not a bad philosophy. Plunkett did much more bad than just the West Side. After all, she is a lawyer. Eric Maxwell proved (and his sidekick Michael Hofrichter confirmed) that whatever the question is, the answer is not a lawyer.

When in doubt, vote incumbents out and start with Obama !

Welcome to the Fayette Political Graveyard: Jack Smith, Ken Steele, Robert Horgan and Lee Hearn. We have plenty of room for new entrants.

bringinabroom
bringinabroom's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/10/2010
Vote all of PTC Council out

We should vote all of the PTC Council out and get rid of lots of the staff too.

First Haddix. His dumbass behavior of which the generation and handling of the Logsdon lawsuit are the latest.

Second, the remaining four members of council should be voted out. They have wasted valuable time screwing with Donnie that they should have spent on the budget. Imker concluded "I don't have any ideas". If he had not been so obsessed with Donnie maybe he could have spent somet time on the budget. Marta Learnard--- wow does she have to go. The Jarhead--- I think he got duped on this. The 4 bullied the 1-- on a losing proposition. He got a publicity hound lawyer who will beat them-- they should have just left it alone. They'll cave in.

Third, staff. We might want to change our underwear and get some new admin people who can advise these people straight.

Prediction--- Council will fold its tent, surrender, Haddix wins and will be sack dancing all the way to the next election.

MYTMITE
MYTMITE's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/14/2008
Imker has no ideas--that is a first---this is the man who said

he had all the ideas. He could fix whatever was wrong and he was going to put the council on the straight and narrow. What a joke. All he has done is blow hot air and institute actions that will eventually cost up big bucks. Where is all that fiscal knowledge he was supposed to have? He was the one who had handled big budgets and big projects and would bring this know-how to PTC council. Like Obama, he has only proved he likes to talk and make promises, and like Obama, he has done more damage than good.

NUK_1
NUK_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/17/2007
Imker

Yeah, quite disappointing. Considering that he doesn't come for re-election for another 3 years, I figured he would suggest some tough options and cuts politically. Ahhh....Haddix is up for re-election next November and it looks like ANYONE can beat him. Hmmm. Seems like Imker is afraid to suggest deeper cuts and staffing reductions now because he has his eyes on being elected Mayor in a year and doesn't want to make anyone unhappy.

MYTMITE
MYTMITE's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/14/2008
Nuk, on Imker not wanting to make anyone unhappy----

TOO LATE!!!

MajorMike
MajorMike's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/20/2005
.

.

pumpkin
pumpkin's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/19/2009
Six citizens (6)? Same Ones Will Be Bitchen With New Mayor

Mayor you will win, you are right and these six and others will never serve to do anything but keep on bitchen.

Keep up your work Mayor and let these shcool children "shun" you if they must.

pumpkin
pumpkin's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/19/2009
Six citizens (6)? Same Ones Will Be Bitchen With New Mayor

Mayor you will win, you are right and these six and others will never serve to do anything but keep on bitchen.

Keep up your work Mayor and let these shcool children "shun" you if they must.

rolling stone
rolling stone's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/08/2012
Fight or Fold, that is the question

Using a poker game as a metaphor let's imagine first the lyrics from The Gambler:
"You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run."

It appears to me that the council has all of their cards showing while the mayor is still holding cards. Why would the council decide to keep betting in this situation? I'm just sayin'.

Spyglass
Spyglass's picture
Online
Joined: 01/28/2008
Fight it

Imho

Mike King
Mike King's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/29/2006
One Question:

Since the GIR reversed their decision to grant Haddix the reimbursement, wouldn't they be liable for anything exceeding $25K should the mayor prevail in his lawsuit?

It might be worth it for the city to spend $25K (our deductible) to shield us citizens from the mayor's "I told you so" diatribe that is sure to follow.

mudcat
mudcat's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/26/2005
But, but, but Mike how could GIRMA reverse themselves?

They said he was right and somehow sneaky Haddix and Meeker got the payment through. Fine. But how can GIRMA now take the other side and say that now Haddix is wrong and then go ahead and defend Imker and others? Does not make sense.

I am all for dumping Haddix - $25k or even much more, but there has to be some logic to the whole thing and I don't see it yet.

Haddix may be a buffoon, but he is turning out to be a smart one. Maybe it is his attorney. But maybe it is him. Nawwww.

Mike King
Mike King's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/29/2006
Mudcat

You're likely right in that they can't reverse their stance, and PTC-O's comment below pretty much sums up the whole thing in that it's simply not worth the fight. It's just that it goes against my belief that public service should not be for personal aggrandizement, but Don Haddix has shown himself to be the most self serving individual I've known.

PTC-O is correct also in that Haddix should be shunned by Peachtree City residents for as long as he remains in town.

Larry Sussberg
Larry Sussberg's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/12/2009
Mike King

In approximately 14 months we will have another election.

We need to encourage a range of people to run for mayor, and that the citizens vote.

Thanks

PTC Observer
PTC Observer's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/23/2007
Mr. King - I would

Agree if it weren't for one thing, it is a monumental waste of time and resources, a distraction. We will take care of Mr. Haddix in the next election, our council needs to focus on the issue of a declining tax base to balance services against this fact.

In the next election we can only hope that the citizens of PTC take an interest in their community. Until then Mr. Haddix should rightly be shunned by our citizens, as he does not represent their interests. He only represents his own.

mudcat
mudcat's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/26/2005
Agree completely, shunning is the answer

To be clear that means ignoring him completely. No words, no eye contact, no interaction at all - anywhere, but especially Fresh Market. Maybe that will keep him out of my favorite store. I sense that city council has started to do this already outside their forced interaction in the meetings.

If he initiates a conversation - just ask him when he's going to pay us back the money he misdirected (not stole, he's sensitive about words) or ask when he's going to resign or when he's going to move away. Might as well give him a little entertainment guessing which of the three questions he will hear whenever he opens his mouth.

Shunning is good. It will be PTC's version of empty chair day except that it will probably last for 2 years. Wish we had a visual like an empty chair or maybe some t-shirts like Brown had B.U.M. remember that?

PTC Observer
PTC Observer's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/23/2007
Mudcat - Shunning

You have defined shunning consistent with the intent of my comments.

Spyglass
Spyglass's picture
Online
Joined: 01/28/2008
Lots of truth

Here, for sure.

Recent Comments