PTC Council just got tired of dealing with Mayor Haddix
I like the title of your article and agree with its premise. One would think the PTC Council is comprised of adults who, although they disagree, can come to a table and discuss their differences rationally. Sadly, this is not the case. People like you and me can only try to empathize with the parties involved by putting ourselves in their shoes.
Are you a parent? If you are, you know how exasperating it can be raising a child. Especially teenagers! Our seemingly rational youngsters hit their teens and — BAM — logic seems to go out the window. Unfortunately, I get the impression that working with Mayor Haddix is like trying to reason with a strong-willed teen. Parents get desperate. Council members have no doubt reached their limit.
Over the past couple years I’ve talked to two council members who echo each other’s sentiments and, based on what I’ve read in The Citizen, match the sentiments of the other two council members: They are exasperated when it comes to trying to reason (“Come let us reason together”) with Mayor Haddix.
Compromise is not his forte, and based on the council meetings I have attended, diplomacy also is not his strong suit. Actually, you said it better: He has an “... unerring ability to say or do the outrageously wrong thing ...”
I’m disappointed that Mayor Haddix had two opportunities to take the high road (apologize to former Mayor Logsdon, AND pay for his personal lawsuit rather than ask PTC residents to pay for it). For some reason in both cases ethics did not come into play, and his decisions have negatively impacted the PTC budget. Council members are to be commended for trying to rectify the budget situation without passing along costs to PTC citizens.
To address items you mention in your editorial:
“Bill of Attainder,” due process, demeaning justice, and legal justification concerns — These apply to someone accused of criminal activity. This is a moot point in Mayor Haddix’s case. What he did was unethical, not illegal. (As you said, “no one has seriously suggested so far that he broke any law or even any city ordinance.”
“The Council acted precipitously and without legal or political precedent in Peachtree City history”. That is because no previous mayor has acted in such a manner.
Two alternatives you suggested — a recall and filing an ethics violation — would end up costing the city money. Since council’s goal was to avoid unnecessary cost to its citizens, those are not viable solutions.
Your third suggestion — outvoting him 4-1 — does nothing to offset the $10,000 expense. Reducing the mayor’s pay, although drastic, was an effective method of offsetting the expense of his lawsuit until someone comes up with a better solution.
His email was city business — While the subject matter of his email may have been business-related, the responsibility of the professionalism of his email (to conform to City Administration Regulation CAR 3-10, email privacy section) rested on his shoulders. He took a personal risk when committing libel. He was personally sued. He personally (and unilaterally, without city staff assistance) responded to the lawsuit.
So while the email was composed in his capacity as mayor, he took a fork in the road. He actually neglected his duties as mayor by (1) being unprofessional in the email’s composition, (2) not seeking the city’s advice as to how to proceed with the lawsuit, and (3) opting not to apologize to former Mayor Logsdon and thus unnecessarily incurring the $10,000 expense.
Peachtree City, Ga.
[The editor replies: Respectfully, you are mistaken about bill of attainder and due process. Both are not confined to purely criminal actions. See my column in this issue that explains the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of bill of attainder. As to what Haddix did or did not do, appropriate and legal avenues exist to pursue a case against Haddix. In the end, what Haddix did or did not do is irrelevant to the larger constitutional and legal issues involving what the council majority did in response. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The argument that the council majority saved money by pursuing this unconstitutional taking of property misses the much more important point: The mayor may have acted stupidly and unethically, but the council majority has acted illegally and unconstitutionally in response. Which is more dangerous: A $10,000 dispute or a legislative body casting off lawful restraints on the limits of its power to ride down one individual and punish him?]