Note: Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds is expected to make a statement on the issues brought up below at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, October 21. We will update this story after the meeting.
On Monday, Oct. 20, Decatur County Attorney Brown Moseley sent a new Georgia open records request to City of Bainbridge officials.
The request, addressed to Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds, contains a list of 21 groups of documents that county officials are seeking.
[Please see full open records request by Decatur County to the City of Bainbridge, Oct. 20, 2014]
In the letter, Attorney Moseley states the open records request “is made necessary because of demands upon Decatur County by your employed legal counsel, Buddy Welch.”
Welch is an attorney from McDonough, Ga., who is helping the City of Bainbridge attempt to negotiate updates to the local service delivery agreements (read: which local government provides which services and how). Toward that end, Welch and another attorney requested a significant amount of open records requests to Decatur County officials in Fall 2013. This summer, Welch sent a lengthy proposal regarding the service delivery agreements to county officials and suggested that city and county officials meet to discuss the issue, which grew out of the most recent negotiations of how the one-cent SPLOST tax proceeds would be divided.
Many of the items requested in Moseley’s letter pertain to the City of Bainbridge’s budget, including a listing of all employees and how much money they make, documentation of how much revenue the city collects in fines, utility payments and lodging taxes, and how much short-term debt the City of Bainbridge has.
However, a few of the items relate specifically to the 2013 renovation of Bainbridge City Hall or pertain to City Manager Chris Hobby’s employment with the city.
Those requests include:
- Copies of any computerized detail report that shows the total cost of the Bainbridge City Hall project
- Any and all invoices associated with the construction/installation of the “wet bar” or sink in the office of the city manager and all invoices for furniture and fixtures for the City Manager’s office.
- Any and all memos, emails, letters or other correspondence from any employee or city official concerning City Manager Chris Hobby’s failure to timely pay City of Bainbridge Utility payments
- A copy of any and all reprimands issued to City Manager Chris Hobby.
When we met with Attorney Moseley Monday at the Decatur County Administration Office, he acknowledged the latest open records request was made to help a committee picked by Decatur County Commissioners learn more about the City of Bainbridge’s operation as county officials prepare to respond to Welch’s proposal.
That committee includes Decatur County Administrator Gary Breedlove, the chairman of the county commission (currently Frank Loeffler), the vice-chairman of the county commission (currently Dennis Brinson) and two citizens who will represent the unincorporated area of Decatur County and the City of Bainbridge, respectively.
According to Moseley, Alan Davis–who serves on the Decatur County Planning Board–was chosen to represent unincorporated Decatur County, while retiree Ted Snell was chosen to represent the City of Bainbridge’s interests on the committee. Snell is a regular attendee at local government meetings.
MORE TO COME ON THIS STORY, INCLUDING COMMENTS FROM BROWN MOSELEY, CHRIS HOBBY AND EDWARD REYNOLDS