Brookhaven tries to move forward after city attorney’s resignation

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt June 20, 2015
Mayor Davis and Council listened to the summary of a new Tree Ordinance draft during a Special Called Work Session. Photo provided by the Brookhaven Post, CCA member.

Mayor Davis and Council listened to the summary of a new Tree Ordinance draft during a Special Called Work Session. Photo provided by the Brookhaven Post, CCA member.

The fallout from Brookhaven’s handling of sexual harassment allegations against the city’s former mayor continues.

A divided Brookhaven City Council on June 19 voted to hire an interim attorney following the resignation of city attorney Tom Kurrie. His resignation followed an explosive report that found Kurrie worked to hide allegations of sexual harassment against former mayor J. Max Davis.

Prior to the report, Davis resigned to run to replace state Rep. Mike Jacobs in the special election for House District 80. Jacobs resigned after being appointed to a judgeship by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Records uncovered by the Brookhaven Post ant the Atlanta Journal Constitution showed attempts by Brookhaven officials to deceive the public about the allegations against Davis. Previously, the city confirmed that a sexual harassment claim had been filed against the mayor but quickly backtracked, saying, “Neither of the employees involved claimed or inferred that this incident involving the mayor was sexual or harassing in nature.”

That appears to have been misleading.

According to Reporter Newspapers, Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams’ appointment of Christopher Balch as interim attorney split the council 2-2, and she cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of Balch.

Council members Bates Mattison and John Park voted against the proposal, citing concerns about the open-ended nature of the appointment.

There’s also some question about whether the City Council has been following the correct process for making decisions. Council members asked Balch whether the council had erred when electing Williams to replace Davis. Balch said he thought the council’s actions were correct, but he was directed to produce a report on the matter.

Council members also asked for City Solicitor Tim Tanner to return to his post. He resigned a day after Kurrie and works at Kurrie’s law firm.

The Brookhaven Post has taken the City Council to task over its apparent lack of transparency surrounding the allegations against Davis.

The scandal comes as two other proposed DeKalb County cities – Tucker and LaVista Hills – are headed to the ballot in November.

Opponents of the new cities are pointing to Brookhaven as evidence that new government doesn’t necessarily mean better government.

Portions of this story were provided courtesy of Reporter Newspapers.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • Chris Billingsley

    Thanks Dan. I’ve enjoyed reading the Brookhaven reports. The reporters in charge of this should feel very proud of their investigation and articles. It is an outstanding example of how important it is for journalists and average citizens to question government behavior. Democracy would be better served if all citizens reject the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” excuse from government leaders and demand more transparency and openness. Good Job!

    • John Park

      Mr. Billingsley, Are you a teacher at Decatur High?

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