Brookhaven tries to move forward after city attorney’s resignation
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.