PTC Council cuts mayor’s salary

4-1 vote trims monthly pay from $750 to $75 to recoup legal fees from libel suit

To help recoup what has become more than $12,000 in legal fees spent to defend Mayor Don Haddix from a libel lawsuit, the Peachtree City Council voted to give him a significant pay cut.

It means that Haddix will be paid just under $75 a month for the last three months of the fiscal year, a reduction of approximately $650 a month. There was no discussion about a similar reduction for Haddix's salary for the upcoming budget year.

Haddix was the lone vote against the motion, arguing that he was legally reimbursed for the fees, and that no council approval was needed for that to occur. Councilman George Dienhart said the matter could have been addressed had Haddix agreed to repay the money.

The lawsuit in question was filed by former Mayor Harold Logsdon against Haddix as a private citizen and not in Haddix's role as mayor. Logsdon alleged that Haddix libeled him in an email to a city staffer in which Haddix claimed that Logsdon formerly showed up to council meetings "part drunk." The dispute was settled in December with a written apology and an agreement for Haddix to pay Logsdon $3,000.

Councilwoman Kim Learnard said her job is to protect taxpayers and that she never imagined she would have to protect them from the mayor. The payment was not approved by council, rather it was authorized by the city's risk management carrier. That company cut the check to Haddix for just under $10,000 and the city had to reimburse the company because the expense was under the city's $25,000 deductible.

In other business, council agreed to pursue a dredging option for Lake Peachtree instead of creating another island in the lake. It was noted that the overwhelming amount of public input received prior to the meeting favored the dredging to make sure the lake's volume isn't reduced. There is some question as to whether the project could be delayed until 2014 when the Rotary Dragon Boat International Festival and two triathlons could perhaps be moved to the new Lake McIntosh. The project almost certainly could not begin prior to the Dragon Boat International Festival, scheduled for September of this year, according to city staff.

Council also approved $75,000 for a design to renovate the former recreation administration building at the Shakerag complex off McIntosh Trail so it can be utilized for senior citizen services. Construction of that project, estimated at over $500,000, and the design would be paid for by the city's facilties authority bond revenues. The nod for design does not require council to encumber the construction funds as of yet.

Council also gave a nod of approval to the first phase of the Peachtree CIty History Timeline Project, which is privately funded. The project will build a founder's corner at City Hall Plaza that includes the busts of city founders Joel Cowan and Floy Farr along with historical plaques. Fundraising is still ongoing for the initiative.

pumpkin
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ITS A SHAME

but dont you think its about time to let it go? The decision was made and though I dont agree with the mayor, now his rights are being violated.
Will any of you ever support your or any mayor?

Spyglass
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I support the Mayor and his right to

resign.

SPQR
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deductible

Not an insurance guru but in my experience an insurer typically pays an amount only greater than the deductible. Why would they pay a claim less than the deductible then seek reimbursement?

fay79isus
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SPQR has figured out the Mayor's claim issue

SPQR has figured out the Mayor's claim issue. Good for you ! It took a couple days for your post to sink in. You are right. Assume I hit a car in a parking lot and do $600 of damage to another car. I have a $1,000 deductible. I turn the claim in to my insurance company. They laugh and say "Go ahead and pay the other guy directly".

The reason that the insurance company paid Haddix then billed the City is because the insurance company and our City Attorney knew that the City Council would not have approved seeking this to be paid. Those lawyers knew that the other 4 councilmembers would say no.

Why in the world both (1) the application for payment to the insurance company and (2) the City's reimbursement to the insurance company were never disclosed to Council is amazing. It's a roundabout way of avoiding what they really did-- they wrote a City check directly to Haddix without telling Council.

PTC Observer
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Another good

Point, the letter might just explain why the insurance company handled it this way. Time will tell and there's still plenty of time to get to the bottom of all this.

Robert W. Morgan
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Speaking of the letter, I have been delayed

Thought I would get back at 3PM and drop in to city hall and request a copy, but I am sitting here at Logan Airport waiting for a 5PM flight - which is my 5th attempt.

So maybe Cal has gotten the mystery letter - if not, I will try next week. That deductible thing makes no sense to me either. It sounds like somebody was hiding something. Hard to believe a grownup person would think he could get away with this and that it would escape everyone's notice.

NUK_1
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Stand-By fun!

Been there, felt that pain plenty.

AtHomeGym
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RWM & Logan

That Stand-By stuff will get you every time!

PTC Observer
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Safe Travels RWM

Logan is one of the worst on a Friday.

bladderq
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Dredging

Will they do the north lagoon this time? Or are they going to just let it silt to a wetlands?

Mike King
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Dredging

The removal of Don Haddix from his position of mayor would be the greatest removal of silt in the history of Fayette County.

Spyglass
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Haddix even with these cuts is drastically overpaid..

In my humble opinion.

GeorgeDienhart
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The calculations

TO clarify why the salary adjustment was structured as it was, the calculations of the salary adjustment are as follows:

The calculation was made based on trying to offset unexpected expenses in the amount of $12,155.40.

If you calculate the savings each month it's $750.00 - $74.70 = $675.30
3 Months of the remaining in FY12 = $2,025.90
12 Months of FY13 = $8,103.60
3 Months of FY14 = $2,025.90
Total savings = $12,155.40

As you can see the numbers add up to the total amount referenced by Councilman Imker last night. Council's intent is to continue the salary adjustment until the end of Mayor Haddix's term. This would result in the total 12,155.40 being repaid. We, as a council, can only modify the current fiscal year. Councilman Imker has informed me that

"I (Imker) intend on motioning to apply the reduction for the additional 12 months of FY13 (Oct 12 - Sep 13) as well as,when the time comes, the remaining 3 months of his term in FY14 (Oct 13 - Dec 13). Haddix' term is up Jan 1, 2014."

I both support and applaud Councilman Imkers efforts in recouping these costs, and I look forward to supporting him in the future as well. It is my personal belief that the rest of Council will also support this effort going forward.

PTC Observer
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Mr. Dienhart - Haddix

You know Mr. Diehart, I been thinking a little about this Haddix issue. It seems to me that what the council has done is to reduce Mr. Haddix's salary to a salary that is commensurate with his talents and abilities. Actually it may be a little too high but what the heck. So, it doesn't really get us there does it?

You see the way I see it, Mr. Haddix has made off with $12,000+ of the people's money. Now either he can give the money back to the city or face some legal action to get it back, plus expenses of course. What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. Mr. Haddix is wrong and there is no court in the state of Georgia that will side with him.

We'll see what Mr. Meeker's letter reveals about this whole episode, but either way it doesn't change the fact that Mr. Haddix has our money and we want it back.

So now it's up to Mr. Haddix to do the right thing if he can. It's up to us to make sure he does and to keep this kind of thing from ever happening again.

Who knows, pretty soon maybe the council can concentrate on city business without the Haddix distraction,but perhaps that's just asking too much from Mr. Haddix.

PTC Observer
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Thank you for

This clarification on the intent of the council.

cogitoergofay
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Mr. Dienhart--- please

Mr. Dienhart--- please explain how your decision to unilaterally reduce Mr. Haddix's pay, without a day in court, satisfies the constitutional standard of due process. Understand, I do not support Mr. Haddix. But wasn't he entitled an opportunity to present his case in court? Was there not a reasonable differnce of opinion? The equivocation of the insurance company provides proof that there were two sides to this story. They said no twice and then said yes. And if they said yes his defense was an official matter entitling him to a defense, how can the City take a contrary view? What if a future councilmember accidentally breaks a window at City Hall but suggests that someone else actually broke it? Don't we resolve these disputes in a court of law? What if a member of coucil declares themself a communist? Can you cut their pay? Mayor Haddix appears to have a high level of notoriety. But he is right on last night's vote. The vote last night by Council may have ultimately been the correct decision but it is one that is made in a court of law and not in a political boardroom. The law is designed to protect the unpopular and last night the law was disregarded.

cogitoergofay
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Mr. Dienhart--- why the silence now ?

Mr. Dienhart--- why the silence now ?

NUK_1
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Haddix is right about NOTHING

A person of any kind of character besides rock bottom would have recused themselves on a matter that directly affects them only. Did that stop the Blathering Moron? Nope.

I don't agree with the Council's backdoor actions of cutting Mayor Moron's pay either, but I understand why they did it. The better way is to simply censure him again, file ethics charges, investigate, and encourage removal from office by any means necessary.

PTC Observer
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cogitoergofay - very good point!

Here's the solution, Mr. Haddix repays the money to the city. Then he submits his legal expense request to the council for an up or down vote. You know, the thing he should have done in the first place. That way there is no question as to the propriety of his actions. Something that both he and the city attorney seem not to recognize as the proper thing to do.

Poor judgment by both these individuals.

Robert W. Morgan
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So, you want Haddix to take this to court? His legal fees

and the city's legal fees would be paid by the city? No, city council did the right thing. Donnie O can just take his lumps and sulk at meetings or just resign.

Spyglass
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Our Mayor has shown himself to be

an idiot of the highest order. OR at least he has made every attempt to act like one in the eyes of many of the Citizens of Peachtree City.

I applaud the Council for taking action...if it's not legal, it will be sorted out. Sometimes folks just have to take a stand.

cogitoergofay
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---

---

borntorun
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The Mystery Letter

Agree with both posts above. Strange that the third request submitted by Meeker has not been produced in accordance with the Open Records Act. Watching this whole thing unfold, it seems that with his every move, Donnie is continuing to paint himself into the proverbial corner with no escape. It's hard to see how he survives long enough to finish out his term. If he did resign or was removed from office, as Vice Mayor, would that mean Imker takes over as Mayor?

cogitoergofay
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Mystery letter--- I, too,

Mystery letter--- I, too, would like to see it.

Robert W. Morgan
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Sure enough, Imker would be mayor

but only for a few months after Haddix resigned because Imker's first act as mayor would be to set a date for a special election. Imker would have to resign to run in that special election, so it is unlikely that he would be mayor for the rest of Haddix's term. Unless of course Haddix doesn't resign until well into his final year - in which case council would appoint a mayor to serve the rest of his term.

Hopefully the letter will be produced soon and it will show us something that is actionable against him so we can have a quick resignation instead of dragging it out. I'm going over there today to request the letter and to get some more info.

GeorgeDienhart
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Kim Learnard

Actually, Kim Learnard is the current Mayor Pro Tem. Eric's term expired at the beggining of the year and council nominated and elected Kim to replace him.

Robert W. Morgan
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Then I may change my answer a little bit

She should be the mayor, but her only path there is to resign and run in the special election. And I think she could pull that off. She would have a couple of month's as temporary mayor before she had to resign and she would be 1000 times better than Haddix so she would emerge as the only logical choice for mayor. Anyone else would be a complete outsider with no experience.

Let's hope this gets underway soon.

NUK_1
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Where are all the Haddix supporters?

Who is going to step up and defend Don? He really needs your help right now because he's drowning in his own stupidity and arrogance. C'mon, cheer on your Council and Mayoral candidate and crusader for PTC in his darkest hour of need! Why do all I hear is crickets from those who supported this doofus? His only ally Doug "Me and Sturbaum" left and assumed supporter Dienhart got fed up almost immediately with the Blathering Moron Mayor. The Mayor needs all of you Haddix-lovers to come out of the closet already because he's in deep doo-doo.

Good work, RWM. It will be very interesting to see what gets produced for all to see and judge for themselves.

halfdollarandlost
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NUK

For some reason Ginga isn't extolling Donnie's virtues and heroism anymore, wonder why?

NUK_1
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Yes, it's amazing

It's sort of like when some of that crowd is griping about district voting and someone mentions their idol Steve Brown's previously hardline position totally in favor of the issue, they got nothing to say whatsoever.

Look, if people in FC can be convinced that at any moment there are going to be MARTA buses running through Fayette and "mass transit," it's pretty obvious that you are dealing with a very ignorant group of voters; the same ones who have been content with the BOE and people like Don Haddix and Steve Brown. They'll believe anything when told to believe by their "leaders" who can exaggerate and totally fabricate what some vote "really meant" or not.

Let's face it: there is a segment of voters who think that anyone who shows up and makes a post here is a heroic political candidate and worthy of nothing but accolades. Sheep. Bedtime for Democracy.

PTC Observer
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HDAL - At some

At some point even the blind can see.

Spyglass
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I'm in FULL SUPPORT of Haddix......full support of resigning

the office of Mayor of Peachtree City.

PTC Observer
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That's it?

Let's see $650 X 3 = $1,950

The council needs to pass a resolution that it will cut the Mayor's salary to $1.00 per year for the next fiscal year and suspend any and all benefits that he may accrue during that fiscal year, unless and until the full amount of legal fees and other expenses are repaid in full by Mr. Haddix to the city.

We would like to ask the editor of the Citizen to obtain the letter that Mr. Meeker wrote to the insurance company recommending that Mr. Haddix be covered and publish its contents. Depending on what is in that letter, we may be asking that the council engage a new city attorney. The big question is why did the City Attorney not inform the council of this action by Mr. Haddix? After three attempts by Mr. Haddix to get such a letter. It is not like it wasn't news that the Mayor was being sued. What's up with that Mr. Meeker? How is that protecting the interests of the citizens of this city?

A Mayor that see no problem in taking taxpayers' money for this purpose, is not a Mayor that needs to be Mayor of anything. Instead of working on the peoples business and working for a better city, we now find ourselves mired in some personal matter that has nothing at all to do with the business of the city. We have only one person to thank for this sorry mess......yes Mr. Haddix that would be you and your poor judgment.

One way or the other Mr. Haddix you will legally pay financially for this matter and live up to your personal responsibility for your actions. Call it the cost of developing some degree of character. Geez, this is something that you teach young pre-teens for crying out loud. Just amazing, truly amazing.

Council, let's get on with it. Mr. Meeker cough up the letter.

Robert W. Morgan
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The Citizen did an open records request over a week ago

The time limit is 3 days. Surely the letter should have been produced by now and it is puzzling that Cal hasn't printed it. Or maybe Haddix is still stonewalling, in which case there should be penalties for that.

The only thing that makes sense is that the final request for reimbursement contained something new that was not present in the previous requests. Obvious, isn't it? Therefore, since the actual facts didn't change, it can only be assumed that the letter-writer added some facts that were not truthful. One possibility is that the letter-writer said city council okayed the reimbursement. An untruthful statement could explain Haddix's stonewalling. I'd be very surprised if the city attorney manufactured a lie to get Haddix the money. I could see him repeating something Haddix told him to put in the letter without getting some confirmation. Either way there is at the very least an ethics violation against someone - maybe worse.

Really be helpful to see the letter. I'll visit city hall and do an open records request this AM and at the same time ask Betsy what happened with the first one.

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