Three-member council holds first meeting

The Hoschton City Council meets shortly after Superior Court Judge Joe Booth ordered that the three-member council could continue functioning. Pictured are: council member Shantwon Astin, mayor pro tem Adam Ledbetter, attorney Thomas Mitchell, council member Hope Weeks, and event coordinator/public relations Jennifer Kidd-Harrison.

The Hoschton City Council can continue to operate with a three-member board following recent court action.

On Dec. 20, Superior Court Judge Joe Booth ordered the temporary suspension of a sentence in the town's charter that prevents the acting mayor from voting. That move allows mayor pro tem Adam Ledbetter and council members Shantwon Astin and Hope Weeks to continue functioning as a three-member board.

The issue comes after former mayor Theresa Kenerly and mayor pro tem Jim Cleveland submitted their resignations following months of controversy.

Cleveland’s and Kenerly’s resignations left the city council essentially inoperable under the town's charter. Three affirmative votes are required for the council to approve anything. But the town's charter doesn't allow the mayor, or in the absence of the mayor, the mayor pro tem, to vote on city matters.

With just three council members left and no mayor, there wouldn't have been enough voting members to transact city business.

The order in the Superior Court of Jackson County allows the newly-elected mayor pro tem, Ledbetter, to vote on city matters. That move allows the council to continue functioning until the March 24 election to fill the vacated seats.

FIRST MEETING FOLLOWS SHORTLY

The three-member board wasted no time, holding its first official meeting outside of the courtroom.

Ledbetter, who is technically acting mayor, immediately turned the meeting over to Weeks, the senior member on the council.

During the brief meeting, the council:

•approved a change to its financial policies to deal with emergencies.

•approved allowing Georgia Climate Control to move forward with repairs to the city hall furnace and gas lines not to exceed $7,000 following a gas leak at city hall. Work could begin on Monday, Dec. 23.

•tabled action on the purchase of a Flow Meter.

•approved safety grant funding for an enclosed trailer for the city public works department totaling $2,700.

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