Camilla Council asks Mayor to change or resign -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Camilla Council asks Mayor to change or resign

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  The Camilla City Council wants the mayor to change her ways or resign.

Three years of confrontations came to a head this week when the council voted five to one to censure Mayor Mary Jo Haywood. The resolution claims Haywood makes unreasonable requests that require hours of unnecessary work by city staffers.

They say recent e-mails criticizing the City Manager, various city employees, and council members were the last straw. They asked Haywood to submit all requests for documents and information to the city council for approval and to resign if she won't comply.

Haywood told us today she will not resign.

Here's the Mayor's response:

Mayor's Response to Resolution of March 22, 2011

First, let me begin by thanking my many friends and supporters who have rallied around me following Tuesday night's action. Whether it has the aged calling with the Bible-based wisdom or passionate youths using the new a social medium, the message has been the same: "Stand on Right and don't let them run you off."  I am standing! My March 9 accident reminded me again to live true and right because the next moment might be  at The Judgement.

When I, of all people, was elected as Mayor of the City of Camilla in November of 2007, I saw it as a giant opportunity for Camilla to prove that  it had reached  the Tomorrow in its slogan  However, I had no illusions that my term would be easy because I had been warned that some who represent the status quo had no intentions and inclinations of getting go of the past.  But still I believed!

Second, let me address that Resolution that has already gone viral on the rumor mill.  It is a flawed document full of unsubstantiated generalities. In this election year, I believe that it was  politically inspired to entrap me. Basically, the Resolution is my sanction for not "going along" with the status quo. It is another attempt to  silence me and to tie my hands as I  search for the necessary background  information needed in order to make sound and rationale decisions that come before the council. Yes, I ask questions. That has always been the way to get answers. For, some  I ruffle feathers by asking too many questions. But I can't serve you in silence or in ignorance of what is really happening.  I can't serve you without knowledge and information.

 Produce Specifics! The Resolution mentions emails from me  that have "unjustifiably criticized the city manager" and ‘unreasonable' requests  of the city manager, various city employees and members of the council." causing disruptions and undermining credibility." My response: Produce those e-mails, identify those requests, name those council members and those "various" employees.  Show this evidence  of "disruption."  The Resolution also  says that the council has proved "untrue" certain "allegations" I have made about the city manager.  PRODUCE the FACTS and evidence with names included,  that show that they have  disproved any "allegations.

In any organization or business there are roles. So it is with in structure of our government  Many of internal our problems have arisen because of how those roles are defined. The Mayor and Council  are ELECTED, by the people, to make Policy. The city manager and staff  are HIRED to execute or carry out policy. Ultimately, like it or not, the buck comes and stops with  the Mayor and Council.

 On this matter of "disruption," one of the great ironies is that on the very night that this Resolution was passed, Mr. Richard Waters, who serves as the city's auditor,  addressed the Council.  He characterized Camilla's financial status as "phenomenal for a city this size." In addition,  recall the front page article published in the Wednesday, March 16, 2011, edition of The Camilla Enterprise, touting the successful manner in which multiple divisions of city  joined county government  departments to form  a cohesive unit in expediting the clean-up and re-opening of Highway 19 shortly after a horrific, traffic-stopping, accident.. Furthermore, when I go to my office at City Hall, which this Council did finally see fit to  provide, I am  greeted by staff members who are cordial and considerate  as they do their jobs. In a little while  City will hold public hearings on  the execution of its new CHIP Housing program. We just wrapped up the Baggs-Ferry Road Water and Sewer project.  Streetscape is completed. Kolbie Park will soon be dedicated. The City added increased funding for the Library to its SPLOST list. These are just a few of the things that could not have happened if I were causing  the city to be "disrupted" and "dysfunctional" or if I had refused to sign the documents that okayed these projects.

 The Resolution unjustly plays to fears.  I don't see any indication of the  mass "discord"  and threat  of  a complete exit by city employees that are coyly hinted to in the Resolution. I heard this  resignation rumor  when I was running. It didn't pan out after I was elected and I don't believe that it  pan out now.

No, the Resolution does not  say, per se, that all staff is threatening to quit. But it does mention causing "the resignation of many  important and valuable employees"  I take this to mean all employees, because to me every single employee is "important and valuable." Many of our employees have been  here through multiple administrations and they have worked under various personalities. The longevity of these employees addresses their abilities to adapt to different leaders. More important, it shows that for most, there is a sense of  loyalty and dedication to Camilla. To walk off of  a post  for political reasons-jeopardizing the city- would be the equivalent  to a doctor walking out of the emergency room because the patient is a neighbor whom he didn't like. So, comfort yourself, that those who love Camilla will not abandon it.

Furthermore, there is this  allusion in the Resolution to "criticism."  The nature of our jobs and positions subjects us to criticism. Reasoned professions understand this and know how  to decipher and learn from "criticism." I can only assure you that any "criticism" I  offer in intended be the constructive kind that is offered  in the best interest of Camilla.

The Resolves in the Resolution are unreasonable and impossible to uphold. So, yes, it is a set-up! How can I serve without asking questions and without seeking answers and knowledge?  How can I reasonably  seek this knowledge or information if I must  convene (I guess) the council each time a want to request information to have the council approve the  request?  Whoever heard of such? Why should I, as mayor,  have to pay for copies of City documents that  relate directly to an issue before the council?  Why should I refrain from putting things in writing in deference to only "verbally" communicating. Business protocol, common practice and History demand that there be a written record of  certain interactions.  We are trained  to "document" and to make and keep good records. There is an old saying: "if there is no written record, it didn't happen."  If there is nothing to hide, why not give it up?

When the council shrewdly draws up a Resolution, such as this one and a prior one,  which  is clearly intended to tie my hands or limit my ability to serve,  does it really except me to sign such a document? Such signing is outside of the spirit and intent of the Charter's provisions on signing documents. The Charter never meant for anyone to sign his or her own death warrant

Finally, the answer to the big question everyone has been asking: Will you resign?

The answer is,  "NO, I WILL NOT BE RESIGNING.  I have done nothing to warrant a resignation. Again, The people hired me by electing me on November 6, 2007. The council did not hire or select me.  But I do think that this action is politically motivated to try to taint my job record  in this election year.

Like the  terms of so many others who broke barriers, my term has been a long Easter season complete with betrayal and false accusations. Now has come  this slow march up Calvary's Hill. But  this being Easter season,  my inspiration still comes from this. Easter is not about any of the melancholy things. It is about the joy of that Sunday morning when the tomb was found empty- signaling  a resurrection! This Friday evening experience will not keep me from being bold in my service to YOU who elected me.  Be assured that Sunday morning  will come!

As a Believer, I sing  Davis' 35th. Psalm.

As an American, I believe in the Constitution.

As  "your" Mayor I believe in you, the People, and your ability to discern the proper meaning of things.

 Again, thanks to those who have supported and encouraged  me and above all, thank you for continuing to believe in a Camilla that is still Growing Toward Tomorrow.


Mary Jo Haywood, Mayor

City of Camilla




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