A battle of power explodes at commission meeting - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

A battle of power explodes at commission meeting

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August 17, 2004

Albany - A heated argument broke out at the Albany city commission meeting between the Mayor and Commissioner Henry Mathis. The Mayor even ordered the police chief to take Mathis out of the meeting.

Mathis quickly exploded saying the Mayor has no right to force him to leave the meeting and should respect the commissioners. The Mayor said Mathis should show him, the chairman, respect also. Finally, Commissioner Bob Langstaff called for a five minutes recess, and the commissioners cooled off. The meeting continued.

Mathis says the Mayor is abusing his power by not letting commissioners ask staff questions about city's business. "If the Mayor is out of order, does a commissioner say 'Chief Johnson escort the Mayor out.' No. I think it's only proper that each commissioner be given an opportunity to solicit information from the city's staff," said Mathis following the meeting.

But, the Mayor says his job is to keep the meeting moving. "I don't want to attack any one individual. I will reemphasize that my job as chairperson is to conduct a fair, orderly and progressive meeting. And at that point, I did not think the meeting was being orderly or progressive. So I used the authority of the chair to get it back in order," said Mayor Adams.

During the argument, the police chief asked the city attorney if he could legally remove a commissioner from the meeting. He can.

The fight began when Mathis was questioning city staff about the need for an internal auditor.

posted at 4:45PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com