Thaxton calls out PTC mayor on ethics


Mayor Haddix, on Aug. 13, 2012 I filed a Peachtree City Code of Ethics violation complaint against you, and specified nine different instances wherein your actions were in violation of city code. You subsequently called for and scheduled a City Council meeting for Aug. 21, to randomly select six Peachtree City citizens to serve on a panel to review this ethics complaint.

At the Aug. 21 council meeting I requested to be allowed to speak on this matter. Despite your refusal, and only after urging from council, you allowed me to speak.

I then stated that I had filed my ethics complaint against you to draw attention to the unethical manner in which you had caused Peachtree City taxpayers to incur over $12,000 in expenses for your unnecessary personal legal problems.

I further explained that my complaint consisted of a simple and straightforward time line of publicly known actions you took, following a lawsuit which had been filed against you personally. I indicated that I had related each action cited to a specific ethics code violation.

I also pointed out that the city’s ethics review process is not a court of law and only involves a review by a randomly selected panel of citizens, who have no authority other than making recommendations to the city council.

I therefore stated that this process does not necessitate legal representation by an attorney and that I would be representing myself without an attorney.

Following my introductory remarks I asked you the following questions:

1. Why do you think you need to be represented by an attorney before this citizens’ review panel? Your answer: “Because I have a right to an attorney.“ You, however, refused to clarify why you felt an attorney was necessary for this panel review.

2. Why did you select a high-priced Atlanta attorney to represent you in this simple non-judicial matter, in lieu of a fully qualified and capable local attorney, at a much lower cost to the city? Your answer: “Because I have a right to choose any attorney that I want.” You therefore ignored any consideration of costs to the city.

3. I then said: “Mayor Haddix, in order to avoid unnecessary legal expenses for the city, I will consider withdrawing my ethics complaint if you will agree to go forward with the ethics panel review without an attorney. To clarify, I will commit in writing to withdraw my complaint after the panel review, regardless of winning or losing, if you will proceed without a costly and unnecessary attorney. Will you agree to this proposal and thereby allow the citizens of Peachtree City to review your cited actions without legal costs?”

City attorney Ted Meeker then confirmed that my proposal was within city ethics rules and was allowable. Your answer: “No.”

Once again you showed no regard for costs to the city.

Mayor Haddix, this ethics complaint was originally filed with my belief that it would result in a positive outcome for Peachtree City citizens without legal costs to the taxpayers.

After learning that you had hired an unnecessary and high-priced attorney and that you were now refusing to allow the citizens ethics review panel to go forward without your expensive attorney, I reluctantly chose to withdraw my complaint.

I did this because the city has ongoing revenue and budget problems which you seem to be disregarding for your own benefit.

Despite having to withdraw my ethics complaint (which is still public record and can be read at City Hall) I remain convinced that you have previously acted unethically in your role as mayor and that you continue to follow this unethical pattern of actions today.

I am hopeful that as a result of this letter you will respond publicly and defend your position so that our citizens can make their own informed judgments about your conduct as mayor.

Mayor Haddix will you please give a public rebuttal to the points I have raised?

Steve Thaxton

Peachtree City, Ga.