Ethics complaint filed against Peachtree City Mayor Kim Learnard; city declines to release details

11
12018
Peachtree City Mayor Kim Learnard. Photo/Cal Beverly.
Peachtree City Mayor Kim Learnard. Photo/Cal Beverly.

A Peachtree City resident has filed a multi-page complaint against Mayor Kim Learnard for ethics violations allegedly related to campaign contributions and a subsequent vote on a rezoning request.

An Open Records request filed by The Citizen with City Clerk Yasmin Julio for a copy of the actual complaint and for examination of the dozens of pages of subsequent documents in the complaint package produced this email response: “Ethics complaints are exempt from disclosure under the Open records act until 10 days after the conclusion of the matter.”

Here’s how the complaint is supposed to be handled, according to Article III – Code of Ethics, Sec. 62-74 of the city code of ordinances:

• The city clerk (Yasmin Julio) delivers a copy of the complaint to the city manager (interim City Manager Justin Strickland).

• The complaint is heard by one of five attorneys who live and have offices outside of a 10-mile radius of Peachtree City. The clerk is supposed to ramdomly draw the name of the attorney and appoint the first one who is available to serve.

• The mayor has 15 days to file an answer to the complaint.

• After the 15 days, the hearing officer will review the complaint and answer and decide whether to throw it out for lack of “clear and convincing evidence” of a violation, or to move to further investigations that could result in a dismissal or in a finding that is reported to the city council.

• If the report finds an ethics violation, the council has a range of options available, including dismissal of the complaint, accept the finding and recommended discipline, or substitute its own discipline. The council could vote for a public or private reprimand or censure as an official response by the council, a request for resignation, or first steps toward formal removal from office, per state law.

Mayor Learnard is in her first year of service as the city’s mayor after election in 2021, but she served two 4-year terms as a member of council, beginning in 2010.

11 COMMENTS

    • I think so. It’s sad that corrupt selfish individuals continue to be elected (and reelected in the case of the last mayor) in Peachtree City. And this will continue to happen until we show our elected officials that they will be held accountable for their actions. Caola ran off in the middle of the night to avoid any blemishes on her record and the council and mayor still refused to comment on it because that would mean admitting they did anything wrong. I hope that she will still be held accountable and so will the mayor and anyone else involved. This kind of abuse of power can’t continue to happen without any recourse beyond leaving quietly.

    • Ah, I detect a note of sarcasm here Cono but some will actually do that, rush out and spread this headline / article intro as if it does have legitimate news legs with all the facts of who, what, when, where, and why. Cal is attempting to get to the bottom of this filed complaint so “other” local news sources (like FB, Nextdoor, etc. = pun intended) will just have to wait their turn for the Council’s response and the Citizen reporting it.

  1. I hope the person who filed the complaint will come forward with it. Merely filing a complaint is trivial, requires not actual basis in fact, and there are a lot of provocateurs who will file them just for the heck of it. But if there is legitimate material contained within the complaint, the public has an immediate right to know so that they can do their civic duty to preform oversight.

    • That’s not at all how this kind of thing works. If one has evidence of wrongdoing by a public official they don’t broadcast it so that that official can take steps to cover it up and claim those deciding her fate have been biased by media coverage of the complaint. You report it to the proper authorities so they can conduct an investigation and corrective measures can be taken.

      Now in this case I suspect no such investigation will take place and the mayor and council will attempt to quash this quietly like they did with the Caola matter. At that point you then go public with the complaint. I do agree that any quack could have lodged this complaint, but if that’s so then that will come out, but I’m certainly not giving this mayor the benefit of the doubt.