City Manager under ethics investigation
Milledgeville residents crowded into City Hall on Feb. 24 in anticipation of a decision from City Council on the future of City Manager Barry Jarrett.
The meeting occurred a week after Special Master Patrick Longan decided that Jarrett violated the ethics code. Longan recommended that the council remove Jarrett from his position as City Manager, but after debating the issue in a closed meeting, no action was taken at that time.
Jarrett faces allegations that he transferred 5 million dollars in city funds from Century Bank and Trust as an act of retaliation against Chat Daniel, president of Century Bank and Trust.
The transfer occurred in January 2014, shortly after Daniel wrote an op-ed that criticized the Milledgeville City Council ran in the Union Recorder.
Jarrett fell under further scrutiny after he was recorded discussing the transfer, saying “What’s wrong with retaliation? It’s the way you do business.”
Before the City Council entered their private chambers to deliberate, members of the crowd, which were extended into the hallways by that time, held up signs that read “Jarrett Must Go.”
Jeanette Walden announced the decision to postpone the discussion for a further date. She then asked the city’s legal counselor, Tom Richardson, to explain the decision to the crowd.
“Only when no one appeals or there is a ruling from Superior Court will there be an appropriate time for City Council to act one way or another to the special master’s ruling,” Richardson said. “In my view, it would be inappropriate to take any further action on it until the appeal period has run or a Superior Court judge has rendered a final ruling.”
Jarrett has until March 18 to appeal the ruling, but has not yet made an official statement on the Special Master’s decision.