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Johns Creek Candidates weigh in on city manager's behavior


Reactions range from 'shock' to 'wait and see'


October 23, 2013
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The Johns Creek City Council has come out with a press release condemning Mayor Mike Bodker and Councilwoman Kelly Stewart for calling for the resignation of City Manager John Kachmar [see the Oct. 17 Herald or log on at northfulton.com] after he got into an altercation with two residents following the Oct. 8 City Council meeting.

In a press release posted on the city's official website, the four councilmembers, Randall Johnson, Karen Richardson, Ivan Figueroa and Brad Raffensperger, slammed Bodker for "putting the city in jeopardy" for demanding Kachmar's resignation.

In the release, Johnson is quoted as saying, "In yet another staged attempt to deflect his abuse of power investigation," Bodker and Stewart's "unilateral assaults" on Kachmar had put the city at risk of "civil action" by the city manager.

Richardson is quoted as saying, "It is obvious to the four of us, that there is a concerted effort by Bodker, Stewart and their supporters to deflect public attention away from the investigation in the mayor's alleged corrupt behavior."

Several of the challengers in the City Council races took a different point of view from those of the council.

Dr. Leonard Zaprowski, who is running for Post 1 against Johnson, said he was "disgusted" by the incident.

"I have known Mr. Bush [one of the two citizens confronted by the city manager] for 20 years. I have always known him to be a man of character," Zaprowski said. This is not a political thing [on Bush's part]. I find it a shame that the city is trying to paint him as some kind of troublemaker."

Zaprowski said he was disturbed that the city would paint the event as if it was the fault of Bush and Christine Johnson, the woman who was also involved.

"There has been a lot of talk about 'transparency' and not 'sweeping things under the rug.' But I don't see any transparency from the City Council, and it looks to me as if they are trying to sweep this under the rug," he said. "The mayor was not even present.

"Their statement seems to me an attempt to shift the blame on the two people who were really the victims. Are we saying if you disagree with the government this is how you can be treated? That is the message the city is sending," he said.

Bev Miller, who is running against Bodker for mayor, was the lone candidate to appeal for "due process" for the city manager.

"I don't know what happened, but I would be surprised to see the City Council take any action without having all the facts," Miller said. "The question that concerns me now is that John gets due process to which he is entitled. The mayor is putting the city at risk of a lawsuit.

"If it comes out that this is all true, then that will be time to have some discourse," she said.

Cori Davenport, running for Post 4 against Richardson, said she was shocked to hear that the city manager had accosted two residents in the parking lot and used abusive language to them.

"If my CFO had done something like that, I would have to put him on a leave of absence right away. Then after a hearing, he would be fired. Conduct like that is unpardonable," Davenport said.

Nancy Reinecke, who is running against Richardson and Davenport, said when she was a substitute teacher, swearing was grounds for dismissal.

"I don't know what the rules are for dismissal for city employees. But I don't believe our citizens who attend a City Council meeting should be yelled at or sworn at with profanity," Reinecke said.

"I feel the city has done a poor job of transparency in this affair," she said. "I would like to know what everyone else wants to know – what is really going on here? What are the charges that are being investigated? Is there a cap on the cost of all this? It should have a finite end to it.

"This is not fiscal responsibility to me," Reinecke said.

Meanwhile, other reports are surfacing about Kachmar's anger issues and inability to control his temper or his mouth.

Alpharetta City Manager Bob Regus was moved to write to Kachmar in a Jan. 17 email to refrain from cursing at fellow city managers when they get together monthly to discuss common issues, in this case the Commdex contract for public safety radio net.

"I would appreciate it if you could express yourself with words other than the curse words that were used in the meeting of Jan. 8. I find them offensive … I have found the message that is trying to be delivered can be lost in the delivery of the message itself," Regus wrote. "Or the focus of a meeting can turn on the behavior of the person cursing …"

In 2000, Kachmar's temper got him in trouble again. He was accused – and acquitted – of slapping a 14-year-old in a theater while he was county administrator in Beaufort, S.C.

He was charged with assault and battery. The juvenile admitted he and friends were making noise during the movie even after Kachmar and a theater attendant asked the teenagers to be quiet.

The boy claimed his head and shoulders were scratched, but Kachmar said he only tapped the boy on the shoulder. The judge found him not guilty.

Executive Editor, Appen Media.
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Tags: Community & Outreach, Government & News & Crime

  1. report print email
    Motivation
    October 23, 2013 | 01:19 PM

    One must ask: What was the real motivation of finally asking that this long string of "pushing the boundaries" and sometimes stepping over the line be investigated and documented?
    Here may be part of the story:
    Talk privately to some of the many city employees who perform three times the level of work that is done in similar positions in cities like Johns Creek saving our taxpayers much more than they realize. The same employees who sat at last Mondays Council meeting in support of their leader and motivator, our excellent and devoted City Manager. Talk to these people who can tell you about excessive interference in performing their jobs and FEAR of losing those jobs because one person disagreed with them. Talk to those employees who have burned out and are looking to leave and some who have already resigned to get away from all of this. Talk to them and you will begin to understand why this council finally had to formally stand up and say "STOP" instead of keeping their admonitions behind closed doors (or "under the rug"?).
    A motivation that it was in the interest of the city he helped form and its citizens is not sufficient to allow it all to pass and continue to happen.
    Our City Manager allowed one situation to cause him to lose his cool and a REASONABLE price needs to be paid but losing his skills and abilities will cost our city more than most can calculate.
    Our Mayor, as dedicated as he appears, has pushed the limits continuously and has become part of the "Good Old Boys Network" -- time for him to move over and make room for a new leader before it gets more embarrassing for our citizens.

    JC Supporter
    Johns Creek
  2. report print email
    city Manager
    October 23, 2013 | 02:47 PM

    This has nothing to do with the mayor, The city manager threatened a citizen with sexual violence. He must be at least disciplined and at best fired. Read the police report?

    Ben Michaels
    jJohns Crekk
  3. report print email
    JC Supporter--it's NOT ONE INCICDENT!
    October 24, 2013 | 12:00 PM

    It is so far from true that there is "one situation where John Kachmar lost his cool". That simply is not true.

    I relayed to Randall Johnson back in August a run in with John that I experienced. John used foul langauge almost identical to what he admits he used on October 7th.

    I never complained about John to anyone other than Randall until after October 7 when I e-mailed Randall and reminded him of our conversation and MY concerns previously with John's lack of professinalism.

    I know, and council knew, of John's background issues from South Carolina. Those issue include ethical and legal lapses, an assault allegation that went to trial against a 14 year old child. To be clear in that case, John was acquitted. BUT, the facts show that the police produced evidence that the child had red marks on his neck. The judge in the case would not allow the prosecution to introduce those pictures and acquited John not based on the facts that the case was untrue but instead "because there was no ill intent nor was the child harmed". Seems like the Judge said pretty much "No Harm, No Foul"!

    Undeniably, as a City Administrator John admited touching the kid and telling him to shut up. Of course, at the time John blamed his SC woes on a "political witch hunt". He refused to take responsibility--much like today.

    Also, John was the subject of a whistleblower lawsuit that claims he retaliated against a city employee who was merely trying to help that council save taxpayer money. The allegation was JOhn was witholding information in order "to embarass the council".

    Last point about John HISTORY--did you read the story? From above:

    I would appreciate it if you could express yourself with words other than the curse words that were used in the meeting of Jan. 8. I find them offensive … I have found the message that is trying to be delivered can be lost in the delivery of the message itself," Regus wrote. "Or the focus of a meeting can turn on the behavior of the person cursing …"
    This is from Alpharetta City Manager, Bob Regus

    I apprecaie that you may like your boss but the fact is he has a documented history of anger, ethical and legal issues and HIS MOST RECENT OUTBURST should be the final straw--Vote for whomever you wish but whoever the new council and mayor may be, they must deal with John Kachmar and demand his resignation.



    Chris Cupit
    Johns Creek
  4. report print email
    Whoops
    October 24, 2013 | 12:08 PM

    The above comment is from me, Chris Cupit. I spoke to Randall Johnson back in August about John deplorable behaviour towards me--long before this silly season of politics got into "full swing".

    Along with Randall I was a huge supporter of the city, a founding member of Citizens of Newtown and I proudly served on the Governor's Commission in 2006 as a temprary commissioner for the city until the December elections.

    Randall and I were friends though I have been dismayed by his support of John given what I know, he knows, regarding Johns career and recent behaviour.



    Chris Cupit
    Johns Creek
  5. report print email
    ...and your motovation?
    October 24, 2013 | 05:50 PM

    Mr Cupit,
    Why don't you tell us about what little special favors our Mayor may have attempted for you to foster your support?

    JC Supporter
    Johns Creek
  6. report print email
    JC Supporter
    October 24, 2013 | 07:48 PM

    JC Supporter,

    The Mayor has not promised me a single thing. I don't want to dominate the entire blog but if you would like to hear the time line of events I am happy to share.

    As a business owner for the past forty-one years I can tell you that the focus of my attention is my business--my members, guests and employees.



    Chris Cupit
    Johns Creek
  7. report print email
    JC Supporter
    October 24, 2013 | 07:48 PM

    JC Supporter,

    The Mayor has not promised me a single thing. I don't want to dominate the entire blog but if you would like to hear the time line of events I am happy to share.

    As a business owner for the past forty-one years I can tell you that the focus of my attention is my business--my members, guests and employees.



    Chris Cupit
    Johns Creek
  8. report print email
    It's offensive
    October 26, 2013 | 01:13 AM

    Let me get this right. Nancy Riencke comes out of the forum on Wednesday night, finds the childish flier and immediately lets everyone, including the police, know about it and makes clear that she has nothing to do with it. YET... 24 hours later almost every home in Johns Creek receives alarmist robo calls about these fliers and asking citizens to call 911 immediately with any information because "supports" are threatening them with fliers and figures of speech on the internet? To top it off, the other council members are posting on Facebook and sending out emails implicating Reincke in the matter until this morning? I would be outraged and demanding a public explanation if I was Nancy.

    Julie B
    JC
  9. report print email
    Clear as day now
    October 26, 2013 | 06:18 PM

    After all Kachmar, Bev Miller, and council have done now, there is absolutely no way anyone could convince me that Bodker is the problem. Never.

    Angry Citizen
    JC
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