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What is going on in Johns Creek?



October 22, 2013
I wrote this column over the weekend before council met Monday night. In the original column I speculated that the council would indeed release the results of their investigation although I said that I hoped that they would wait until after the election. Had they waited it would have removed most of the shadow of doubt concerning the timing having it come out immediately before the election in which the Mayor is running for reelection against former council person and Mayor Pro Tem Bev Miller.

I also speculated that when the results came out there would be no black and white concrete "smoking guns" and therefor there would be no real "closure." It seems like I was fairly close in my speculation. The report addressed three primary issues: Communication with Mayor Jere Wood regarding a traffic light at Brumbelow Road; a negotiated personal residential lease made by Bodker with an owner who had business with the city; and an issue involving a pending land sale between the city and an owner in which Bodker was accused of involvement outside of his scope of authority. More details of these three issues are covered in Hatcher Hurd's article on page four in this issue. The bottom line is that all three of these issues are subject to interpretation and may or may not be actionable by an agency of the state. Only time will tell. The election may very well be way off in the distance in our rear-view mirrors before we know the answers to those questions I suspect. And that is very unfortunate for everyone.

We have been covering local city government now for more than 23 years. We have experience in reporting and analyzing controversies that can arise in local government. The current mess – and it is a very big mess – in Johns Creek is controversial and confusing, and up to this point, there has been very little concrete information available.

If that wasn't bad enough, there is now an additional controversy involving City Manager John Kachmar, who has been called to resign by both Mayor Bodker and Councilwoman Kelly Stewart.

So what is actually going on? I'll do the best I can to walk you through the situation as I understand it.

When the city of Johns Creek was created – largely through Mayor Bodker's efforts – a "strong mayor" position was created, which gives the mayor a wider range of responsibility and power. All other cities in North Atlanta currently have "weak mayor" systems, which give more authority and scope to the city council and to a degree the city manager. Over time, the Johns Creek City Council amended the city charter to convert to a weak mayor system. That has had a significant impact in the relationship between Mayor Bodker and the council.

In May of this year, the Johns Creek City Council met to consider launching a formal investigation into the mayor's actions in order to document the matter and ultimately remove him from office. Currently four councilmembers support the investigation and one opposes it. The fifth councilmember – Bev Miller – resigned her position in order to run against Bodker for mayor.

One of the key issues has been the mayor's scope of authority, and that seems to be a very gray area. An example might be a situation in which a company is considering relocating to Johns Creek. That company calls the mayor's office to complain because they are running into overwhelming red tape and asks if there is something that he can do about it. Most mayors would probably respond by saying, "let me see if I can help you navigate this" or "let me call the department you are having trouble with and see what we might be able to do." Depending on what department is involved and the nature of the issue, the final decision is usually made by a vote at city council or it is an administrative decision. So technically, has the mayor overstepped his bounds by becoming "involved" outside of the official system? The council would say "yes." The mayor would say "no." That is an over-simplified example but it illustrates the nature of one of the major issues at the heart of the matter – where does the mayor's mandate end and the council's begin?

The second issue is simply a lack of relevant factual information. Prior to Mondays "interim report" The Johns Creek City Council released very little information related to their investigation. The mayor had repeatedly asked to be advised of specific accusations or issues being investigated and none were forthcoming. Council had requested an array of personal information from Bodker including personal phone records dating back five years and personal housing documents. He responded to some of their requests, but not all of them.

The third issue is the timing of the investigation. It is occurring right before the election in which Mayor Bodker faces the former Councilmember and Mayor Pro-tem Bev Miller – who has been all but invisible and silent during all the ongoing controversy. There are two ways to view this timing. The first is that council finally had enough of the mayor's "interference" in matters that should have been dealt with solely by council and initiated their investigation that happened to coincide with the election. Obviously, the other possibility is that the timing of the investigation was designed to help defeat the mayor in his reelection bid. The fourth issue really should not be an issue because it has nothing directly to do with the mayor or the investigation by the council – but it is. It has significantly muddied the waters and made an already confusing situation worse. That issue is the widely reported incident involving City Manager Kachmar, which has resulted in a police report being filed and calls for his resignation.

From this point, it just goes downhill. Council has been criticized for not immediately firing or at least expressing their position on Kachmar's behavior, as if that lack of action or comment was a reflection on their judgment or credibility. This paper contacted other mayors, and the general feeling was that behavior of this type would result in termination. However, personnel decisions in most cities are generally held in executive session – behind closed doors – and it is certainly reasonable and understandable for Johns Creek Council or administrative staff to refrain from commenting until a decision has been made in executive session.

The most recent piece of fuel that has been added to the flames has been the use of official city communication venues. The city of Johns Creek – on behalf of council – issued a scathing and opinionated statement attacking Bodker that appeared on the city website and city emails. However, Bodker also used a city communication venue to release a statement calling for Kachmar's resignation and also calling into question council's values if they did not take a public position on the issue. This paper believes that both actions were inappropriate and used poor judgment.

While it is difficult for me to believe that the council is actually using the investigation as a tool to defeat Bodker in the election, their decision to release so little concrete information up until Monday seems to point in that direction. I wish council had provided more facts during the course of their investigation. It is also difficult for me to believe that after a successful blemish-free seven years at the helm that Bodker all of a sudden is dirty or that he cannot work with council successfully.

What is really going on behind the scenes here? It is possible that the city manager may be playing a substantial role behind the scenes and that he has had significant influence on what council has done and how they have done it. Who crafted the changes in the city charter and whose idea was that? Where did the plan to essentially oust the mayor originate? When did the city's relationship and dealings with Alpharetta and Roswell begin to deteriorate and why? The answers to those questions might go a long way in understanding how the city got into this mess and what is going on.

The losers in all of this are the citizens of Johns Creek. You deserve better. Unfortunately the situation seems eerily similar to the one we just experienced on the national level – a very dysfunctional and polarized elected government. And that's not good. We have to find a way to do better.

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  1. report print email
    AMEN BROTHER
    October 22, 2013 | 04:37 PM

    Excellent piece / none of this make sense / it is costing the residents of the city money / it is a bunch of petty fighting between adults who seem to care more about their own power than the residents who elected them

    JC Resident
    Johns Creek
  2. report print email
    Disgusting Mess
    October 23, 2013 | 06:55 AM

    Excellent summary. It's all silly and embarrassing on all sides. However, I have to place the largest part of the blame on the City Council for launching an expensive investigation and absurdly REFUSING to tell the taxpayers or the accuser what charges they were investigating. I commented before the report that they better prove Bodker did some terrible heinous crime if they are keeping this a secret. And now we learn it was over some gray areas surrounding an internal power struggle???? That had to be kept secret? And that investigation took almost $100K with NO END IN SIGHT and required personal records dating back 5 years? It's really pathetic.

    Disgusted
    Johns Creek
  3. report print email
    support a new Council
    October 23, 2013 | 01:41 PM

    Sounds like supporting the new candidates might be the best move to get out the negative ineffective current council members. From all indications this witch hunt on the Mayor will end soon and he can get back to working for Johns Creeks success.

    Holly Cotsakis
    Sandy Springs
  4. report print email
    Really?
    October 23, 2013 | 04:49 PM

    Uh, the Mayor knew all too well what the investigation was about because the investigator questioned him on those issues in the report. If he has nothing to hide, as he ahs claim numerous times, then he should release his records.

    He has become very politically savvy under the guidance of Burkhalter. He is using his attorney to stonewall the investigation by not providing the information requested, even after he said he would (read the report). He knows that he wins if he can make the Council spend more money on this.

    Come on people, let's not be a bunch of lemmings. Do you want a Mayor is is stupid enough to have a policeman go scare a elementary school aged child (in the report, he confirmed he did this)? I certainly don't want someone that has such bad judgement representing my city.

    JC Resident
    Johns Creek
  5. report print email
    I'll be Voting for Bodker
    October 23, 2013 | 08:05 PM

    This has convinced me the best thing to do is to vote for Mayor Bodker at the election.

    The city council is obviously conducting a witch hunt designed to assassinate the mayor's character for the sole purpose of ousting him and installing their chosen candidate (Bev Miller).

    I'm voting for the underdog.

    Concerned JC CItizen
    Johns Creek
  6. report print email
    Medai Coverage of The Report
    October 24, 2013 | 02:26 PM

    Mr. Appen, why have you not put a link to the interim report so people can go see it for themselves? You don't even have an article about it coming out, which leads many to believe this newspaper is biased towards Mr. Bodker and trying to help him, rather than reporting the news.

    Concerned Citizen
    JOhns Creek
  7. report print email
    City Council Mess
    October 24, 2013 | 06:57 PM

    I went to the candidate forum at Johns Creek High last night and I have read the entire 28 page interim report.

    I think Mr. Appen is entirely correct. It seems clear to me that the current city manager in conjunction with most of the city council are working together to get rid of the mayor who evidently they don't like. This to some degree is all normal politics except instead of just supporting someone else for mayor they have tried to tar and feather the current mayor using the power of the council and taxpayer dollars to force him from office. The other problem is that the city manager should be apolitical. He is a hired professional and should keep his nose out of politics above his level. Its clear those boundaries have been crossed. Based upon the city manager's employment record of job hopping from one city to another plus run ins with the law he seems problematic. Finally the city managers refusal to apologize for his actions should result in his dismissal. Anyone can lose their temper but after cooling down being unwilling to admit a mistake and apologize is not pardonable. Especially since the fight was one of politics which he as a professional employee should have stayed out of.

    In speaking to one of the council members at the forum last evening it was made pretty clear that the city manager will not be terminated even though he has refused to apologize for his actions. The will probably suspend him with pay for a couple of weeks. That tells me right there that the faction against Bodker is pretty well working in conjunction with the city manager as Mr. Appen alludes.

    I am not here to say that Bodker is completely free from sin but in reading the report there is very little actual meat on the bone. Perhaps he got a rental discount on a townhouse. Maybe not. Was that due to him being mayor or being friends with the landlord for over 20 years? Did it affect any zoning votes? As best as I can tell no because all of the zoning votes in question passed unanimously. Should Bodker have recused himself? Probably. Would it have changed the vote? No. Is this a major scandal? No. There were a few other things raised but if this is all they can find on the mayor after 7 years in office I think we are in good shape. Just look at the scandals down in Atlanta or in DeKalb county for what real ethics violations that get the GBI's attention look like in comparison.

    Ironically the city council group wanting oust Bodker have all taken $2,500 campaign contributions from the city's outsourced law firm (in the past Bodker has as well but was not so honored this year- evidently the city manager and city contractors are all on the same page). So the council, which has indirect control over paying the city's law firm about $300,000 per year, finds it OK to take campaign contributions from the same law firm? What hypocrites! The council member I mentioned this to last night said it was legal under Georgia law. I don't care if taking campaign contributions from city contractors is legal in Georgia- its a blatant conflict of interest (and the source of another scandal in DeKalb County). If they really care about ethics they would refuse cash from folks who work for the city. So, I can find dirt and questionable ethics on both sides not to mention the blatantly political timing of all of this. Its a neat trick to be a politician who can use taxpayer money to go on a fishing expedition against political enemies. This is a disgusting mess.

    My opinion is to vote out the city council folks running for re-election so we have some new folks, re-elect Bodker as Bev Miller is clearly involved in this political mess as well and then make sure that Bodker does not run or does not win a 4th term. In so doing we don't reward the city council folks who have started this mess and wasted our money and allow Bodker after 3 terms to retire and move on.

    People in Glass Houses.....
    Johns Creek
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    City Council
    October 24, 2013 | 09:02 PM

    Another interesting item. Why is it that Richardson and Johnson are the only ones speaking on behalf of the council both in print and on TV. Maybe because they too are using our tax dollars for their campaigning? They did not raise enough money through contributions (based on the publicized campaign report) to run their campaign so the next best thing is to hop on the Bev bandwagon and get "free" publicity at the expense of us citizens. If this is not the case, then let Raffensperger and Figueroa do all the interviews from now on......!

    If It Smells Like A Rat........
    Johns Creek
  9. report print email
    Little town
    October 25, 2013 | 12:05 PM

    Little town with so much drama. Maybe the Mayor and his city manager should resign and the city should just start to move forward for a change.

    Observer
    Atlanta
  10. report print email
    Little town
    October 25, 2013 | 12:05 PM

    Little town with so much drama. Maybe the Mayor and his city manager should resign and the city should just start to move forward for a change.

    Observer
    Atlanta
  11. report print email
    Nice State of the Dis-Union Summary
    October 25, 2013 | 08:20 PM

    Mr. Appen, I read this column in the Herald today and was very impressed with your summary of the situation. As a respected journalist that I've followed for many years, you have the experience and talent to objectively articulate the disaster that is now Johns Creek. We have a city council that has abused its power for personal gain. The problem is that they found out very quickly that us citizens are not just a bunch of stupid bumpkins who would believe them at face value. Interestingly, as the power of the city government has shifted from the mayor to the Council (nicely explained in your column), all hell has broken loose. This isn't about a Mayor who can't lead, but about a power-hungry council who refuses to cooperate. To have a successful community despite this disparity speaks to Bodker's true leadership capabilities.

    Your comment about Bev Miller being "invisible and silent during all the ongoing controversy" says it all. When her take-over plan quickly went south, she was "smart" enough to lay low so the other council members could absorb the heat. To me, that says the most about her lack of integrity.

    I feel confident that the good citizens of Johns Creek will come out in full force on November 5th to put an end to this insanity. My biggest concern though is that with a three-member race for Karen Richardson's seat, will there be enough votes to remove her from office? Probably not. But with Johnson and Miller out and with a much more enlightened and mad-as-hell community, we should see some positive changes moving forward.

    Berlin
    Johns Creek
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    This whole thing
    October 26, 2013 | 11:16 AM

    I believe that some of the charges have been posted on various websites. The council is STILL WAITING for records from Mr. Bodker. Until these records are received, there can be no reporting of the other charges against him. Simple as that!

    Then we have the current incident at the H.S. with pro Bodker supporters leaving slanderous flyers on cars in the parking lot.

    Seems to me that the mayor wants to be King of Johns Creek forever. This isn't going to happen. He has been in office, uncontested, for 8 years. Time for a change and QUICK. Bodker thought that he would have complete power over Johns Creek matters. When that power was taken away from him, he was upset, to say the least. His bubble burst! Howver, he still continued to pretend he had all the power and that is what got him into trouble.

    I will be voting for Bev Miller, as most of my neighbors are going to do.
    She is without controversy. She is capable and very amicable.

    Mars
    JC
  13. report print email
    This whole thing
    October 26, 2013 | 11:16 AM

    I believe that some of the charges have been posted on various websites. The council is STILL WAITING for records from Mr. Bodker. Until these records are received, there can be no reporting of the other charges against him. Simple as that!

    Then we have the current incident at the H.S. with pro Bodker supporters leaving slanderous flyers on cars in the parking lot.

    Seems to me that the mayor wants to be King of Johns Creek forever. This isn't going to happen. He has been in office, uncontested, for 8 years. Time for a change and QUICK. Bodker thought that he would have complete power over Johns Creek matters. When that power was taken away from him, he was upset, to say the least. His bubble burst! However, he still continued to pretend he had all the power and that is what got him into trouble.

    I will be voting for Bev Miller, as most of my neighbors are going to do.
    She is without controversy. She is capable and very amicable.

    Mars
    JC
  14. report print email
    Accusations
    October 26, 2013 | 12:39 PM

    Mars-Please share with the authorities the name/description of the person you saw putting fliers on cars the other night. Based on your accusation, you must know who they are and know who they support. Otherwise, you know what they say about assuming.....

    Seems to me that the PEOPLE will decide if they would like our current mayor to remain in office or not. Just because "...the mayor wants to be King of Johns Creek Forever" may or may not happen. I don't know how you can say with utter certainty "this isn't going to happen". There are many people in Seven Oaks that support the current mayor.

    Please urge all of you neighbors in Seven Oaks to attend the Mayoral Debate at the Gallery of Arts Center (State Bridge)on October 29th at 7:45 to support whichever candidate they ultimately endorse!


    Earth to Mars
    Johns Creek
  15. report print email
    Total lie about Bodker supporters putting fliers out
    October 26, 2013 | 06:05 PM

    Didn't a 17 year old confess to the fliers and poor Reincke went straight to everyone, including authorities on Wednesday night after the forum to make clear it wasn't her? Yet, Richardson and her council cronies still proceeed 24 hours later with robo calls trying to alarm the community and social media blitzes spreading misinformation about bald men and blaming Reincke? I have spoken to a dozen people that were at the forum and NOT ONE saw any such flier on their car,nor did I. Why did only the council members and Reincke end up with them? Why hasn't the Richardson camp publicly released the information that a middle aged bald man didn't have a single thing to do with it if it was in fact a 17 year old boy? Oddly, a middle aged bald man has stood up in front of council during public comment and let them know he doesn't like what they are doing. Once again, exercise your first amendment rights in Johns Creek, and goodness knows what random things are in store for you. I have my doubts about this happening at all now that more facts are becoming known. It's strange to me that on the very night Riencke publicly outshines Richardson, this happens.

    Jane Duncan
    Johns Creek
  16. report print email
    City Manager
    October 27, 2013 | 06:06 AM

    How and Who is respomsible for hiring this guy? Who vetted him? Twenty-three years living in JC and Im so ashamed and embarrassed by all of you. Let's start over and do it right this time.

    Mary La Croix Schmidt
    JC
  17. report print email
    Mars to Earth
    October 27, 2013 | 10:04 AM

    I am sure, yeah right, that a 17 yr, old kid would write, pay to print up fliers and then waste his time putting them on cars. Yeah, right! As for Kachmar, Bodker recommended and hired him.



    Mars
    Johns Creek
  18. report print email
    Mars?????
    October 27, 2013 | 11:13 AM

    Yes Mars, Mike reccomended him to the council. I spoke to Liz and Bev this week and they acknowledge that they all knew of his background and despite it, they went along with the reccomendation.

    Today Mike says it was his biggest mistake and along with Kelly Stewart he is asking for his resignation! John Kachmar was given a second chance most of us could only dream about and his RECENT actions--using vulgar langauge at a meeting of City Managers and being called out for it by a colleague (Alpharetta City Manager Bob Regus), using vulgar langauge with me that I reported to Randall Johnson this summer and of course hie most recent assault allegations after the October 7th meeting.

    Why aren't Bev, Randall, Karen, Ivan and Brad demanding the same!?!? Why are they protecting him? THAT is the real story!

    Chris Cupit
    Johns Creek
  19. report print email
    When will we learn
    October 27, 2013 | 12:26 PM

    A little more about our esteemed City Manager:

    At least someone asked the same questions our council should be now!

    "Newton said last week the council would use the closed-door session to discuss discipline for Kachmar's violation of the county vehicle policy.'

    Beaufort County Courthouse records also show that federal and state officials have filed tax liens against Kachmar for failure to pay taxes owed. '

    Kachmar said the tax liens were "a personal matter" when asked about them last week. '

    "Kachmar has lost his accountability and can no longer be an effective leader," said Joni Dimond of Hilton Head Island. "One must lead by example."'

    Clarence Washington of Beaufort said news of the violations led him to question the day-to-day operations of county government.'

    "If his actions are not grounds for termination, would you please tell the citizens of Beaufort County what is?" Washington asked council members.'

    Belle White of Beaufort said she believes morale among the county's 1,000 employees is at an all-time low.'

    "The most disturbing fact of all is that some of you are willing to protect him," White said to the council.'

    SOUND FAMILAR!!!!!

    http://www.lowcountrynewspapers.net/archive/node/118331



    Chris Cupit
    Johns Creek
  20. report print email
    Let's talk about the parking lot incident
    October 28, 2013 | 10:09 AM

    Still no news coverage on the parking lot incident on the night of the forum.

    Why not,they had cameras there. They must know who did it.

    Mars
    Johns Creek
  21. report print email
    You Crack Me Up Mars!
    October 28, 2013 | 10:28 AM

    "I am sure, yeah right, that a 17 yr, old kid would write, pay to print up fliers and then waste his time putting them on cars."
    Why would it be so hard to believe that a 17 year old would have such passion? Was it a smart thing to do, probably not,but certainly not beyond belief!That could be the very reason there is NOT coverage on the "incident". I really enjoy reading your posts and getting an idea of your perspective on things! Keep writing :-)

    Earth to Mars
    Johns Creek
  22. report print email
    Bad Judgmenet by Council and Mayor
    October 28, 2013 | 02:53 PM

    So Chris, how is it that the Mayor and the Council hired Kachmar with this information that would've been available back then to all parties? If you are going to point fingers at the Council, you have to do the same to the Mayor. All of the parties (Mayor, 3 Council members) started this town together, along with you and others, you all had the same vision, and somewhere along the way, things have happened people are turning against each other. They are all acting like a certain HOA that has done much of the same over the years.

    Would you really want to someone on staff if they other staff members that he is supposed to be working with as "the enemy" as Mayor Bodker admitted he said about the City Council? How about if one of your employees asked a Police Officer to threaten an elementary school kid that was bothering his godson, as Mayor Bodker admitted he did? This is a pattern of not just bad judgement, but reckless behavior, and we deserve better from the Mayor of our City. I'm not saying that Bev Miller is the answer, but it might be best to go a different direction and let Mayor Bodker continue his political career at a different venue other than Johns Creek.

    Chris Cupit Supporter
    Johns Creek
  23. report print email
    Supporter
    October 28, 2013 | 04:14 PM

    Supporter,

    Where I give Mike more credit than the majority on council is that he is standing up and saying that he made a mistake and hired the wrong guy. What is more irresponsible than hiring the wrong person--I would say it is continuing their employment!

    I have had an extended dialogue with Randall Johnson beginning this summer. Where I began to realize that the investigation was overtly political was after seeing how the majority in favor of the investigation have lined up in "silence" behind John Kachmar. I may have mentioned that at Randall's urging I did speak to Bob Wilson. I've read the entire 28 page report, footnotes and all and I can tell you I think it is a shameful, political hatchet job. As I told Randall, the proper process was turning things over to the DA for criminal charges and/or a formal ethics investigation.

    The method they chose (Bev, Randall, Karen, Ivan, Brad) seems to me the most political of all choices designed for maximum political effect.

    I, too, wish Mike had done some things differently. We have no perfect candidates. But, having been in the midst of a lot of the conversations I feel the problem is more squarely on the shoulders of the council and Bev.

    The central issue to me is that we need to re-examine the nature of these public-private partnerships. The CH2MHill "hold" on the city is the real problem.

    I think the source of tension was the move from a strong Mayor/weak Manager model to a weak Mayor/strong Manager model. Understandibly it caused tension between the Mayor and Council as his role was very much changed and lessened. I am sure all the players on both sides wish for a few "mulligans".

    I think CH2MHill was clever in getting the charter changed and Kachmar was brilliant in getting things changed so he no longer can be fired by the Mayor. He now must be fired by a majority of the council.

    What should really concern people is that unelected and largely unaccountable CH2MHill employees really have the power over each of our lives. The citizens need more power!

    The citizens should demand more control. If we do not like the ways things are working we need recourse. With our Mayor and council we can vore them out. If we have a private company and their manager running the show with the mayor and council as merely a rubber stamp, then what ar the peoples' options--I can tell you they are not good!

    The real tragedy I feel is this: The real power in the city is CH2MHill. They really could care less who wins or loses or even if John Kachmar stays or goes (they have a stable of city managers and will simply put another one of "their" boys in the job)--the council and mayor (whoever it is) needs to reclaim their power so that the citizens have more ultimate control over their own city.

    Chris Cupit
    Johns Creek
  24. report print email
    Don't disagree
    October 28, 2013 | 04:25 PM

    You didn't comment on Bodker's two big issues, which cannot be overlooked, nor did you comment on why things turned sour. I know you're a big Bodker supporter, so I don't expect you to be objective though. You guys did each other a lot of favors over the years, I'm sure.

    Bodker was overwhelimgly in favor of CH2MHill. You're not holding him accountable for making those decisions, as you are seemingly doing with the council. Kachmar should go, CH2MHill should go, maybe we should vote in a whole new council and government. At the least we should have more of a balance between Council and Mayor. I know that Bodker likes that control and acted less than stellar in light of losing that control. If he continues as Mayor, I don't trust his judgment enough for him to be stronger than the council. If he doesn't like the outcome, he should either accept it and act professionally, or move on.

    Supporter
    Johns Creek
  25. report print email
    Wasn't trying to avoid anything
    October 28, 2013 | 04:58 PM

    I am not sure why people think I am such a Bodker supporter. I have made a single donation (early this year) and have had Mike at my club (in all these years) for a single round of golf (he and a buddy played) and a single Sunday Brunch.

    I do like the Mayor but frankly I have allowed my club to be used for political fundraisers by Bev, Randall and Ivan just as I did for Mike. Also, John Kachmar, Buzz, Grant Hickey and numerous other city employees have enjoyed lunch or golf far more than Mike.

    The slimy insinuation that "we must have done favors for one another" is just that--slimy. It is the same kind of garbage that pollutes the political discourse today--why can't someone actually care about their city with their motives being questioned?

    Anyway, regarding Mike and the kid. It was a bad error in judgement. It occured 7 years ago so I question why it is an issue for Bev NOW? Before there was even a Johns Creek police dept. Mike asked a then Fulton County officer to intercede inappropriately in a bullying situation. Thankfully, the officer did not do what Mike asked. I know I have had numerous "bad ideas" in the heat of the moment and thankfully someone who had a m ore objective view was able to let me calm down and then properly changed my mind.

    Even the investigator ackowledges that this was extemely early in the learning curve of the mayor and felt he should be cut some slack in this case.

    To refer to council as "the enemy" is another thing that I am guessing he wishes he had not done. Again though, I am not sure that is such a big deal and I wonder how many of us would feel towards our "opponents" who are using tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to attack us. I am guessing "enemy" may not be the worst term some of us would use! What is the worst thing some of us may have called our colleagues or even friends at times?

    All of us make mistakes. I still think a far greater mistake, one of political cowardice that is also putting our city at risk for a potential lawsuit is the lack of demand by council or Bev to ask for John's resignation. In the big scheme of things that is far more serious.

    Don't overlook anything. Read the entire report yourselves. Ask yourself why the report was timed the way it was and why a political investigation was used instead of a formal ethics investigation or actual criminal charges and then make as informed a decision as possible.

    I want better from my entire government and happen to think that if Bev and the gang win, the chance to have real change in how our city functions will be lost for years.

    I also have been extremely disapointed by Randall Johnson and his actions for months now. And I have known Dr. zaprowski since high School--Lenny is a great person and will make a terrific Councilman!

    Chris Cupit
    Johns Creek
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    Looks like I hit a nerve
    October 28, 2013 | 07:36 PM

    I expect more of my elected officials. mayor Bodker made the comment about the Council being the enemy well before all of this started taking place. I don't disagree, the timing of the investigation is suspect, but it does contains facts that our Mayor used more than bad judgement. I would be subject to termination from my job for the same conflict of interest the Mayor was involved in. He knows the rules about that, yet he chose to ignore them, as if they don't apply to him. Bottom line is Bodker and the Council will have to learn to work together, because there are going to be one or more off the incumbents still around. All of them need to clean up their act though and stop being so political, including the Mayor.

    Supporter
    Johns Creek
  27. report print email
    Bodker
    October 29, 2013 | 10:12 AM

    a slime is a slime is a slime. I am voting for Miller.

    Mars
    JC
  28. report print email
    Mars--Really?
    October 29, 2013 | 11:20 AM

    As long as comments like Mars' form the basis for discussion there is little hope for our city! I understand people vote for all sorts of reasons but the hyper-partisan rhetoric and attempts to vilify one's opponents means years more of dysfunction.

    I have already heard some people ready to hurl accusations against Bev if she wins and that would be no better than what she tried and has done to Mike!

    The reality is we live, do business and interact with one another in our small city. If every situation where a council member knew someone or patronized their business meant they must recuse themselves from a vote, you would never have a quorum!

    Headlines aside, the report could not have been clearer that the 20 year family friend of Mike's, who did lend him the vacation house, in no way attempted to improperly influence the mayor or anyone else.

    Years ago some people were upset that Randall Johnson would not recuse himself from the "light vote" surrounding Mt. Pisgah because he and his wife were members there and his wife was clearly supportive of the church's position.

    Some were demanding he recuse himself from that! I sat right next to Stephanie (I doubt she would sit next to me now :( ) in support of the notion that Randall need not recuse himself.

    Just because someone has a relationship or makes a phone call does not mean they are up to nefarious purposes!

    I'm supporting those that seem to have a plan for the city and who have made concrete and tangible improvements for us. I am sick of the politcs of "gotcha" and the non stop "trolling" of every e-mail, phone call, hiccup or burp someone has made going back years and years!!! If that is your political strategy I promise it will create a never ending environment that will make Washington D.C. look civil.

    Enough. Please inform yourself as much as possible, vote and then pay attention more frequently than simply during election cycles when the candidates propoganda starts flying!

    PS Mars--If you can't contribute anything more than the rants of an eight year old, please vote and then go back to the kids' table.

    Chris Cupit
    Johns Creek
  29. report print email
    Too Much Like Old Fish
    October 29, 2013 | 02:45 PM

    What a disfunctional city government. When they're not fighting each other, they're fighting their neighboring cities. What ever happened to "serving?"

    I was around and somewhat involved when Johns Creek was formed. Bodker worked his tail off to get the city formed, and it was natural for him to be Mayor. He's also worked like crazy as Mayor. The problem is that somewhere along the line he decided that it's HIS city.

    In the meantime, the merry band that he helped choose and were elected with him grew up to be politicians in their own right, and not in a good way.

    I'd say it's time to get them all out. Too bad that isn't possible, but at least progress could be made.

    Former JC'er
    Alpharetta
  30. report print email
    Citizens' Rights
    October 30, 2013 | 10:24 AM

    Here is what we deserve in Johns Creek

    1. Mayor and Council, your goal is the same, which is to make our city a great palce to live and raise a family.

    2. You are are here to serve our best interests, not yours' or your buddies'.

    3. On a conflict of interest, recuse yourself, plain and simple. 20 year relationship or not. Perception is reality for many, so just avoid them.

    4. Council and Mayor, work together. You're not enemies, and you're not a dysfunctional HOA, so stop acting like it.

    5. Do a more thorough job of vetting your employees. Kachmar should've never been hired, but Mayor and Council were very green and inexperienced. Kachmar should go because he isn't a good representative of the city.

    6. CH2MHill needs to go. Hire your own employees and run your city like a business. Get someone strong to manage the city and move forward.

    7. Focus on a plan to build a city center with a real City Hall. Put enough commercial around it to pay for it in 10 years or less. We'll benefit from looking like a real city, not some fly-by-night operation running out of leased office space.

    8. Build some sidewalks. We have to be the least pedestrian-friendly city around. Charge developers higher impact fees and put them in a fund for sidewalks. They'll pay the higher fee without blinking an eye.

    9. Find (smart) ways to build our commercial tax base. We cannot keep up with the needs of this city with an 80% residential tax base.

    10. Lead by example. Don't act like politicians, which is what I see happening.

    No More Politics
    Johns Creek
  31. report print email
    Amen to Citizen's Rights!
    October 30, 2013 | 04:26 PM

    Nice Post!

    Chris Cupit
    Johns Creek
  32. report print email
    I'd Add One More....
    October 31, 2013 | 10:50 AM

    Good list, but I'd add:

    11. Work with neighboring cities as partners, not enemies. No one spends all of their time inside the city limits.

    Team Member
    North Fulton
  33. report print email
    Miller is the way for this city to go
    November 01, 2013 | 12:59 PM

    Cupit, The last time I checked, this is a free country. A free country where I can express my views.

    You throw your criticism at everyone that is not for Bodker. I will vote for Miller and ignore your criticism.

    She is the one candidate that can work with the council and get this city back to working!



    Mars
    Johns Creek
  34. report print email
    Mars--trouble reading too?
    November 02, 2013 | 01:15 PM

    Mars,

    Not once have I suggested that you cannot or should not express your views--NEVER. What I did say is that to resort to infantile name calling does not elevate the discussion.

    I do wish that when people comment on serious issues they have more to offer than a school yard taunt: "A slime is a slime..." But, if that is all you can offer, maybe I should be more understanding :)

    To be clear:

    1. I have been huge Randall and Bev supporters in the past and throughout the years and I have not always agreed with the Mayor.

    2. My personal experience with Randall beginning this summer has led to a huge disagreement between us. I am convinced now that the Randall led investigation is a politically motivated attack job using tens of thousands of tax payer dollars for an attempt at poltical gain (which I think is back firing).

    3. I hope everyone in our city gets more involved and holds all our elected officials and city workers accountable for their words and deeds. I think people, in general, deserve the benefit of the doubt and that when there is criticism leveled against someone, I hope it is done in a civil and respectful manner.

    4. I do prefer that people show the courage of their convictions by speaking out clearly and publicly; I am not a fan of those who choose to hide behind the bushes and lob insults--of course that is all some have to offer! And, it is clearly your, er, their right :)



    Chris Cupit
    Johns Creek
  35. report print email
    what
    November 05, 2013 | 08:50 AM

    What is confusing is that Chris Cupit says , "what makes one think that I am for Bodker". What.?

    Isn't Cupit having his victory? party for Bodker at his club? Doesn't sound like he is impartial.

    Mars
    Johns Creek
  36. report print email
    Cupit
    November 05, 2013 | 08:52 AM

    Isn't this a free country to express your views? Get off your high horse.

    Mars
    Johns Creek
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