Tisdale, AG to enter mediation talks with city of Cumming

by Aldo Nahed

November 20, 2013

CUMMING, Ga. — Nydia Tisdale and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens have been asked by city of Cumming attorneys to enter into mediation talks.

Mediation was ordered by Senior Superior Court Judge Robert Adamson and will take place on or before Nov. 30.

In July, both sides debated the state’s first open meetings act prosecution under the new Sunshine Law. Adamson has urged both sides to find common ground.

At issue is whether the city of Cumming violated the state’s Sunshine Law on April 17, 2012, when Tisdale was told to stop video recording a Cumming City Council meeting.

Olens filed suit in Forsyth County Superior Court against the city of Cumming and Mayor H. Ford Gravitt for the alleged violation of Georgia open meetings law on June 5, 2012.

Tisdale has filed her own separate federal court suit against the city of Cumming, Gravitt, Police Chief Casey Tatum and Deputy Police Chief Walter Cook for alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution.

On the same day of the alleged violations, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law the updated version of Georgia’s Sunshine Law.

The law says that a person is allowed to make visual and audio recordings at a public meeting. The new law, which went into effect the same day, provides for visual and sound recordings of public meetings and authorizes the attorney general to sue violators and seek penalties.

Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman S. Fletcher, from Rome, Ga., will serve as mediator. Fletcher retired from the court in 2005.