A look from Main Street: Mayor Bodker deserves to know charges against him

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I have the greatest affection for the residents of Johns Creek. You are our neighbors and our friends. But for me, it’s even more personal.

You once supported me above two other choices for State Senate, giving me a strong majority of votes in Johns Creek. I lost that race, and in retrospect, I’m glad I did. But, you believed in me and in our message when most across North Fulton did not. It is the resulting affection that leads me to write this letter.

Now, because I am an Alpharetta resident, you are free to tell me to mind my own business. I would not blame you. Nevertheless, I am concerned. This present dilemma involving your city manager, City Council and Mayor Bodker does not serve you well. Admittedly, I do not even know the charges that have been levied against Mayor Bodker. But that’s what concerns me most. The charge has not been told to the public or the accused.

In a civil case, a complaint is filed and served on the defendant. It becomes a matter of public record, and it is available for anyone to see.

The complaint states the injury to the person or property, and it details how the defendant is at fault. When information is requested from the defendant, it must be limited to evidence which furthers the claim. Likewise, in a criminal case, a defendant is made aware of the charge and the law he has allegedly broken. Subpoenas and warrants are then issued only after a showing that the search supports the charge. Not so here.

The pursuit of justice takes time, and it is accomplished in the full and transparent light of the burning sun. It does so because the pursuit must not become its own injustice. It does so because a person’s rights, property and reputation hang in the balance.

Looking from over here on Main Street, this is not what I see. There have been no charges filed, no complaints levied. If a law has been broken, what law? If person or property has been injured, what person and what property? If justice is the goal, why the rush? In politics, timing is critical, but justice cares not that November is coming.

Here, we have accusers without accusations. We have urgency without a claimed injury. There is a search for evidence, but evidence in support of what? Due process has always been the bedrock of our republic.

An investigation without informing the investigated of the charge – or the public for that matter – does not meet with any standard of due process I’ve ever known. Having accusers without accusation and urgency without injury may reveal far more about the accusers than the accused. It breeds injustice and a city divided.

Running a city is hard work. To move the needle toward a better community will take every bit of sweat, leadership, vision and drive your leaders have. It is good work, but it’s hard. It will require your entire council, mayor and staff working together in concert toward a common good. Johns Creek is a great, great city, but it has long been established that “any city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25.