JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The Johns Creek City Council has finally taken action on City Manager John Kachmar’s altercation with residents after an Oct.7 council meeting. Councilman Brad Raffensperger (who witnessed the incident) said Kachmar will be given a written reprimand.
This was a low-key reaction to what had been a fairly explosive issue in the recent city elections. Kachmar had approached Christie Johnson after the meeting and verbally assaulted her for what he termed “lying” during the public comment part of the meeting earlier.
Then he turned on Gerald Bush, her neighbor, when Bush intervened. He used profanity and abusive language to him. Bush said later he thought Kachmar was trying to provoke a fight.
“[Kachmar’s] conduct was unprofessional and inappropriate and must not happen again,” Raffensperger said. “Some people may wonder how we got here.”
Raffensperger then asked a city attorney if the city was “at risk” to say more. The attorney advised any comments be made in executive session.
This did not satisfy Mayor Mike Bodker, who did not hesitate to speak out.
“I can’t support this motion. This particular action was one of a series of incidents that show a pattern of behavior,” Bodker said.
Although he could praise his talents as an administrator, Bodker said he can no longer support Kachmar in his position.
The censure passed 4-2 with Bodker and Kelly Stewart opposed.
After the meeting, Stewart said based on all the research she had done concerning Kachmar’s career, his behavior has shown “a disturbing pattern of inappropriate conduct.”
“It is such that I cannot support [Kachmar]. He should be terminated. Johns Creek deserves better,” she said.
On hand for public comment again were Johnson, who was the victim of Kachmar’s tirade, and her neighbor, Bush. They said Kachmar merely had his wrist slapped.
“It’s a sad day for the city,” said Bush. “You waited two months to do the right thing. And now you don’t have the backbone to stand up to this man. What do I tell my daughter? I wouldn’t talk that way to you.”
Johnson said she was shocked at the response council had for what she called, “a vicious and unprovoked attack against someone making normal comments.”
“I begged one of you [Raffensperger] to step in, and you didn’t,” Johnson said.
Resident Barbara Hartman also got up to speak, saying, “any gentleman who [used such language] should have more than a simple warning.”
“I’m appalled. I did not hear any apology for this action [from Kachmar] or agree to get counseling,” Harman said.