JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The five-week investigation into an assault charge against Johns Creek City Manager John Kachmar levied by a citizen he accosted after a City Council meeting Oct. 7 is over. No further action will be taken now that the complainant Gerald Bush has decided not to pursue the case further.
Bush had alleged that after the meeting, Kachmar had confronted a woman who had spoken at the meeting and was critical of the city’s lack of response. Bush said when he intervened, Kachmar then turned on him verbally and jabbed a finger in his chest. That was the basis of the assault charge.
The night of the incident, Kachmar approached Christy Johnson, a resident who made critical comments about the lack of help she had received from his office about a proposed roundabout on Sargent Road. She complained she had not been given the information she requested.
She said Kachmar then berated her for “lying” and concluded by saying, “You are a liar.”
Then Bush yelled at Kachmar as he was walking away, upon which the city manager turned back and as Bush described, “got in his face.”
Bush said he did not speak further to Kachmar. But Kachmar continued to speak to him using profane language. Bush said he thought Kachmar was trying to provoke him into a fight.
Kachmar has admitted he was angry at what he considered unfair criticism mounted by political supporters of Mayor Mike Bodker who was then locked in a heated election campaign with former Councilwoman Bev Miller.
Kachmar said he had records of dozens of email responses to Johnson’s requests, and that he felt she was just trying to embarrass him and his office. When Bush shouted a slur at him, he turned back to face him partly because he did not want anyone to think he “was intimidated.”
Both Kachmar and Bush are well over 6 feet tall.
After 13 interviews by police, no witness could say for sure there was physical contact.
Fulton County Solicitor Carmen Smith told Johns Creek Police her office would not pursue the case unless the complainant – Bush – filed a complaint in the Fulton County Solicitor’s Office in Atlanta “just like any other ordinary citizen.”
Bush said he decided to let the matter drop.
“After hearing the initial reports from the police and the witnesses’ comments that they didn’t see anything, it didn’t really surprise me,” he said. “We were really close together.
“I just wanted to bring his actions to the public’s attention,” Bush said. “His language and his overreaction to the situation was way out of line. What he said to Christy Johnson was way out of line.”
Those actions still need to be acted on by the City Council, he said.
At the time, it was in the final month of the elections, and the council split on what action, if any, to take with Kachmar. Bodker and Councilwoman Kelly Stewart both called for Kachmar’s resignation and chastised the other councilmembers for dragging their feet to take any action over the incident.
The other councilmembers said they were prevented from taking action while the matter was the subject of a police investigation. They spoke to the need to follow “due process” in an employee matter.
At press time, the City Council had yet to take any announced action in the matter.