Judge rules Stonecrest City Councilmember Cobble may keep seat

Jazzmin C 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott on Friday (Feb. 14) ruled that Stonecrest Councilwoman Jazzmin Cobble may keep her elected seat.

Scott, however, must still issue the written order for his ruling to be official.

The city had filed a declaratory judgment action this week to ask whether Cobble must forfeit her seat because she missed too many City Council meetings last year, based on the city’s charter.  The city’s charter, Section 2.03 (a) states that a council person forfeits his or her office by “failing to attend one-third of the regular meetings of the council in a three-month period without being excused by the council. “ Cobble missed City Council meetings on Sept. 23 and Oct. 14, which she told On Common Ground News were due to work.

Scott did not spend time discussing the city’s charter or Cobble’s absences. Scott denied the city’s request to remove Cobble from office, saying that he was not “hung up on due process issues.”

“I don’t think anyone really knew how to go about requesting an excused absence. In this political climate that we exist in, I think that it’s been made clear across America that you just don’t remove people from office by vote of the body,” said Scott, after hearing from Attorney Emily Macheski-Preston of Coleman Talley, LLP, which represented the city of Stonecrest, and Attorney Bryan Tyson of Taylor English Duma, which represented Cobble.

Cobble, along with council members Tammy Grimes, George Turner and Rob Turner and Mayor Jason Lary attended the hearing.

Scott acknowledged the city’s infighting, telling those in the courtroom that he wished the best for Stonecrest and hoped that they “find a way to govern themselves peacefully.”

The judge said the city could submit a motion for reconsideration by the close of business on Tuesday, since Monday, Feb. 17, is President’s Day.

Cobble issued the following statement in an e-mail to On Common Ground News:

“I’m pleased that Judge Scott agreed with us to deny the motion and keep the City Council intact. I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Stonecrest and hope we can all move past these petty political fights to the important business of the people.

Thanks a bunch!

Jazzmin Randall Cobble

Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary said the city would abide by the judge’s decision.

“The judge determined that she could remain in her seat until this matter is resolved,” Lary said. “To be able to help resolve this matter, State Sen. Emanuel Jones and State Rep. Vernon Jones have committed to reviewing the charter concerns including addressing ambiguity in this section of the charter and issues that I have been asking for three Legislative sessions.”

 

8 comments

  • Ed Williams

    February 15, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    I am not surprised by the ruling. The case would have been appealable to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Georgia. Councilwoman Jazzmin Cobble would would have won the challenges. There is no case in Georgia were an elected official has been removed from their seat over two absences. This was absurd. Superior Judge Scott was smart in this particular instance. Many of the judges side with the power structure, but this judge seems not to be compromised

    Reply

  • Ed Williams

    February 15, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    I said in 2016 that the residents and the General Assembly members needed to read the charter before they approved the new city. Most of the DeKalb Delegation members had not read the new city charter. before they voted on them. The proponents were so in a hurry to create the city that many overlooked the most important document the city charter Now the chickens are coming home to roost.

    Reply

  • Tracy Miller

    February 15, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    I know it takes time for city tax funded services like police and fire to materialize. We don’t even have city limit signs that would, at least indicate when you enter “Stonecrest City Limit”. When do we change our address from Lithonia? This type of early controversy is, at this point, expected for me. It feels like I live in a city on paper only. There is a rectangular pothole across the street from 6021 Hillvale Rd. that has needed filling for at least 16 years that I know of. We’re not in a race with South Fulton, but they’re killing us! Both cities were formed on the same day.

    Reply

  • Faye Coffield

    February 15, 2020 at 11:10 pm

    This is the most ridiculous rule I have ever heard. There is an automatic dismissal for missing 2 meeting? Atlanta City Councilman Ivory Young missed nunerous meetings before he passed. Congressman Elijah Cummings missed numerous meetings before he passed. Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain missed numerous meetings before they passed. Thankfully they were not terminated. The Stonecrest rule is so vague it would have allowed for all of the above to have been terminated and to have lost their health benefits at a time when they needed them. This is what happens when you have untrainned people preparing documents.

    Reply

    • Gwen Russell Green

      February 16, 2020 at 2:26 am

      We must carefully guard against self-serving politicians at EVERY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT.

      Reply

  • Jackie Alexander

    February 16, 2020 at 11:25 am

    The council should have treated Mayor Jason Lary with the same respect and compassion. He formally requested to be off for cancer treatment and was denied. He didn’t miss any meetings while in treatment. What makes Cobble do special that she didn’t adhere to the same rule, as she had prior knowledge of the requirements?

    Reply

  • Itutman Ford

    February 16, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    The city government of Stonecrest is not wise and humble in their decisions if this small issue occupied their energies. Forgive the abscences and legislate and make plans without her. They are a new city that should focus its energy on development and not indivuduals. Put away small differences and give the ppl a functional city. If they cannot, we should vote to rescind the charter and become just a part of Dekalb.

    Reply

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