Grovetown City Council’s first meeting of the year was so contentious it led a preacher to curse.
What would normally be routine appointments for city positions turned controversial Monday when no one seconded a motion to reappoint City Clerk Vicky Capetillo. Councilwoman Jennifer Jones then made a motion to appoint someone else to the position temporarily until a replacement could be found.
“This is not a professional way of handling this,” said Mayor George James, who also is a minister. “If we have a problem with anybody being reappointed, we as a group should have gotten together and made that decision and already had someone in mind to take their place. I totally disagree with what you’re doing and do not support it.”
Council members had lots of questions about the option to replace Capetillo, and it appeared many were caught off guard by the motion to replace her.
“Maybe that’s why you don’t do these things on the spur of the moment,” Mayor Pro Tem Sonny MCDowell said. “Maybe that’s why you take time to discuss them in advance so we don’t get up here and be embarrassed in public because we don’t know what to do.”
But James said no council member previously said they didn’t want to reappoint someone to their current jobs.
“That’s what needs to happen,” James said. “This crap turned this city upside down 26, 27, 28 years ago and I’ll be damned if I’m going to see it happen again. This is a bunch of bullshit.”
Council members agreed to discuss the issue as a personnel matter in closed session and moved on to the other appointments.
James stormed out of the meeting when no one would second a motion to reappoint Brendan Fleming as the city attorney.
“This is not the way to handle this situation,” James said before he left.
James rejoined council members for the lengthy session behind closed doors.
The mayor and council members emerged from the closed session and approved all the proposed reappointments including Capetillo and Fleming. Jones was the only dissenting vote.
Also at the meeting, city officials swore in Municipal Court Judge Travers Chance, approved McDowell as mayor pro tem, and made committee assignments and appointments for the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals.