By a 3 to 2 vote, with Mayor Pro Tem Will Britt and Councilman Gary Lewis voting in opposition, council fired Parker effective immediately for a violation of the Georgia Open Meetings Act. They say he had met in the past with a quorum of council members in private sessions.
The council took the action following statements Parker had made during a recent meeting of city department heads in which Mayor Jan Moore said Parker had stated that he had “regularly (met) with four or five councilmen in a room to discuss city business.”
Moore also said Parker had mentioned he met with council members to discuss city business while they attended Georgia Municipal Association meetings.
Parker said he had observed a majority of the councilmen meeting in private with city attorney Alvin Leaphart, a claim Leaphart denied.
Leaphart said Georgia law allows private meetings to discuss city business but only after public sessions were held first. Fines of up a thousand dollars for a single willful violation can be levied and up to $2,500 for multiple violations in the same year.
When asked if he felt the charges were the reason he had been fired he said it was an excuse.
Parker was originally appointed as interim City Manager in 2011. His appointment was made permanent a short time later.
City Engineer Robert Cheshire is being considered as Parker’s replacement