By Valerie J. Morgan
STONECREST, GA—Former City Council woman Diane Adoma turned in her City Hall keys today, but vowed to keep her seat on the City Council even as city officials took out a restraining order against her.
Adrion Bell, the city’s Communications Director, said Adoma gave him the city’s keys around noon at the radio station WAOK, where he and Adoma were invited by talk show host Rashad Richey to discuss Adoma’s challenge to the Georgia Constitution. Elections supervisor Megan Reid participated in the interview by calling in. After the radio interview with Bell, Adoma gave Bell her keys to City Hall, promising to also return other city-issued equipment.
“She gave me the keys and said that she didn’t have the laptop and cell phone with her but would return them to City Hall today. I said ‘thank you,’ ” said Bell.
At 2:14 p.m., Adoma sent the following
e-mail to Bell, City Clerk and Elections Supervisor Megan Reid and interim City Manager Julian Jackson:
“I have not vacated my seat. However, I will be returning the city computer and phone,” Adoma said.
Adoma had announced last Friday that she planned to challenge Georgia’s Constitution and keep her council seat while running for mayor—in defiance of the law. Georgia’s Constitution mandates that an elected official who has more than 30 days left on his or her unexpired term must vacate their office immediately upon qualifying for another elected office. Adoma has two years left on her unexpired term on the City Council. She had refused on Friday, however, to turn in the city’s property, citing several reasons why she believes the Constitutional provision is unfair.
Elections Supervisor Reid deactivated Adoma’s city-issued cell phone and laptop after contacting City Attorney Winston Denmark. Denmark said that immediately upon qualifying, Adoma must vacate her seat and that she no longer was considered a City Council member.
Adoma’s picture was removed from City Hall, along with the placard on the dais in the City Hall’s chambers.
Adoma, however, was not deterred by those actions. Adoma used her key on Monday to enter one of the offices at City Hall, where she met with a Channel 46 news reporter. Most of the city’s directors were at lunch or away at meetings when she arrived. After learning that Adoma had used her city-issued key to gain entry, however, city officials filed a restraining order.
City officials said today that they are awaiting the order to be signed by a judge.
Meanwhile, Adoma showed up late for the council’s 6 p.m. work session on Monday. She headed immediately into the council’s closed-door executive session. The executive session was held to discuss real estate, legal and personnel matters and no one from the public or media were permitted by law.
When the executive session ended, Adoma walked to the dais inside the Council Chambers with the rest of the council members. Since her chair was missing, she took Councilman George Turner’s seat. Turner had to get another chair for himself.
The council and city officials ignored Adoma’s presence as she tried—in defiance of Georgia’s Constitution—to participate by raising her hand to vote on issues during the meeting. At one point, she even tried to second a motion but was ignored.
At 8:08 p.m., Adoma left the dais and the council meeting continued without her.