STONECREST, GA—During a special-called meeting on Nov. 14, the City Council approved the appointment of the city’s Chief Financial Officer Gia Scruggs to serve as acting city manager.
The council deadlocked on the vote 2-2, but Mayor Jazzmin Cobble used her authority under Georgia’s Senate Bill 21, which changed the city’s charter to permit the mayor to vote when there is a tie.
The deadlock broke tradition. The City Council, under Cobble’s leadership, has rarely departed from voting unanimously on issues. Councilmembers Tammy Grimes and Tara Graves cast the dissenting votes . Neither stated during the meeting why they made their decisions.
Just before the meeting, however, a small group of residents had attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the purchase of the City Hall. The protestors were holding signs demanding that the City Council appoint newly-hired Deputy City Manager Gerald Sanders as the City Manager and one sign appeared to question Scruggs’ qualifications.
Cobble told the council that it needed to act immediately because the looming 60-day deadline to appoint an acting city manager was to expire on Nov. 14. She said without acting immediately, the city was lose the option to temporarily fill the seat until a permanent replacement is recommended by an executive search firm.
The mayor had initially named Scruggs and Sanders to jointly oversee city administration until an appointment was made to replace former City Manager Janice Allen Jackson, who abruptly resigned on Sept. 20, 2022. Neither the city nor Jackson provided details on what led to her departure.
Said Cobble: “We have gone 60 days now with two fantastic people (Scruggs and Sanders) and doing what they can in their current roles to keep City Hall and all of the city operations going flawlessly, and they’ve done an excellent job doing that. But there are certain things that a City Manager or Acting City Manager must do and can only do with that title, so we feel it is important and critical that we use the option that the charter has given us.”
Following the vote on the Acting City Manager appointment, the council voted 4-0 to extend the period by an additional 90 days to find a permanent City Manager.