By Ed Brock
Citing the "severe hardship" she had caused for the city of Jonesboro and bringing a petition with more than 350 signatures, a sizable group of citizens called on Mayor Joy Day to resign.
Clarence Mann, a member of a group called "Jonesboro Pride," presented the petition to Day and the Jonesboro City Council during the council's meeting Monday night. After he did so applause broke out among many members of the crowd of about 100 people stuffed into the municipal courtroom at Jonesboro Police Department headquarters.
Day accepted the petition, which also calls for the termination of Jonesboro City Manager Jon Walker, without comment, and the council took no action on it.
"It appears like she is ignoring the whole issue," said Jonesboro Pride member Carolyn Frederick, a 27-year resident of Jonesboro.
Day said after the meeting that she had no further comment on the petition other than what she has said previously, which is that she plans to continue to serve and do what is in the best interest of the city.
Jonesboro Pride members say they have several sources of dissatisfaction with the city, but things came to a head with last month's disbanding of the city's volunteer fire department.
Several members of the group, many of whom wore red as a symbol of their unity as well as stickers bearing the slogan "No Joy in Our Day," are former members of the department. Former Chief Jimmy Wiggins attended Monday's meeting but said he had no comment on the petition.
Other complaints include the outsourcing of other city services, such as garbage pickup, "excessive administrative staff at City Hall," the feasibility of parking decks planned by the city and the plans to build a new City Hall.
Day had at least three supporters in the crowd, two of whom were Day's friends, Barbara Robinson, a 33-year resident of the city, and Mary Ann Moore, who lives just outside the city.
Robinson was arguing with Jonesboro Pride member Jon Crane after the presentation of the petition.
"Who's going to do better than her? You have an agenda!" Robinson said.
Robinson said she's watched Day work hard at her job as mayor and Moore said Day is an honorable woman.
"We've seen her put her heart into this," Moore said.
Frederick said people who have claimed that the group is dividing the city are wrong, that Jonesboro Pride is bringing people together.
"We all know each other well now, which we never did before," Frederick said. "We're just trying to have our voices count in what happens to our city."
Another Jonesboro Pride member, Nancy Reeves, said the group plans to send the petition to the offices of Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker and Secretary of State Cathy Cox.
The crowd waited for the end of an executive session after the presentation of the petition to make final comments, but only council member Rick Yonce was on the list of speakers.
Yonce said he wanted to know what would happen to some funds and property left over from donations made to the fire department, and why the fire department was not notified when the city officially turned over service to the Clayton County Fire Department.
"I just wonder why Chief Wiggins at least was not afforded a phone call," Yonce said.
Nobody answered that question.
Jonesboro Pride will hold another meeting Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the Clayton County Board of Commissioners' chamber at the county administration building on Smith Street in Jonesboro.