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Council to appoint attorneys Saturday

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

FOREST PARK — Council members are expected to meet Saturday at noon to appoint attorneys to fight a suit filed by the law firm they fired May 6.

Council members will meet to consider hiring the Buford-based Carothers and Mitchell to represent them against the suit filed by Robert Mack and Joe Harris. Members Maudie McCord, Latresa Akins and Tommy Smith voted to terminate the Forest Park law firm that had represented the city since 2006. Mayor David Lockhart doesn't have voting powers except to break a tie but is a defendant.

Mayor Pro Tem Linda Lord voted against the measure and is not part of the suit.

With a new attorney firm in place, council members will come together again in a special called meeting Wednesday at 5 p.m. for an investigative hearing into the firing of Mack and Harris.

According to the agenda, the hearing is being held pursuant to Section 5.16 of the city charter. That section identifies six grounds for firing a city officer. Mack and Harris contend in the suit they were city officers and were terminated without any such grounds.

The agenda goes on to specify "This hearing in no way recognizes Mack & Harris PC, Robert Mack or Joe Harris as appointed officials."

Lockhart said during Monday night's regular meeting that he hopes to have a unanimous vote on the termination and possibly put an end to the litigation.

Clayton County Superior Court Chief Judge Deborah Benefield is set to hear arguments on the issue June 3.

Both meetings are open to the public and will be held at City Hall.