SNELLVILLE -- On a night when the Snellville City Council received gifts from former city manager Russell Treadway, discussions got contentious regarding a contract for his temporary replacement.
Treadway, who resigned in February to take a position in Tennessee, sent the mayor and council personal fans with LED lights spelling out the city's slogan. Before opening the gifts at Monday's normal council meeting, though, Mayor Kelly Kautz and Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts bumped heads about a contract for Snellville Police Chief Roy Whitehead, who is doubling as the city manager until a permanent replacement is found.
During the pre-meeting work session, Witts expressed concern about Whitehead not having a contract. Feeling he was being grilled a little too sharply by Kautz, Witts responded that he would "not be cross-examined."
Witts had discussed a contract for Whitehead with now-former city attorney Kevin Tallant. Kautz, accusing Witts of doing so without informing the council, retorted.
"You say I don't share things (with the council)," she said. "Well it goes both ways."
Whitehead did not sign a contract after being appointed because, as Kautz put it, "he's working for free." After Tuesday's meeting, Kautz surmised that the council's new desire to give him one was the result of distrust.
"I think the concern of some people on council is that if I don't nominate (another) city manager, then the chief will stay interim forever," she said.
There was talk during Monday's work session of "firing" then re-hiring Whitehead as city manager, allowing him to sign a contract. Kautz said afterward she wouldn't "let it go that far."
"I'm not going to do anything to jeopardize the chief," she said, "so if he wants to sign a contract he can sign a contract."
Witts proposed a contract termination date of early July for Whitehead's role as city manager.
That would theoretically give the mayor and council appropriate time to find a permanent replacement. Kautz said applications for the position were due to a search firm Monday, and -- after a short list process and some interviews -- recommendations were expected by mid-June.
Monday was also the first meeting back in full capacity for "new" city attorney Tony Powell. Powell, also a Lawrenceville councilman, was fired from the same job late last year.
Powell was reappointed last week, just a month after the council unanimously approved the naming of Tallant as city attorney and following months of conflicts involving Kautz's first appointment, Stuart Oberman.
Last week, Kautz said she had learned Tallant was not able to handle real estate transactions. Powell had continued to serve the city in real estate dealings.
"I want to thank Mr. Tallant for serving us ... with so much professionalism for the past 30 or so days," Councilman Bobby Howard said Monday. "It was great to meet him, and while Tony we're happy to see you here, we want to wish Kevin and his firm the best for the future."