SNELLVILLE -- Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz appointed a new city attorney Wednesday night during the same contentious meeting where the City Council approved a resolution that would hinder her ability to do so.
Kautz announced at Wednesday's special called meeting that she had appointed Cumming attorney Kevin Tallant as Snellville's new legal counsel. At Monday's regular council meeting, Stuart Oberman resigned from the post after the council had debated his billings and attempted to hire its own counsel.
The point of Wednesday's gathering, however, was for a vote on a resolution to change the city's charter -- a move that would essentially take away the mayor's ability to appoint a lawyer without confirmation from the council, something Kautz has been the first mayor to take advantage of.
"Quite honestly," Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts said, "it wasn't a problem before."
The motion passed 4-2. Kautz and Councilman Mike Sabbagh were the only two dissenters.
The potential problem with that is legality. The city's charter was changed in 2010 when then-City Attorney Tony Powell was concerned that a change to the document six years earlier -- which basically did the same thing Wednesday's motion did -- was not legal because it had not been taken to the state legislature.
The section was removed, giving sole power to appoint a city attorney back to the mayor. A renewed motion restoring the change was never presented to the state in 2011.
Kautz called Wednesday night's proceedings "an attempt to push this through without the general public knowing what's going on here in the city of Snellville."
Only a small handful of residents were present at the meeting.
"I have to believe that the sole motivation for this is political," Kautz said, "and (because of) the fact that the majority of the council is not happy with the outcome of this election."