In a majority decision, the Donalsonville City Council has voted to refer an Ethics complaint regarding Councilmember Mitzy Moye to the City’s Ethics Board. Councilpersons Mitchell Blanks, Flossie Smith, Lindsay Register and Ed Bond voted in favor, Councilperson Travis Brooks voted against.
This complaint was filed by Joseph Williams, a City of Donalsonville staff member working as a City Animal Control Officer, regarding conduct at a Donalsonville residence by Councilmember Moye in June of this year. The complaint alleges improper actions taken by Moye when she approached the staff member during an incident at a City of Donalsonville residence involving suspected animal abuse. Multiple complaints of potential animal abuse and violations of the city’s animal control ordinance at this location had been previously referred to the Donalsonville Police Department.
The complaint further states that Moye instructed the Animal Control Officer to take specific actions with the property owners that the officer was not authorized to take. The City Council felt that requests and demands made by Moye to the Animal Control Officer violated the City Charter’s prohibition on Councilmembers being involved in the daily operations of local government.
City policy states that any and all violations of the city’s animal control codes and ordinances requiring a ticket under the Official Code of Georgia are handled by sworn Donalsonville Police officers. The Donalsonville Police Department uses a non-sworn Police Cadet to enforce city ordinances; however, they cannot issue tickets for Official Code of Georgia-related offenses. These Police Cadets, who are unarmed and travel in a non official police vehicle, are allowed to capture animals and can respond with notices of violation to animal owners.
A Public Hearing, where the City’s Ethics Board will discuss and review the complaint, and determine if further action needs to be taken, is scheduled for August 14th at 5:30 p.m. in Superior Courtroom of the Seminole County Courthouse. This Hearing is open to the public.
The City of Donalsonville Ethics Board is composed of three residents of the City of Donalsonville; one appointed by the Mayor, one appointed by the Mayor and Council, and one appointed by the Council. They will review the complaint in a Public Hearing and make recommendations to be delivered to the City Council regarding the complaint. The Ethics Board will be able to ask questions and reach an unbiased conclusion regarding the facts of the complaint. After the board has made its decision, upon City Council approval of the recommendation, and in the event of a violation decision from the Board, Councilmember Moye can then appeal to the Superior Court if she desires.
The City of Donalsonville was recertified as a City of Ethics through the Georgia Municipal Association earlier this year. GMA is not a regulatory body and does not adjudicate municipal ethics issues. Instead, the City of Ethics program attempts to raise awareness about ethics issues at the local level and provide a local forum for airing and resolving legitimate concerns. Using a local ethics ordinance allows citizens to raise their concerns and participate in the ethics investigation process at the local level, where the voice and influence of the individual citizen is strongest.
A City of Ethics agrees to the following principles by Resolution of the majority of members: Serve others, not ourselves; Use resources with efficiency and economy; Treat all people fairly; Use the power of our position for the well-being of our constituents; and Create an environment of honesty, openness, and integrity.