We have given a lot of thought to some of the questions our Watchers have asked us lately about the way our government is being conducted at City Hall. There are many concerns with this latest set of developments concerning the EMS “conflict of interest” debacle. We thought we would take a look back over the past few years of Mayor Mathew’s time in office.
Mark Mathews began as Mayor in 2008. Since his term of office began, there has been one lawsuit after another, several of them involving personnel. (In hindsight, it should have been a tip off, because even his election began with a lawsuit.) While he may argue that he inherited these lawsuits, that simply will not fly. Mayor Mathews was a council member for 12 years prior to seeking office as Mayor and was very actively involved in all aspects of the city activities. He was known as the “power player” on the council, often referred to as the one who bullied the others to get his way. In fact, the department whose employees brought about the largest lawsuit, Public Works, was one he was a liaison for during his time on council. It is inconceivable, due to his close relationship with the city manager, Steve Kennedy, that he was not aware as well. He may have ignored it, but he did not simply inherit it.
After he began his term, he had conversations with qualifying candidates and those who were interested in running for office that could be described as “tactics of intimidation”. He may argue that he was simply trying to advise them of what the public office would be like if they ran. However, it is unethical for an elected official to get involved in the election process because it can be seen as favoritism toward one candidate over another. This is the sole reason that our voting locations do not allow candidates to sit in the polling booth with us when we vote!
Over the past few years, he has been seen at public city events drinking an excessive amount of alcohol. Although he did not appear drunk or disorderly, it is not a professional public image to display from the chief elected official of the city, particularly at family-friendly events. This may explain why he was so strongly in favor of allowing alcohol to be served at public events!
Although he continually brags on having the best staff, he has had the highest employee turnover in years at the city. The museum is at almost 100% turnover in less than 2 years. Many of those staff had been there for years, often working on events in their own personal time to make them effective and truly wonderful.
And speaking of the museum, rather than follow the city personnel policy, as he advocated during his entire time as a council member, he allowed a promotion of staff to the position of Assistant City Manager, without even requiring that they go and look first!
Mayor Mathews is quoted in the MDJ that the new open records law is really nothing new from the way Kennesaw operates already. Really? That’s disheartening to hear, because Kennesaw has yet to post the agendas for the committees, such as the Citizens Advisory Committees or their minutes. They have many boards and committees, most of which are NOT listed on the website and the new law has been in effect for over a month.
While we are on the subject of the open records law, let’s look at the open meetings portion of that law. Mayor Mathews has continued to violate that portion as well. He calls “retreats” to discuss goals and planning among council and staff but it is not posted, nor is the public welcome at these retreats. Further more, these agendas, nor the minutes, are posted anywhere publicly.
Let’s talk about development since “Building” was his tagline. During his years as mayor, we have had the financially draining Kennesaw Due West pipe farm. That started out as a way to get around the county and the school board who denied us for a TAD application. So, they hired, at the taxpayers expense (us), attorneys and other consultants to create this “PILOT” program. This was supposed to provide funding without going through the requirements of the county. Once again, he found a way to go around the rules, rather than to abide by them. Had the banks that were involved not failed, we would never have known about these deals. Now we are left with a PVC farm and when we last checked the market …there wasn’t anyone paying to farm PVC.
Rather than focus on building the downtown, which STILL sits empty, other than council member Cris Welsh’s ardent attempts to revive it, he has focused on everyone else, in spite of his adamant promises.
He has focused on running Borden’s embarrassing school board campaign.
He became a member of the executive roundtable of the ARC’s committee that decided the final list of the TSPLOST project – and we know how that all turned out.
He allowed numerous unplanned and un-budgeted projects to take place in the city (youth center for example) rather than use the money for development.
As for the most recent pawn shop issue, we are sure the blame fell to zoning, but Mayor Mathews was sitting on council at the time those stipulations were set. Some of this falls on him as well.
And for the final insult, dear Watchers, he was caught using city equipment to make a deal for his employer against the City’s wishes for his own personal gain. And some how, some way, public records were altered to try and hide some of the parties involved.
While the word “regime” originates as a synomym for any form of government, modern usage often gives the term a negative connotation, like an authoritarian government or dictatorship. Webster’s definition states that the word “regime” refers simply to a form of government , while Oxford English Dictionary defines regime as “a government, especially an authoritarian one” . Nowadays the political use the word regime is most commonly applied to any government that is most of the time not democratically elected and impose strict and often arbitrary rules and laws on the people that are, because of the undemocratic nature of the government, non-negotiable. – Wikepedia
Have we reached a regime?
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