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Swainsboro City Council members settle lawsuit against mayor

Swainsboro lawsuit settled
Swainsboro lawsuit settled(WRDW)
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:43 PM EDT
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SWAINSBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - There are developments out of Swainsboro after three City Council members filed a lawsuit against the mayor.

In the lawsuit, those three members claim the mayor ended a virtual council meeting early, which in turn kept them from voting. They say they believe the mayor did not want them to vote because of their race.

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Right before a hearing Wednesday on the case, both attorneys left the courtroom to talk in private and shortly after that both parties joined them. It took a few hours behind closed doors for officials in the city known for being the crossroads of the South to no longer be crossways with one another.

“I think it’s always a win-win when you can end up together on the courthouse steps instead of fighting inside the court room so we are satisfied with today’s effort and we look forward to moving ahead,” said Mayor Charles Schwabe.

A Zoom call that started all of this.

The lawsuit filed by the three council members alleges the mayor illegally ended the Aug. 24 meeting on the basis they did not meet quorum. They felt their race played a role.

“No, Mister Mayor, we have enough to meet quorum,” Councilman John E. Parker said during the call.

Apparently thinking the call had ended, some participants made further comments that the council members heard.

They’ve finally come to a decision that if the majority of the council is present, they can have meetings and vote.

“He spoke to my clients very bluntly and he indicated that there might have been some missteps and he wanted to resolve all of them because he considered my clients as his friends,” said Paul L. Howard, the lawyer representing the council members.

The mayor and council members are optimistic they will be able to work together even on subjects they disagree on. As for the city administrator, he did not make any comments on what he said.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Oct. 25.

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