In a swift and startling turn of events, the Dunwoody city council was asked Monday night to dismiss the city attorney, Brian Anderson. But the council voted 5-2 to defer the idea.
The action came on a motion by Mayor Mike Davis after the council, in an earlier executive session, was briefed on the leak investigation by its special investigator, former Democratic congressional candidate Bob Wilson.
The motion offered no specifics as to any misconduct by Anderson, but was blunt.
“The Mayor and Council no longer have confidence in the abilities and judgment of the City Attorney,” it said.
Councilor Doug Thompson offered a motion to defer the mayor’s move and it passed by a 5-2 vote. The only votes against deferral were cast by the mayor and Councilor Terry Nall, who said he believed the council was under-served by the city attorney.
The council hired Wilson earlier this year after a local blog broke the story of its negotiations with property owners and developers for redevelopment of 35 acres in the Georgetown-Shallowford area. Wilson’s agreement with the city allows him to charge up to $50,000 for the probe and he agreed not to exceed that amount.
In answer to an open records request from The Crier, the city said Wilson’s only bill so far was for $7,049 for his work in February.
The mayor’s move was swift and came even before Wilson has delivered his final report to the city. That is expected Thursday. The city has up to 10 days to digest it before making it public.
Wilson said in an interview Monday that it was not unusual for a council to act without seeing the report.
“You have my absolute word that I haven’t shown them a piece of paper,” he said. “I have briefed the mayor orally, that’s it, before tonight’s executive session.”
Davis placed the motion on the council agenda Friday and it was the first order of business Monday night after the regular meeting formalities.
Sources with knowledge of the case say Wilson asserts that Anderson shared privileged information with The Crier. A Crier reporter voluntarily agreed to an interview with Wilson and a co-worker and denied that allegation.
The author of the blog that broke the story, Bob Lundsten, also was interviewed. Sources say the target in that part of the investigation is a sitting city council member who could face charges before the city’s ethics committee.
Anderson was a leader in the Citizens for Dunwoody for the long run-up to cityhood. The city’s first mayor, Ken Wright, and the city council advertised the position of city attorney and applicants took questions from council members in an open meeting. Wright said the council voted unanimously to hire Anderson in partnership with the firm of Riley McClendon, experienced in starting new cities.
Anderson later was made an employee of the city, entitled to benefits.