Yesterday, the Albany Herald ran this article about State Representative Carol Fullerton and her trials and tribulations with the potential loss of her position on the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission. The reason is that she has three consecutive absences from Commission meetings. This is not in dispute. However, three absences is only grounds for dismissal if they’re unexcused. Mrs. Fullerton’s reason for being absent for the last three WG&L Commission meetings? Oh yeah, she was in the General Assembly working on legislation for the entire State of Georgia.
What’s funny is how two of the ring leaders of this seem to be Mayor Willie Adams and Comissioner Tommy Postell. After all, their opposition to Consolidation is documented already. They allege that it’s racially motivated and, of course, I responded here. Mrs. Fullerton supported the bill allowing us to vote.
Now, according to the Herald’s article, I find it hard to see what Mrs. Fullerton did wrong. The Commission’s board secretary said, in a memo, that she believed the absenses excused. I fail to see how serving in the General Assembly can’t be an excused absense. I mean, you’ve got a board member who’s also serving in another capacity, one which entails working on various things that will ultimately benefit this area, and Adams and Postell want to kick her off the board?
What’s in the Herald article is there for everyone to read. What isn’t is the tensions in the City Commission at the mere mention of Consolidation. Commissioner Postell makes it clear that he knows who is responsible for the Consolidation bill when City Commissioner Roger Marietta simply asked how giving the mayor a vote on the WG&L Commission should consolidation goes through, according to the City Commission’s minutes*
According to the details in the Herald article, everything about this one stinks. The two most vocal parties in Mrs. Fullerton’s removal from the Commission are also the two most vocal opponents to Consolidation. Mrs. Fullerton was willing to connect via teleconference, yet nothing was done. The Board’s secretary believed the absences were excused due to Mrs. Fullerton working in the General Assembly. The City’s Charter wasn’t followed. A lot of highly irregular events happening at one time.
Political retribution isn’t anything new. But as a citizen of Albany, I’m insulted at the ham fisted way that Mayor Adams and Commissioner Postell are doing this one. It’s clear how much they worry about questions regarding impropriety in this town. However, this is just a clumsy attempt to teach Mrs. Fullerton her place, and this needs to be reversed. Immediately.
*City Commission minutes from March 24, 2009. In particular, the bottom of page 5, top of page 6