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Eaton-Welsh: Ethics Code Reform Needed

Councilwoman Cris Welsh said during Monday night's council meeting that the city's ethics code needs to be revamped.

One member of the said the city's ethics code needs to be reformed.

Cris Eaton-Welsh told the council at Monday night's regular meeting that in light of a recent ethics complaint filed against Mayor Mark  Mathews, the ethics code needs to be revamped, including clarifying goals and defining expectations.

"No one knew there was a problem until there was an issue," Eaton-Welsh said.

Last month, Kennesaw resident David Ermutlu  alleging that the mayor uses city equipment for other business and that he has been facilitating meetings between his employer, MetroAtlanta Ambulance, and the city manager. He also last month.

But, at a called meeting on July 24, , saying that the allegations didn't violate the city's ethics code because it doesn't apply to elected officials. Following that meeting, , saying she was "blindsided" at the meeting.

Eaton-Welsh said she reviewed the ethics codes of 40 cities while on vacation.

"They're very specific," she said.

The city of Cartersville's code was one that stuck out to her because it addresses, among other things, gifts to council members and recusals.

"They lay everything out," she said. "There are no questions. Therey's no gray area."

Eaton-Welsh said she'd like to see not only the ethics board work with legal counsel to work on the city's code but also inovle members of various city committees so that more of the public is included.

"Our actions need to be absolutely above reproach," she said.

The council also held a public hearing regarding the sale and refilling of growlers which, if approved, would allow draft beer to be sold in sealed containers in package outlets. City Manager Steve Kennedy said that the beer would not be able to be consumed on the store's premises, just like other forms of alcohol, and that there is a specific process used to seal the container.

"They can't just use any container," he said.

Only one council member spoke on the issue.

"This is one step away from the family values we've established in this city," Councilman Tim Killingsworth said.

In other business, the council:

  • Voted to amend the city's alcohol ordinance to allow the city manager or his designee to extend an alcohol licensee's time period to begin selling alcohol if construction on the store is delayed;
  • Voted to enter into an agreement with the Georgia Electronic Accident Reporting System;
  • And swore in Lukas Fiechtl and Jonathan Jenkins, the newest members of the Kennesaw Youth Council.
Eileen Alberstadt August 07, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I agree with Cris Eaton-Welsh regarding the revamping of the Ethics Codes in the City of Kennesaw. I too have been reading Ethics Codes from around various States and did also read Cartersville. In all meetings to include EVERY ELECTED AND APPOINTED OFFICIAL All cell phones, i pads, i phones whatever electronic was brought In WITH YOU BE TURNED OFF. I have sat in on several meetings and have noticed the LACK OF ATTENTION BY ESPECIALLY OUR MAYOR (sorry Mark you are guilty of this one. I have seen you with two - three devices at a time. Jeff Duckett, guilty, Tim, guilty). Because of these devices. I think this lack of attention for the people and the city has gone way too far. Look around you at one of these meetings the next time you attend one, it’s as though everyone has ADD. These meetings are for a full 100% ATTENTION TO THE AGENDA and not to who or what is on the other end of that electronic device. Put it away. GROW UP MAYOR AND COUNCIL. You are here to discuss the future of the City you represent, those who elected you. Get it together or Get Out of the Positions that you hold. I am agreeing to give my time to help with the revamping of the Ethics Codes that need rewriting in this City that I love so much. Only because I am thinking of its people and they deserve an honest Mayor and Council that must follow strict ethics rules as our neighboring cities do. No exceptions to the rules and no exclusions! Appointed and Elected as well!
JACQUE August 08, 2012 at 04:45 PM
We have a Kennesaw Citizens Advisory Coucil. Is it perhaps time for them to be involved in this issue? I would think putting this before the Advisory Council will elicit a wide cross section of opionion and ideas from the community on what should be in our ethics code.
Sam August 08, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Ms Alberstadt, I for one am not interested in seeing you as a part of a committee to revamp the ethics rules. You left the current committee under unusual circumstances but at the same time your poor attitude in postings you have made on thekennesawwatch.com make you ill-suited for a position to revamp the rules. Your many years of evidently hard work on the current committee are appreciated but let's leave the revamping of the rules to parties with less bias.
JACQUE August 08, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Ms. Alberstadt, it has been my experience that people who want to change things generally stay and fight for those changes. You resigned?
D Kelley August 09, 2012 at 12:48 PM
As for Sam and Jacque have you have been on a comity or held an official title. If the answer is NO then you need to not comment on Ms. Alberstadt. She and many others are disgusted by the lack of integrity and honesty by the Mayor, the City Manager and the City Council. They think they can do whatever they want and no one can touch them. Well like all things if you are doing WRONG it will catch up. with them.
Eileen Alberstadt August 09, 2012 at 12:57 PM
D. Kelley: Thank you! I want to do what I can to help make these changes for the better. I have done nothing wrong and let me tell you I have learned a lot about politics and backstabbing. Its a shame that a town so small and a town with such a name that I try to spread all over the country letting friends know what a great little community this is. I just want to make this town an honest one. ETHICS is a big word and that word must be followed by Mayor, City Council and yes the City Manager. No one that I see here can walk on water except for who I communicate with @ St Catherine of Siena. Thank you again.
JACQUE August 09, 2012 at 03:24 PM
D Kelly- The answer to both your queries is yes. Also the 1st amendment gives me the right to comment on Ms. Alberstadt, you and anyone else. I am very aware of the issues within our city government. Perhaps you should encourage people to get out and vote. Are you aware that out of a population of about 30,000 we have somewhere around 17,000 registered voters and if we're lucky maybe 1500 to 2000 people will decide the next city election. Perhaps instead of condeming my observations or defending Ms. Alberstadt you could actually join a committee, speak at a City Council Meeting about your displeasure over the ethics situation, do something to actively get out the vote, support a candidate for the next election, talk to your state legislators about the way ambulance services are assigned to zones which directly effects the quality of your emergency services response time or sit behind your computer and --------------------------------------------------------
Eileen Alberstadt August 09, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Jacque and D Kelley; I appreciate and respect comments from both of you. Please I also encourage the both of you to please speak up and voice your opinions to your neighbors and also ask them to get out and vote in these elections as well as voice at the City Council Meetings too.. I know that they don't want to hear from me right now, so all I can do is get the word out other ways. They are so very important. I do not feel that D. Kelly was defending me, its just that this eithics situation and this city have gotten way out of hand. This one not speaking to that one and that one not speaking to this one. There is no need for any of it. Please, we don't need two more people at it here in this city. As far as the State of GA and the ambulance issues go, I have no clue how any of that is decided or don't care about either one of them at this point and time. I am so over all of this and just want ehtics revamping to get underway ASAP. I think that is for the best interest of all in this city.
JACQUE August 09, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Ms. Alberstadt-Perhaps you should care a bit more about the ambulance issues because some people might think there is a direct tie to the ethics issues there. Mayor Mathews works for Metro. David Ertmutlu who filed the ethics complaint works for Georgia EMS. The Mayor and Council have for years chosen to ignore the law and allow Kennesaw 911 to dispatch Georgia EMS until recently. Ask yourself why this suddenly changed? There is a member on the state board who determines the ambulance service that services our area with direct ties to Metro. In my opinion there are enough coincidences to raise a few red flags here.
Ken Iswickasham August 09, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Ms. Alberstadt, Please for God’s sake do some volunteer work for a local charity and leave running the city of Kennesaw to those that are elected to do so. You are obviously not cut out for public service. The ethics council, to which you were a member, vetted the allegations and unanimously found each and every one to have absolutely no merit. AND please realize you did do something wrong. You had several weeks to prepare for your meeting which you said you were blindsided by. You showed up late to the meeting and were grossly unprepared showing your lack of responsibility in your role as a member of the Ethics Council. AND you raised your hand and voted to dismiss all allegations as having no merit then left the room running your mouth blaming everyone but yourself for your failure to stand up for what you believed as an appointed and trusted member the ethics committee.
Ken Iswickasham August 09, 2012 at 06:45 PM
--continued from above-- You continue to blog on this site and thekennesawwatch.com about the corruption in city hall and unethical conduct. Where is it? Have you any proof of corruption in the city of Kennesaw government or is that what your friends are telling you. Are you finding pleasure in casting stones at city officials with no proof or factual data to back your accusations? There are legal remedies for those found to be casting false allegations and slandering ones reputation by the way so be prepared to back up your actions. These officials have friends and spouses and kids that have to endure the public humiliation because of people like you that write false and untruthful allegations and print them as fact. I’d like you to meet face to face with these officials kids and tell them what an awful job their father or mother is doing. I am sure they’d rather have them at home and not at city hall in meetings.
Ken Iswickasham August 09, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Alberstadt continued from above--- Please do us all a favor and leave the matters of running the government to people that have the character and integrity to run for office, are vetted by the public through a grueling campaign and then get elected by a majority vote of the people. If you think there is corruption in the city then please find it by doing your homework and hiring a lawyer and go after those that are so corrupt. Until then please stop making accusations against these individuals who take time from their jobs, their family and friends to serve you. The city of Kennesaw under the Mayor and councils leadership has done more to stimulate growth and development, create jobs and keep our taxes low than any other city or county government in the greater Atlanta area. Since you are a Christian lady pray for our Mayor and Council and stop blogging and trying to create an environment of discontent when it doesn’t exist. A website blog is not the forum for positive change and you are part of the problem not the solution.
Ken Iswickasham August 09, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Councilman Welsh, I have read the ethics ordinance and don't see where there are any crazy things in it...What do you see as the problems with the code. I noticed over the last few days reading all of this juicy stuff that it looks like the meeting the ethics council had was only to determine if a hearing was needed. From what I hear, the crowd was assembled by the David guy and whoever else and all they wanted to hear was GUILTY!!! it looks to me like they were trying to do the right thing. I hope you respond to me so that i can understand what problems you see..
JACQUE August 09, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Perhaps in all your reading you missed where our code doesn't cover elected officials.
Ken Iswickasham August 09, 2012 at 07:32 PM
@JACQUE - Are u Councilman Welch's secretary? I beleive that the ethics code most certainly does apply to the elected officials. From what I have researched, the part that does not is the personale policy.. problem I see is everybody likes taking bits and peices from different parts of the rules and laws and take them out of context to try and make it say something that it doesnt. . if you read it like a story it's pretty clear. But, what do I know??
JACQUE August 09, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Perhaps I misunderstood but I thought that I read the ethics complaint against Mayor Mathews wasn't covered by the codes in Kennesaw. Wasn't that why an attaorney had to come in and the state ethics codes applied? Oh and by the way I don't think Councilperson Welsh has a secretary but I could be wrong about that!
Ken Iswickasham August 09, 2012 at 07:58 PM
@JACQUE Perhaps one can't always beleive what you might read in a blog or newspaper. they seem to be the worst at quoting facts...the part I read said it was not a violation of the personale policy and therefore coulnt be a ethic violation. The state stuff was just bout whether or not the committte could talk about those or something. i heard the lawyer had to come because the city lawyer had a conflict. I think the whole thing was a hogwash act by the David guy cause he works at GA EMS and I also heard that councilman welch was tellin him what to do and she obviously gave some bad advise. i would hope that a requirement of being elected would at least make you have to read the ethics laws??? maybe not...that would be usin commen sense! what do you think that mayor mathews did that was a violation? and what did it violate?
Ken Iswickasham August 09, 2012 at 08:20 PM
@Jacque, I have only been looking at the Kennesaw web and in the section called code of ordinanc, I have been trying to figure out for a long time exactly what the David guy was sayin that mayor mark did wrong. Sec. 2-93. - Prohibitions; exceptions. --- this seems to cover quite a bit that the elected people have to do...go look at it and see. This is just a little. Is Welch a ciropracter? i heard she was making employees come to her...I'm sure it's not illegal or anything... No member of the governing authority shall: (1)... (2) (3) (4)Use his/her official position to attempt to secure privileges that are not available to the general public. (5) Engage in, accept employment with or render services for any private business or professional activity when such employment or rendering of services is adverse to and incompatible with the proper discharge of official duties.... (6) Engage in any activity or transaction that is prohibited by law now existing or hereafter... (7) Use his/her position to request or require an employee to: a.; b.... c. Purchase goods or services to be used for personal, business or political purposes; and Maybe somebody should be lookin at all of them, startin with Councilman Welch???
JACQUE August 09, 2012 at 08:25 PM
As you can see by the following this whole issue gets very convoluted-"Ms. Alberstadt-Perhaps you should care a bit more about the ambulance issues because some people might think there is a direct tie to the ethics issues there. Mayor Mathews works for Metro. David Ertmutlu who filed the ethics complaint works for Georgia EMS. The Mayor and Council have for years chosen to ignore the law and allow Kennesaw 911 to dispatch Georgia EMS until recently. Ask yourself why this suddenly changed? There is a member on the state board who determines the ambulance service that services our area with direct ties to Metro. In my opinion there are enough coincidences to raise a few red flags here." It is my understanding that the complaint was that Mayor Mathews used city equipment to communicate for his job with Metro. It has been determined that this was not a violation of ethics. Subsequently some have expressed an opinion that our ethics codes need to be looked at and I think that there can be no harm in doing so if for no other reason than to be sure that the codes are timely and up to date. It is incumbent upon all citizens to question their goverment and demand answers. Apathy begets poor performance because it's useless to close the barndoor after the horse has escaped.
Ken Iswickasham August 09, 2012 at 08:43 PM
SO, some paper somewhere said the state made them change...is evrybody sayin that mayor mathews did that? and if they were breakin the law for years and state just caught them then what is the issue? sounds like mayor matthews wanted to follow the law, not brake it. So using city stuff is not included in the ethics law I read, so what were the charges? the ethics law that i copyed earlier has a prety clear list of improper stuff and i didnt see anything about using city equipment. besides, if the state controls the ambulance stuff, how can there be a conflict in the city? More i learn from you and others, sound like mayor is getting thrown undr the bus for no good reason...somebody has there pantys in a wod???
Debra Williams August 10, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Is it possible before posting that one read their statements and correct spelling and grammatical errors - it makes your post less reliable. Also, I can, with knowledge state, the employees and military that have chosen to use Eaton Chiropractic have been doing so before Councilwoman Welsh became part of the business. Their service to our country, our state, and our city is their payment and that decision was made by Doctor James Eaton while he was at the helm, and the tradition continued as gratitude. These people can choose at any time to change their Chiropractic care. Assumptions and incorrect statements are what leads to misunderstandings and uninformed gossip in this town. If you REALLY want to solve this matter let me suggest you all sit down around a table and put everything out for open discussion, until you're willing to do that, you're simply arguing with fence post - and we know what that makes one look like!
Ken Iswickasham August 10, 2012 at 06:27 PM
@D - I'm just as patriotic as the next guy, and I'm not sure who Eaton is, but once Councilman welcsh was sworn in to office she accepted and swore to an oath of office holding her to a different standard. I'm very glad they take care of military and public service people. The only thing I see is in the city law that says "(7) Use his/her position to request or require an employee to: a.; b.... c. Purchase goods or services to be used for personal, business or political purposes;" The key phrase being "use his/her position to REQUEST or require an employee..." Like I said before, I am glad councilman Welcsh does whatever they do for military and public safety, it's just not supposed to happen with city employees. I hope they all sit down some time soon and get the problems fixed, it's really starting to look ugly. p.s..I tried to look over and correct what I could...sorry if their are mistakes.
Cris Eaton Welsh August 10, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Mr.Iswickasham...I am available to answer any questions you have. Our next open work session on Wednesday, August 15th at 6:00pm in Council Chambers. I would be more than happy to address any of your concerns in an open forum.
Eileen Alberstadt August 11, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Mr. Iswickasham: Are you an idiot or what? Did I ever state that there was corruption in this city? or did I state that the city I came from in PA had corruption when I was growning up? Are you that stupid or do you just play an idiot in your off time? I also never made any accusations against anyone and if you can prove I did, then bring it on big guy. Show up at the open forum on the 15th and I too will be happy to discuss whatever it is I have accused anyone of doing. Do you even know why I resigned? Come on big guy got any answers for this one either? You are the biggest idiot I have ever heard and a phony at that. Go back under the rock you slithered out from and slither back under. You are nothing but a Snake in the grass. Bring on as many law suits as you wish but; you better have the evidence to back your sorry self up. Be there 6 PM if you have the guts! if not....... than back your self down to your real level.
Debra Williams August 11, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Mr. Iswickasham: Key words "Request or Require". Has Councilwoman Welsh done either of these? If so, please share what you know. If not, that statement simply implies an assumption on your part, which in this city incites gossip. I've noticed you referenced city law often which leads me to believe one of two things, 1). Having that much knowledge, interpretation skill, and research acumen - you should run for office, and/or 2). you're already in office and hiding behind an alias? We all can argue our interpretation of City Laws (words can be manipulated easily with a skilled orator) however, is this truly a venue that allows for our elected officials to get on with the business of the city. I'm disappointed in witnessing our elected officials focusing on the destruction of their fellow members and for one reflect that in my next voting opportunity. What one does, and continues to do, becomes their character. I ask that those we've elected, step back, look at the cause and reasoning of what you're doing and ask - Is this about this business of the city, or is this personal? If it's personal, then you're no longer representing the people and need to immediately relinquish your position. A politician works toward the success of their next election - a Statesman works toward the success of the next generation. Who have we elected?
Joe Bozeman August 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM
I have seen "Ken Iswickasham" posting on both the Patch and Kennesaw Watch. Like others, I thought Iswickasham to be a strange name in Kennesaw, Then it hit me square between the eyes. It's quite a clever alias "Is Wick {June} a sham". I must say this is very creative.
Coleman August 12, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I agree with Sam. You had your chance and blew it. Ms Alberstadt if you do get a chance to revamp the ethics rules, please don't use the gutter talk I have seen you use in other post. IE: "Pissed, Busted his ass, and Rats ass, these are not ethical phrases. You have had your days in the limelight, so why don't you just disappear and shut up.
John Himot August 14, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I too agree Eileen. Those we elect to office need to be held to the same standard that any other employee of the city is. I hope that you are asked to help in writing the new city Ethics Codes, you are a true Kennesaw Hero for standing up to our Mayor and Council. I am looking forward to the day when I see our Mayor and those in the Council standing up for true ethics and honor. Stay the course my friend.
John Himot August 14, 2012 at 04:28 PM
When I have posted my view on the mayor he came back with my voting record and asked why I have not voted in the city in the last ten years (which I have). Does that call to question what the mayor is doing with his title to look and see who those people are looking at him closely by going into their voting records. I wonder if he is using his city issued computer or other device to look into the history of all of us.
John Himot August 14, 2012 at 04:35 PM
I hope all of you make it to the town hall meeting. I see many here who will stand for what is right and get the city going in the right direction with ethics with honor. I hope many will come back to the patch and post what went on so others can know how it went. Thank you Eillen and Cris for being true to our city and the values that it should put forth to the community.

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