Three Swainsboro City Councilmembers filed suit Monday against the City of Swainsboro, effectively shutting down the ability of council to meet and transact any business. Councilmembers John E. Parker, Rita Faulkner and Bobbie Collins all signed the suit which seeks a Declaratory Judgement, Emergency Hearing and Violation of the Open Meetings Act against the City of Swainsboro and the mayor.
The regular monthly meeting of the council was less than two hours away when the city was made aware of the lawsuit. Since one purpose of the action is to block any further council meetings until a hearing on the question of “quorum” is held, city attorneys advised the mayor to postpone Monday’s meeting.
“We had made all preparations for our regular meeting, even to the point of changing the order of business and adding agenda items at the request of Mrs. Faulkner and Mr. Parker,” Mayor Schwabe commented. “I am puzzled as to why they would request these changes and then make it impossible for the council to meet by filing a lawsuit at the last minute against the city. Let me be clear, the meeting was cancelled as a result of this lawsuit and nothing else, but the most regrettable part of this is the lack of cooperation, the lack of honesty and the refusal of council to participate in any give and take at all.“
The mayor spoke of his frustration in trying to bring the council together, “This lawsuit is all about things that can be easily settled if everyone is willing to work together for the good of this city, Swainsboro is at a very crucial point. We have a budget that has to be adopted, American Rescue Plan funds that must be fairly distributed, several key positions that must be filled, and several major projects that are about to begin. Now is the time that we must think of what’s best for this entire City; not simply for ourselves.”