“The ethics board meeting that took place on Tuesday, (July 24) this month was something that pretty much blindsided me as a board member,” Alberstadt wrote in an email to Kennesaw City Clerk Debra Taylor announcing her immediate resignation.
Alberstadt said Mathews’ presence at the meeting was intimidating.
“I do not feel that there should have been any city council members present also. How unprofessional do you really get? I felt uncomfortable from the moment I walked in the door until I got in my car after the meeting,” she wrote. “I do not feel very ethical about my city anymore nor do I like the backstabbing that is going on.
“It really makes me sick. … Ethics? Ethics? Some higher ups in this City need to really look up the word and abide by it. This all makes me sick.”
The five-member board met for about an hour and ultimately dismissed Georgia EMS employee David Ermutlu’s complaints that Mathews had performed personal business over government email and did not recuse himself from city business regarding his employer.
City Manager Steve Kennedy decided on July 6 that all emergency calls must be dispatched to MetroAtlanta Ambulances rather than Georgia EMS.
Mathews is employed by MetroAtlanta Ambulances, and Ermutlu complained this was a conflict of interest.
The other board members are Chairwoman Terri Copeland, Ed Moses, Robert Quigley and Kenneth Westmoreland.
Copeland said she was surprised by her colleague’s resignation.
“I have enjoyed serving on the board with her and thought she had a great background for the Board of Ethics,” she said. “We’ll miss her and hopefully she’ll get back on another board in the city.”
Copeland said Alberstadt seemed quiet and wasn’t agitated by the hearing or the discussion about the mayor’s ethics during the meeting.
“We were all interested and focused on putting our best effort into reading through the document,” she said. “It was our first time to sit down together and go through it.”
Additionally, Copeland said the mayor’s hearing was only the second she’d been a part of that resulted from a complaint since being appointed to the board in 1995.
Mathews said Alberstadt’s resignation was unfortunate.
“She is a great representative of our community and was placed into a position that she indicated that she wanted to serve,” he said. “One would have to assume that if you are appointed to an Ethics board that you will be hearing ethics complaints against elected officials.
“Having to consider ethical complaints is not an easy position to be in,” he said. “Unfortunately in this case, the accusations were made public as if they were valid claims. The first step of the board of ethics was to determine if the complaints are warranted. Unfortunately, thanks to social media and print media, the case had already been tried, and in the minds of the majority of the “concerned” people in attendance at the meeting had been convicted, and thought they were going to witness a confirmation of conviction and penalty.”
Alberstadt was appointed to the ethics board by the City Council in 2006, Mathews said.
Alberstadt’s position does not need to be filled anytime soon but Copeland would like to have someone in that position before their Oct. 16 regular meeting, she said.
“(A Kennesaw resident) can approach a council member or the city clerk and let them know that they are interested,” she said.
The group holds two regularly meetings annually and gathers anytime there is a complaint filed.