Kennesaw ethics board to discuss bullying, intimidation
by Sarah Westwood
July 27, 2014 04:00 AM | 3736 views | 7 7 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mark Mathews
Mark Mathews
KENNESAW — A specially-called ethics meeting to “discuss enhancements on ‘bullying’ and ‘intimidation’” will fall just over a week after Mayor Mark Mathews singled out a citizen during a council meeting for posting unflattering comments about him on her social media page.

Officials say the two occurrences are unrelated.

Bullying and intimidation could make their way onto the list of offenses handled by the city of Kennesaw’s ethics code when the board convenes to address the issues Tuesday evening.

James Walth, chairman of the Board of Ethics, said he called the meeting to clarify outdated language in the code.

“It has not been looked at since the ethics board was created by the mayor and council years ago,” Walth said.

“There’s a lot of language in there that the average layman can’t understand. We’re just freshening it up, making it easier to understand and more current to current situations.”

He said the ethics board normally meets twice a year.

Terri Copeland, who has served on the ethics board since its inception in 1995, said the proposed code updates include sections on social media and texting.

“We’ve made changes along the way, but nothing to catch up with technology,” Copeland said.

She said an ethics complaint in mid-2012 involving Mathews and his connections to an ambulance company prompted the board to begin reviewing the code.

“We realized, as we went through the code to check out the complaint, that the code was antiquated,” Copeland said.

She said the board set out to prune “legalese” from the document.

Eileen Alberstadt, a Kennesaw resident who attended the July 21 hearing on the closure of Lewis Street, said Mathews called her out at the meeting.

Mathews paraphrased a post on a social media site, which he said Alberstadt claimed he doesn’t care about ‘no voters’ and stated he had said ‘only 678 cars’ drive on Lewis each day.

“Unfortunately, it’s posted on social media by Ms. Alberstadt, that I would respectfully request that be changed and corrected,” Mathews said at the meeting.

Walth said he was surprised when he found out people thought the bullying and intimidation meeting was a result of the exchange between Mathews and Alberstadt.

“As far as I’m concerned, it wasn’t even an incident,” Walth said. “I was surprised to find out certain individuals thought it was.”

Walth said the ethics board has been working on the language changes for “some time” and that he simply called the special session in order to “expedite the situation.”

He went on to say he sent out notices about the meeting through the city clerk before the council meeting, though he could not recall which day he did so.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
July 28, 2014
I suggest that Kennesaw's "Ethics Board" thoroughly review the U.S. Constitution!

Also, Matthews might want to grow some backbone and thicker skin. He is going to need it!
Connie Mack Jr
July 27, 2014
discuss enhancements on ‘bullying’ and ‘intimidation’” *MDJ

Good news, The City Counsel of Kennesaw has upgraded their Gun Law that citizens can duel with the City Counsel Members and not go to Jail.

In fact, the Counsel has set up a free dueling zone in front of City Hall
Just Sayin'....
July 27, 2014
Mr. Matthews is not above bullying. If someone does not agree with him, or attempts to call him out, he is very quick to retaliate it seems. Perhaps the committee should look into this even if it is not planned on doing so. Mr. Matthews either needs to get a thicker skin or get out of politics.
July 27, 2014

There are 800 lb gorillas and then there are 20 lb monkeys.

The mayor obviously thinks he is the 800 lb gorilla.

What do you think?
The Shadow
July 27, 2014
One question Mr. Mathews, is there some reason you are stalking Ms. Alberstadt's Social Media Page?
Be Careful
July 27, 2014
Maybe the ethics board can make a difference. People in Kennesaw know that the ethically challenged Mayor got off on a technicality with the ambulance issue and his conflict. They also know he is the biggest bully around.
Bill in Kennesaw
July 27, 2014
I have suggested to the Ethics Board that they make sure that the revised regulations are specific in banning City employees from using City resources to further private activities. Before the City Council is a complaint about the mayor using the City Attorney to try to silence a blogger critical of the mayor. That venture has cost $1,055 so far and the July billing from the Bentley firm has yet to be finalized, probably the City is on the hook for $1,500 in the mayor private spat with a blogger. If he wants to go after a blogger he should be paying for it not the taxpayers.
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