Resident files ethics complaint on Kennesaw Mayor Mathews
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
July 04, 2012 01:17 AM | 6328 views | 22 22 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KENNESAW — A Kennesaw resident filed an ethics complaint Tuesday against Mayor Mark Mathews alleging he conducted personal business on a city computer and phone and did not recuse himself from the attempt to hire an ambulance service for which he does work.

“We pulled emails that showed that he is using city phones and city computers to do business for (MetroAtlanta Ambulance) and according to the city policy manual, you can’t do that,” said David Ermutlu.

He filed the complaint at 10 a.m. Tuesday with the city’s clerk Debra Taylor.

“The other (complaint) is that he has failed to recuse himself from ambulance-related business in the city by arranging a meeting between Steve Kennedy (Kennesaw City Manager) and Pete Quinones (CEO of MetroAtlanta Ambulance).”

Mathews declined to comment on the complaint Tuesday, stating in an email that he was preparing for the city’s Independence Day celebration and will be with his family today, adding he would give an interview Thursday.

However, in mid-May when he was asked about the allegations, he said it was a mistake sending the work email from his City email address.

“I don’t have anything to hide,” Mathews told the Journal on May 15. “I screwed up, and I sent one email from the wrong account. As soon as I saw it, I let everybody know. It wasn’t on purpose.”

He also said he would recuse himself in any city business regarding ambulance service, as he did at that same day’s night City Council work session.

“As an employee with one of the companies, I won’t be involved in any of the discussions or the issues,” he said previously.

The meeting with Kennedy and Quinones was arranged by Mathews in early spring so that they could be “introduced” to the ambulance arrangement made between the state and the city and where Georgia EMS fit in, the mayor also previously said.

Tuesday’s complaint wasn’t the first that Ermutlu has tried to file.

He originally attempted to file a complaint with the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office but said “they were not interested.”

“I then contacted the investigator for the governor’s office and they cannot take a report from a private citizen,” he said. “The proper procedure is to start at the local level so the complaint was filed so the City of Kennesaw Ethics Commission and it’s up to them to take action or not take action.”

He wasn’t sure when a ruling would be determined by the city’s ethics commission but said he knows that Mathews will receive a copy, which he got sometime Tuesday, along with the chair of the commission and the committee.

Ermutlu said a meeting will ultimately be called to determine if the outcome of the allegations.

Since 1998, the City of Kennesaw’s ambulance service has been Georgia EMS, a 12-employee company. MetroAtlanta Ambulance, Mathews’ employer since 2009, was designated by the state in 2001 to service that area but the City has allowed Georgia EMS to continue providing the ambulance service.

After a number of paramedics and drivers who work for both MetroAtlanta and Georgia EMS received an email a few months ago stating that MetroAtlanta would be taking over all 911 calls within the city limits, an Open Records Request was filed.

Ermutlu received a copy of the documents in early May and that’s when he learned about the alleged business Mathews was conducting in regards to MetroAtlanta Ambulance, where he is the manager of government relations, covering primarily metro Atlanta, excluding Kennesaw.

“It has to do with the mayor’s behavior with his employment at MetroAtlanta Ambulance Service,” Ermutlu said about the ethics complaint.
Comments
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LocalERnurse
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July 06, 2012
I have received patients from both ambulance services. Both are professional and cordial with patients. Metro clearly provides superior care and offers the best chance of survival. They use the revolutionary new LUCAS device for CPR, with which I have witnessed positive results. They also use diagnostic 12-lead EKG devices that transmit your heart rhythm to the ER and allow pre- activation of the cardiac cath team, shaving as much as 15 to 30 minutes off the time it takes to get your heart muscle reperfused. GAEMS still uses the old 3-lead monitors and depends on manual CPR. I think that Kennesaw will be in better hands with the decision to use Metro.
FACT101
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July 25, 2012
First, I am a resident of Kennesaw. How dare you speak on my behalf in ref. to survival dealing with factors that you are not fluent in. As if you are fluent with EMS Field-Work in Cobb County. Second how many times have you actually been on a 911-truck with either GA-EMS Med-1 or any Metro Atlanta Ambulance Service Unit? Probably less than 5 if at all. GA EMS has the best response time in the nation, average 2-Min and 30-Sec. Additionally GA-EMS statistics are recorded by an independent Agency (City of Kennesaw Dispatch). This eliminates a conflict of interest. For the record, Metro's response time is nowhere close to even 3-Min. So clearly there is no conflict of interest. In fact it just throws your 15 min of shaved time off theory out the window. 15-30 Min is about how long it takes Metro to get on scene and stay-and-play prior to transport. Also GA-EMS has a 70% Cardiac Survival Rate. Please explain to me how I am in better off in the hands of Metro? Perhaps you should review statistics prior to posting your inaccurate opinion that is clearly out of your scope of practice.
concerned citizen
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July 06, 2012
I think the real issue here has to do with the awarding of a government contract to a company the mayor works for.

I'd be curious to know the process of renewing the ambulance contract and why it was awarded to MetroAtlanta Ambulance - taken away from Georgia EMS which has served the community well. I'm confused by this paragraph:

Since 1998, the City of Kennesaw’s ambulance service has been Georgia EMS, a 12-employee company. MetroAtlanta Ambulance, Mathews’ employer since 2009, was designated by the state in 2001 to service that area but the City has allowed Georgia EMS to continue providing the ambulance service.

I would like to understand this ambulance business better... Seems curious if you know the Mayor's employment history.

SG68
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July 06, 2012
Seems this debate has degenerated into something similar to the infamous Clinton excuse of what the definition of is, is.

Regardless of whether the Mayor's use of public resources to conduct private business it legal or not, it is obviously questionable and unethical behavior.

Isn't that the real issue?

I want my elected officials to err on the side of proper behavior, not try to skirt on the edge of legality.

Just the perception of suspicious behavior by public officials has the effect of deteriorating the public trust.
anonymous
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July 05, 2012
This is yet another red herring by a bunch of loonies. It will go nowhere fast! You won't remove Mathews from office and by the time his term is up again, nobody will care... let alone remember.
Wicked out
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July 05, 2012
I have checked with HR at City Hall and there is no such policy prohibiting use of government issued phones for personal use or for using govt email for personal use. It is however subject to open records, but allowable by policy manual.
Be careful
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July 05, 2012
The policy states that city equipment is to be use ONLY for official government business. You might be able to make a "personal" call on a city phone, but you're not supposed to use city phones/computers to do business for outside companies. There is a HUGE differnce in those 2 things. Sounds like Kennesaw needs some new HR people, because it IS in writing.
Wicked out
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July 05, 2012
@Be careful

You are correct for City employees and personnel, but according to the policies and procedures the Mayor is a "public official" not classified as an employee and cannot be fired or dismissed under these rules.
anonymous
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July 06, 2012
@ wicked out

The Mayor maybe a "public official" however, he is paid by city funds and receives city employee benefits, so you are saying he should be able to do whatever he wants, because he is a "public official"..Wow, that is some great reasoning about violating policy others are suppose to follow... He is still paid by the citizens of Kennesaw. Or is there something we should know...Typical double standards, "do as I say not as I do"...No, wonder the United States is in trouble, what a joke....
Relevant Facts
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July 05, 2012
I believe you left a relevant fact our of the news article. David Ermutlu is a Special Operations Director with Georgia EMS. A little investigative effort with google would have uncovered this fact.

David is not just a "resident" but also an individual with a vested interest in the outcome.



How Embarassing
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July 05, 2012
A 3 second Google search reveals that info. Step it up, Lindsey. That is extremely relevant information you left out.
David Ermutlu
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July 05, 2012
I have lived in Kennesaw for 12 years.

I have worked (part time) for Ga EMS for 15 years.

I've known Mayor Mathews (and everyone else on city council) for years.

Everyone involved in this knows exactly who I am.

It is because of where I work, that I found out what was going on. There is either an ethics violation or there isn't. That is for the city Ethics Committee to decide.

BlameGame
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July 05, 2012
Yes, that's right, let's take the blame off of the responsible party and put it on the person who filed the ethics claim.

Relevant Facts, you must have gone to the Steve Kennedy school for city managers. Keep up the good work and you will find yourself in the position as "Assistant to the Assistant to the Assistant City Manager" and make $75k a year!

To - Blame Game
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July 05, 2012
There was no attempt to shift any potential blame or responsibility with the statement that MDJ should have been transparent about David Ermutlu's employment with GA EMS.

Let the reader, with all the facts defined, interpret the information and develop their own conclusion(s) as to the "residents" motive for filing an ethics complaint.



Big Shanty Girl
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July 04, 2012
Mr District Attorney:

The obvious corruption here is not new but is so

rampant it is sickening. Please get a grand jury

to investigate this mess.
Uncle Wilbur
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July 05, 2012
Big Shanty Girl:

Was that you under the big oak tree at the city celebration the other night? I thought I saw you Brother Church having a big time.....
Violations of Policy
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July 04, 2012
Wow, it took this long for this to happen?

Ethics violation, I believe that has occurred for awhile.. What did the lawsuits against the city stem from? I believe reading from past articles it was because improper use of city e-mail account by employees and city councilmembers? Was Mayor Mathews not a councilmember or the mayor at this time in 2009???

I am talking about Willie Smith and then the 4 white works sueing the city for violation of city e-mail policy...Image the same violation policy occurring now, after all the comments the city stated about how the employees did all the wrong things. Sounds like this has become a learned behavior or practiced policy within the city.....

When are the citizen of Kennesaw going to wake up, somebody is printing articles on "The Kennesaw Watch" and they can't pick up on this, how much are they really watching??? If folks were really watching whats going on they could really make a educated descision.

I am really shocked that more people don't care what is going on, its your money being spent...
appyingcommonsense
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July 04, 2012
There must be more to this story. So what, the Mayor conducted personal business from city hall. There's nothing unethical about that. It may be against city policy but unethical? Come on.

Who is this Ermlutu? It sounds like he has a personal ax to grind with the Mayor to go to such efforts. "We pulled emails?" Who does he represent? Another ambulance company? Is he some 2 bit lawyer or another extremist nut?

Come on MDJ. This is just another joker trying to get his 15 minutes of fame by getting in the paper trying to take down a politician. The Cobb County District Attorney's office recognized that why haven't you? Let's focus on our troops or maybe the upcoming elections. Not crap stories like getting this dorks name in the paper.
Be Careful
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July 05, 2012
To: appyingcommonsense,

There is nothing wrong with doing personal business if you're sitting in your office at city hall. However, you cannot use government provided, taxper funded equipment to do that business.

Learn about what's going on before you comment.
SG68
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July 04, 2012
Obviously a conflict of interest.

Obviously a matter of questionable ethics.

Obviously a matter of poor judgement.

But is it illegal?

Obviously it should be.
Hanibal
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July 04, 2012
I would think that the Mayor's Ethics are better

than this.

Mr. Mayor being a graduate of DUE WEST ELEMENTARY.

Big Shanty Girl
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July 05, 2012
But he was held back in second grade three times.
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