When the new council met for the first time Jan. 6, members opposed the reappointment of Richard Blevins to the KDA board in a 3-2 vote, with council-members Debra Williams, Jim Sebastian and Cris Welsh against.
The KDA is a seven-member board, on which Debra Williams’ husband, Ken Williams, is serving as chair.
Debra Williams said Blevins approa-ched fellow board member Steve Creason about taking her husband out of the lead position.
The day after the vote against Blevins, Mathews sent an email with a full-page letter to the city clerk. It stated he would be vetoing the action and upholding Blevins’ appoint-ment.
The mayor of Kennesaw is given five business days after a council meeting to file a dissent with the clerk in writing.
A week after receiving the letter, Welsh said the mayor’s veto of a split vote by the City Council sets a bad tone of not finding a middle ground as the council starts out on a new year.
The KDA position
Councilman Tim Killingsworth, who nominated Blevins for the reappointment, said he appreciated the veto by Mathews to keep the volunteer board operating.
Welsh, who was chairwoman of the KDA in 2008 and 2009, said a person should not be on a community board if they are going to cause dissention, beyond expressing a differing opinion.
Blevins, who has practiced law in Marietta for 13 years, said he did approach Creason. Blevins asked if Creason would nominate him for the chairman’s position at the KDA’s meeting in December.
Debra Williams’ response was one of a protective wife, Blevins said.
Although Debra Williams has never met Blevins, the “takeover” attempt “tells me the kind of person he is,” she said.
The KDA also met Wednesday night, and Blevins said he withdrew his name from consideration for the 2014 chairman’s position.
“I’ll just try to take the high road,” Blevins said.
Debra Williams said she has no intention of taking the discussion about Blevins’ appointment any further, so the issue will not be on the council’s agenda at the next meeting Tuesday night.
“We will just let the chips fall where they may,” Williams said.
Ken Williams will remain chairman of the KDA.
A personal conflict?
Debra Williams said she voted against Blevins’ appointment based on her personal convictions about his character. She said it was “unbecoming of a leader” like Mathews to present her stance any other way.
Mathews said Debra Williams’ position on the council and Ken Williams’ position on the KDA represents a personal conflict.
Ken Williams is a civil engineer for Dobbins Air Reserve Base. Because he works for the federal government, Debra Williams said, “There are a lot of things we can’t talk about, ever,” even after being married for 32 years.
On Wednesday night, Debra Williams said she could abstain from votes by the council about KDA matters, such as contract approvals or financial deals.
Mathews said this would mean Debra Williams would lose her effectiveness on the council.
“I think it puts you in an awkward position and it puts the city in an awkward position,” Mathews said.
A new alliance on the council?
The Kennesaw City Council can override a veto with support by four out of the five councilmembers. But, with Mathews already vetoing a council vote, Debra Williams said the mayor might reverse any decision that does not have the backing of a “super majority” of four votes.
Some residents have accused two new members of the council, Williams and Sebastian, of teaming with Welsh to form a “voting bloc.”
Welsh, who has heard the moniker used before, said she only met Sebastian when he decided to run for election, although she has known Williams for “a long time.”
Williams said there is no alliance, and all of her own decisions will be based on research. Williams said she did not try to influence or solicit any votes by Welsh or Sebastian against Blevins’ appointment.
Sebastian, who has worked in the insurance field for years, said he is new to politics after working in corporate America. He said there is no “voting bloc,” just a commonality with a couple members who also want to do what is best for the city, and not fulfill personal wishes.
With the many changes in the Kennesaw government, Sebastian said it is time to give different people a chance to contribute. He said more residents are asking to be placed on community boards and committees than in the past. As chairman of the Citizen Advisory Committee for three years, Sebastian said, “There is a chance to get some new blood involved,” and the more “prestigious committees” are competitive.