2 councilwomen, resident accuse mayor of bullying
by Rachel Gray
January 22, 2014 11:55 PM | 4338 views | 36 36 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilwomen Cris Eaton-Welsh and Debra Williams and an outspoken supporter Tuesday night called for an end to what they see as bullying by Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews, accusing him of setting a tone that has divided the city. Attending Tuesday’s council meeting are, front row from left, Mayor Mark Mathews, Councilman Tim Killingsworth and Councilman Leonard Church. Back row from left are Eaton-Welsh, Councilman Jim Sebastian and Williams. <br> Courtesy of Pam Davis
Councilwomen Cris Eaton-Welsh and Debra Williams and an outspoken supporter Tuesday night called for an end to what they see as bullying by Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews, accusing him of setting a tone that has divided the city. Attending Tuesday’s council meeting are, front row from left, Mayor Mark Mathews, Councilman Tim Killingsworth and Councilman Leonard Church. Back row from left are Eaton-Welsh, Councilman Jim Sebastian and Williams.
Courtesy of Pam Davis
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KENNESAW — Two councilwomen and an outspoken supporter Tuesday night called for an end to what they see as bullying by Mayor Mark Mathews, accusing him of setting a tone that has divided the city.

Eileen Alberstadt, a familiar face at city meetings, said during the public comment portion of Tuesday night’s council meeting that she was speaking on behalf of a group of concerned citizens who want to see the city “unite.”

Alberstadt firmly said that the bullying has to stop, or she will personally petition to have Mathews or members of the council recalled and removed from office.

Alberstadt, who has lived in Kennesaw for 10 years after moving from Tallahassee, Fla., to Cobb, said some council members are her friends. But, Alberstadt said she shares “bad blood” with Mathews and other council members over past disagreements.

On Tuesday night, Councilwoman Cris Welsh said she had prepared a statement, but she went off the script to address the crowded room of residents.

Welsh said Mathews has been condescending toward her during their conversations.

And, for the majority of the time she has been on the council, Welsh said she has spent two and a half years “avoiding slings and arrows.”

“I’m done with that,” she said.

Welsh says ‘stop the infighting’

The infighting has caused Welsh to neglect her family and business, she said. Welsh has two young daughters, Isabelle and Shelby, and runs Eaton Chiropractic on Main Street in downtown Kennesaw.

Welsh said her antagonists have accused Welsh of owing past-due property taxes. Welsh said Tuesday night that during the slow economy she has tightened her belt and is paying the taxes in installments, just as other property owners have been forced to do.

“I am not ashamed. I am not alone,” Welsh said.

Welsh won re-election in 2011 for a second term and took office in January 2012. Her term expires at the end of 2015.

“Despite what’s gone on up here the last two and a half years, despite the tone that has been set,” Welsh said the city staff has done an excellent job and the city has moved forward, with more positive news on the horizon.

But, she said, “the infighting has got to stop. It’s the last thing we need. We are going to disagree on a lot of stuff, but we don’t have to disagree and take it personally.

“I just want to finish up my final two years in peace.”

The mayor versus the council

On Tuesday, Councilwoman Debra Williams said the council is composed of many personalities with strong convictions.

And, each council member has supporters “who are going to defend us till the end,” Williams said.

But, she asked those people not to make disagreements between Mathews and a council member personal.

“When we divide, we cannot make progress,” Williams said.

Mathews did not address the outcry by Alberstadt during the meeting, but said afterward he does not know what the real issue is.

“It has evolved into something where no one can pinpoint specifics,” Mathews said. “For months I have asked to be called out on any actions of mine that are questionable.”

Mathews accused members of the council of not talking directly to each other or with him, instead using social media or supporters in the community to address issues and come down on one side or the other.

He said council members should “take responsibility” for their actions, matching what they say.

“I feel like my actions and my words are consistent,” Mathews said.

Mathews said any change in attitude by the council will be up to each individual.

After the public meeting Tuesday night, each council member and Mathews posed and smiled to take a picture together to be hung in the foyer of city hall.

Speaking for the residents

Alberstadt was the only resident who spoke during the public comment section Tuesday night.

She said Kennesaw residents are fed up with the power struggles happening on the City Council, which swore in three new members about two weeks ago.

“I would like to know and the citizens would like to know, when are you going to work together?” Alberstadt asked.

Alberstadt said she does not expect the council members to all vote the same, but they need to join together to address the needs of Kennesaw.

The council should have “no secret projects or backroom handshake deals,” Alberstadt said, and all information about future developments in Kennesaw should be shared between all the council members and Mathews.

Alberstadt is a retired legal assistant who served on the Kennesaw Ethics Board until a year and a half ago. Now, Alberstadt said, she wants to “work in the wings,” helping businesses write grants to update their signage to beautify Kennesaw.

The high voter turnout at last year’s election has stirred Kennesaw residents into action, Alberstadt said, including some community members with extensive educational backgrounds who want to join city boards.

Alberstadt said it will be clear if the council and Mathews heard her warning by their personal encounters with her in the future.

Comments
(36)
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Samuel Adams
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January 27, 2014
As an outside observer, it's clear that people don't have to "choose" whose side they are on to hold criticisms of Mayor Mark Mathews. Clearly, the man's resume could never have put him in the same room as half the people he now rubs elbows with, and even clearer that he was picked for the ARC work he did with Tim Lee on the regional malarky because of his strategically located fifedom and willingness to go along.

The problem with things, as that fifedom becomes a significant player, is that more eyes are watching the good old boys do their thing. It does appear the women are the only ones willing to take on the truth. Too bad for Matthews they won't just sit down and shut up. Keep it coming, MDJ. Coverage of Kennesaw and its dysfunctional council and mayor's office isn't simply entertaining, but might actually turn up something...worthwhile.
Cris Eaton Welsh
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January 25, 2014
This is not constructive for our community. While we may have differing personal views we all want what is best for the city, and this is not it.

Eileen and all of you anonymous bloggers, you asked us to work together, this is not helping...in reality, it is hurting.

Please allow our city to heal and let us all move on and do the business of the city.
Words o wisdom
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January 25, 2014
Words of wisdom..now if you could take the high rode and resign maybe the rest would settle down and the healing could continue. Do the right thing!.
shameful
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January 24, 2014
and think the KBA voted Welsh citizen of the year.

How Shameful!!! Cheatin Eaton she coned KBA like she did the residents of Kennesaw.
Heard This Before
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January 24, 2014
Hey, I heard this come out of the Mayor's mouth personally. Guess we know who 'shameful' is. EXPOSED!
Aint that the truth
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January 25, 2014
Cheatin' Eaton. Perfect.
Kathy Scott
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January 27, 2014
Words o wisdom and shameful take the cowardly road - that's road not rode as in your post above. Perhaps words are your best asset Mr. Wisdom. I would be very careful about your comments asking her to resign. She has the highest approval rating and Mark does not.

"Cheatin Eaton" is libelous Mrs. Shamful. And I think you mean "conned" not "coned" KBA. Your posts are jealous and spoken by a person who has lost some power and blames it on her. Let her do her job and do what you do.

My uncle once told me: "In life, there are eagles and ducks. Eagles soar; ducks quack."

I'm tired of you're quacking.
wow in kennesaw
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January 24, 2014
Maybe the MDJ should look into the plan Welsh says she has to pay her property taxes, and when was the last time she made a payment, and see if that is true!
Due
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January 24, 2014
Maybe they can also check into the payment Jeff Duckett agreed to make for his part in his Leadership Cobb classes. Wait, why are the citizens paying for his classes when he no longer represents the City, his business benefits, and his business isn't a member of the Chamber? This is getting more interesting.
Eileen Alberstadt
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January 24, 2014
Dr. Cris Eaton - Welsh is on a payment plan, and she is current.
Numbers Game
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January 25, 2014
Hey Blaberstadt, You really believe owing over $4,000 to Cobb County to pay the balance of 2012 and 2013 taxes is current? And a payment plan in which a whole $100 shows posted for her OVERDUE City taxes is current? I'm not real good with numbers, but I would say it's pretty hard to be "current" if the due dates have passed and there is still a balance due. I'm just sayin...
Kathy Scott
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January 27, 2014
Wow in Kennesaw is right. Why would Mayor Matthews write the post above?

"Maybe the MDJ should look into the plan Welsh says she has to pay her property taxes, and when was the last time she made a payment, and see if that is true!

It's his syntax. I think the citizens need to know why?

Monarch Mark Mathews
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January 24, 2014
Anyone who has ever disagreed with the Monarch can certainly attest to his slippery, vindictive ways. You could start with previous councils and branch out from there if you needed validation.

Monarch Mathews does not like it if you don't do as he says.

All Hail the Monarch.
Kennesaw Visitor
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January 23, 2014
Yep, Bully is pretty descriptive of our Mark ran his Parents business - into the ground and bankrupt ! Shameful.
Phooddude
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January 23, 2014
Time to put up your toys and go home. Tell me what this city does that the county can't do or isn't already doing.
Steve in Kennesaw
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January 23, 2014
Mayor Mathews can't pinpoint the specifics ?? It started June 2012 when he got hired by METRO ambulance and then devised the plan to switch the city's ambulance provider to the company he was working for. Anyone who questioned the move was attacked. the first example would have to be the Mayor's attempt to remove her from office in September of 2012 - Quoted from the MDJ article Sept 10th 2012

"First elected in June 2009 and re-elected to a four-year term in 2011, Eaton-Welsh is also a doctor at Eaton Chiropractic on South Main Street in downtown Kennesaw, where she has a private practice with her father, Doc Eaton. As pro bono work, she has often treated police, fire, ambulance and active military personnel at no charge, according to the letter. But Mayor Mark Mathews has suggested that the longstanding practice may violate the city’s current ethics code, said Copeland. Eaton-Welsh in the letter said such pro bono work is an industry-wide practice."

YEP That's OUR Mayor, Sept 10 - the day before we as a country honor and respect military & first responders he goes after her for charity work. He is another uneducated, malicious, good 'ol boy politician.

Clarify
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January 23, 2014
Is this the same ETHICS CODES he said didn't apply to him when ethics charges were brought against him with Metro Ambulance because he wasn't an employee? Wouldn't that be considered double standards? I guess he chooses what applies and to whom. Can't believe so many of our citizens are naive to his antics, or else they just don't care to find out who is actually telling the truth.
Eileen Alberstadt
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January 23, 2014
During the Ethics Board Meeting which led to my Resignation, in July of 2012, we,(The Ethics Board) were told by Legal Counsel, that the City's Ethics Rules did not pertain to Elected Officials! Which is it Mark? you just seemed to skirt by all the accusations brought against you. Then you have the gall to try and turn the tables? What is with you Mr. Mayor? You have no clue as to what the issues are? Are you serious?
under oath
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January 23, 2014
I checked her taxes and she has owed for years and had liens put on her property. She has been delinquent on City and County taxes. When she was sworn in 2 years ago she swore she did not owe any government any money. Did she lie on her oath of office and if she did is she qualified to serve on the council according to the rules?? Wow she must have the mafia behind her.
Sounds Familiar
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January 23, 2014
I would venture to say you are posting under many aliases since the reference to the 'mafia' tends to keep coming up. Sounds like you learned the subliminal messaging of diverting blame from yourself onto someone else. Why don't you list specifics, or would they not hold water for your argument.
Eileen Alberstadt
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January 24, 2014
Hey Under Oath,

You would not know what the Mafia is if they confronted you and hit you in your ugly mug. I bet you are a Mark Cronie too! What is with these alias names? No guts?
last straw
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January 23, 2014
Poor poor pitiful Councilmember Welsh?? The economy has hit her hard." Listen family we can only take two trips to Cabo these last two years and two trips to Washington DC this past year. Husband (and employee) we can only pay for $3000 of your fee for Leadership Cobb this year. We can only upgrade one of our cars this year and we have to keep at least two houses going. We will be able to attend Cobb Chamber Gala and other events, buy or rent some fancy clothes, pay our own way and try to get some good deals on the auction items. Don't worry about the property taxes, I am on a payment plan and will pay them once they issue a lien on the property."

Come on Councilmember Welsh lets lead by example. Don't blame this on the economy or the so called bully Mayor. The Mayor tried to work things out I heard by having a meeting with you and the City attorney. You decided that these meetings were not needed because things seem to be ok. Please tell us just one specific of the bully Mayor. What has he done?? Just one. Grow up Councilmember and get the chip off your shoulder and pay your taxes or resign. If you cant lead by example then get out and quit diverting the blame elsewhere.

Just The Beginning
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January 23, 2014
Hey Last Straw:

You want to defend this Mayor and make him look like a saint. Here's just a sample of how he treated one citizen, and this is only the beginning. Read the emails on the bottom and you'll see what a fantastically wonderful leader you have. Harassment and name calling, yeah, that's the kind of Leader Kennesaw needs. What the people don't see happening behind closed doors and the spins he puts on things keeps the people, in his own words, 'idiots'. Your accusations of lifestyle is appears you've been schooled by the Mayor - this is the kind of spin he puts on things when he wants to cast a bad light on anyone who speaks against him or reveals his tactics. Just get on his wrong side and he'll come after you, but sounds like that won't happen because your 'strings' are showing.

http://mayormathews.blogspot.com/
Camille Cross
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January 24, 2014
FYI the first trip to Washington DC was at the invitation of the White House,for her work on health and fitness the second was also a health summit. By the way, I believe that Cris flys for free and stayed with a friend while in DC.on the second trip. As for Cabo, again flys for free AND the house belongs to her in-laws. Who wouldn't take that trip?

I know what she paid for the vehicle it was less than what she sold her car for - it was not about upgrading, it was about the safety of her children and this "new" car was affordable and safe.
Be Careful
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January 23, 2014
Mr. Mathews is 100% correct, his actions have been consistent.

Consistently unethical.

When an ethics complaint was filed against him, he said he was NOT an employee of the city therefore doesn't have to abide by the employee rules.

But then when the credit cards became an issue he said there is no need to look at it any further because it's all covered in the employee handbook.

Well, are you an employee of the city or not?

He is not being truthful when he says he does not know why there are problems.

He knows EXACTLY what brought all this to light.

When he used his position, and a series of backroom deals to throw out the cities ambulance service in favor of the company he works for.

He knows exactly that people are upset about that.

He also knows how he's bullied Councilman Welsh, that has been WELL documented in the past.

But ya know what?

It's OK Mr. Mathews. Play stupid and pretend you don't know what's going on. You obviouisly didn't get the message when your buddies were voted off the council. You would have been voted out if you were running this time.

The clock is ticking, next election you and Timmy are OUT OUT OUT!!!!!
Just Wait
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January 23, 2014
Sure sounds like Welsh should resign. If she is letting her position on the council damage her business and family, she obviously can't do all three.
Stand Strong
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January 23, 2014
Just Wait: The Mayor blames the economy for everything. He bankrupted his family business 'because of the economy' and left MANY businesses holding the bag. He didn't even try to pay any of them back. He didn't care who had to pay for his bad management just as long as it didn't affect his family. Bankruptcy didn't happen overnight, it was repeating bad decisions one after the other over time. Councilmember Welsh is paying hers back, like most upstanding people would. She made no excuses like our Mayor. How about the Mayor resign since he's already proven he doesn't have good management skills and since his position with Metro Ambulance allows him to focus full time on government and be rewarded for it, he doesn't have to worry about losing his business, just shake hands, cut deals, and harass others. Curious how many of his Council buddies filed for bankruptcy and some with judgements against them.
Connie Mack Jr
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January 23, 2014
No doubt the Mayor is a Grad of the George Zimman School of "Reverse GOP Bullying Against Giant Amazons Of Kennesaw"
Kennesaw Resident
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January 23, 2014
I didn't read anything here that has any specifics. What did the Mayor do or say?
Accusation?
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January 23, 2014
I just looked this up. It is true. It is not an accusation. Pay your taxes!
Call Out
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January 23, 2014
Mayor, it would be sad if you were not so laughable. Again, you play the 'unknowing victim'. I applaud those who are standing up and speaking out. Seems the females are the only ones willing to take you to task and make people aware of your questionable actions. Where are the men, I'm sure they are seeing it? Why are they keeping silent? I'm sure their are others seeing this but afraid to speak out because your slick talk turning the tables on them. Or maybe they are waiting to speak again at the polls in 2015 since you didn't get the message in 2014!
Eileen Alberstadt
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January 24, 2014
Mayor Mark Mathews will not make it to the polls in 2015 if all of this does not stop. The bullying and the hatred and yes, he is always the victim. What did I do? He will always ask. Last summer, Mayor Mathews sent me text message that was harassing. I did respond back asking him to stop and do not send me anymore emails or texting. He wrote me back stating "I will not Stop". The Authorities would do nothing, but next time, I will go above the County of Cobb. Get it together! Like I said Monday night at the Council Meeting, The Bullying has to stop, or I will personally petition to have anyone including Mayor and any of the council recalled and removed from office. There are so many people out there just waiting to sign on that dotted line. He might think he has all the City Employees under his thumb, but believe me, once he is gone and new blood is flowing in his office, there once again be harmony in this city. One of his Councilmen whom lost the election, did not feel he should have to turn in receipts for his spending on the City Credit Card. Are there no rules to follow? From my understanding, there are rules, OH YES, but; that does not mean Mayor and Council. YOU KNOW WHAT? "There is a New Sheriff in Town". He or She is called The New Policy and Procedures. They will be followed by all. Including Mayor and Council. When I was with State Government in Florida, I turned in every receipt and so did all of my Staff or guess what? They would not have gotten paid! Everyone wants paid! If this City does not have "Unification" soon, we should maybe think of merging with the City of Acworth and have an honest mayor. Extend the Members of Council #'s and take the best from here. Let's move forward! Clean It Up or Clean it Out! PS: This is in no way a threat! This is a Promise!
anonymous
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January 23, 2014
Boss Hog, might send Ennis and clients over to collect taxes.

Mr. mayor deserves the white Cadillac converter able.
Legal Service
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January 23, 2014
Isn’t it past time for the City (ie: Mayor) to bring us up to date on the proposed annexation of 53 acres of land from the County?

Why do residents and Council members only learn about this from reading it in the MDJ a week ago?

What incentives, guarantees or assistance has been promised by the City Administration to Jeff Fuqua of the Atlanta firm Fuqua Development LLC? Is the City aware that this developer has been called the most controversial developer in Atlanta?

I know that the County Commission is now looking at this matter. Lisa N. Cupid, Cobb County Commissioner - District 4 (SE Cobb) had not heard about this annexation and asked Cobb Comm Dev staff (Dana.Johnson@cobbcounty.org,

Keehren.Baah@cobbcounty.org) to look into the proposed annexation.

Since the MDJ article the whole Comm. is now aware of the issue.

FYI: Fuqua has a web site at: http://fuquadevelopment.com/ but there may be some unhappy people around Metro Atlanta, see: Jeff Fuqua, Atlantas Most Controversial Developer at: http://clatl.com/atlanta/jeff-fuqua-atlantas-most-controversial-developer/Content?oid=9217716

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