Concerning your article (“DA looks into Mayor Jerkins”) in Tuesday’s MDJ, my response is that it’s about time that Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins was finally called to task for his systematic abuse of power. It brings to light the old adage that “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
For close to 20 years, the mayor has been running Austell as if it is his personal fiefdom. First there was the abolition of the city manager’s position so that the mayor could double up on his power and authority, followed by strokes to his ego such as having a street named after him, and a quarter of a million dollar park built in his honor, replete with 24/7 gas light lamps to illuminate his likeness in the form of a bronze statue.
But it doesn’t stop there. The mayor has spent thousands to defeat City Council members (Trudie Causey and Martin Standard) who dared to defy his autocratic rule and install sycophants who can be relied on to do his bidding, such as voting themselves and the mayor a 20 percent pay increase, so that council members can receive pay of well over a thousand a month for doing two hours of work a month on the people’s business.
When one councilwoman, Suzanne Thomason, questioned the appropriateness of such a raise and was the lone vote against it, the mayor openly suggested that she should not run for re-election!
When I ran for City Council in 2011 and there was a dispute over how far candidates can be from the polling place during Election Day (it wasn’t properly marked), the mayor told me I was too close. When I asked him where I should go, he said: “I think you should go home.” When running for office, this kind of arrogant response was relayed to me over and over by constituents who told me that when they complained to the mayor about concerns they had with the way the city operated, they were told that if they didn’t like it, they could leave.
While that is always an option, it is not one that an elected official should offer. Bottom line: It’s time for Joe to go.