by Emily Lewy
Alleged incidents on which all allegations against Councilman Ariemma are based took place over six months ago. According to a report created for the City Council, City Manager Bill Lewis reinterpreted a question from his employee and turned that question into an accusation against Councilman Ariemma. The Mayor and City Council received the report that described Lewis’ expansion of the facts some four and a half months ago.
You would think the charges against Ariemma would have been dropped and long forgotten. Only a vendetta against Ariemma could keep this thing going. Efforts to “get” Ariemma continued even after the councilman informed the Mayor and Council that he had proof of his innocence. That “proof” was provided to them; yet, their vendetta continues with no facts to support their charges.
The numerous attorneys representing the council allowed them to proceed with a resolution setting out the process for removing an elected official that was front page news in the February 23 edition of The Dahlonega Nugget. Allegations against Ariemma were repeated and his picture prominently displayed. Council members suggested that charges would be filed against Ariemma.
During Public Comments of the March 7 Council Meeting, the Mayor rudely interrupted and challenged a private individual speaking on the matter. The Mayor’s remarks included, “you’re a lawyer” and “if you want to talk more than a minute you need to get on the agenda.”
The March 16 edition of The Dahlonega Nugget ran a story, Council members rarely removed in Georgia, http://www.thedahloneganugget.com/articles/2011/03/17/news/05%20councilremoval.txt . Facts that vindicate Ariemma have never been provided to the reporter; therefore, the allegations against Ariemma are again repeated and his removal anticipated.
The story referred to a similar controversy in Morrow, Georgia where the council is in the process of removing a fellow member. However the two situations are vastly different. In the Morrow case, a city employee had filed charges against the council member before any action was taken by the council.
In Dahlonega, the Council initiated the process of removal presumably on the recommendation of the City Manager with no employee to officially bring charges. They brought in a consultant to interview witnesses and apparently to try to make a case for removing Ariemma.
I find it difficult to believe that council’s attorneys have not laid out the facts and explained to the council members that there is no evidence to support their allegations. If they are aware of the facts, a vendetta is the only way to explain the continued persecution of Ariemma. If council members don’t know what’s going on, each and every one should be immediately recalled because they are not doing the job we pay them to do.
How much longer do the voters of Dahlonega have to wait? How much longer will Councilman Ariemma be the subject of a City Council vendetta?