STOCKBRIDGE — The Stockbridge City Council approved the appointment of an independent investigator Friday to look into allegations of misconduct against Mayor Lee Stuart under the terms of the city charter.
Investigator Chris Balch was named to oversee the probe during a special called meeting.
The Stockbridge Citizens Ethics Board will meet Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. for a hearing on accusations against Stuart, which are part of a six-page document filed by former councilwoman Kathy Gilbert.
Gilbert, who served on the City Council until 2011, said Stuart has violated Article 2, Section 2.16 of the Stockbridge charter and Chapter 2.40.040 of the Code of Ordinances. Both codes address actions prohibited for city officials.
During Friday’s meeting, Gilbert filed an ethics complaint against Stuart, saying he has violated local and state laws, and that his “illegal” actions have put the city at financial risk and liability.
Gilbert also said the mayor released confidential records pertaining to: applicants for an executive head of an agency in the city other than finalists; unlisted phone numbers and e-mail addresses; home addresses and phone numbers of current and former employees of the city government; and communications subject to attorney-client privilege.
Gilbert said Stuart used his position to secure special privileges for himself and others; that he used city facilities, personnel and equipment supplies for private purposes; that used official information not available to the general public to further a private interest; that he disclosed confidential information about the affairs of city government without proper authorization to further a private interest; and that he used city property for “personal benefit and convenience.”
Stuart said he favored the securing of an impartial investigator instead of one appointed “in-house.”
The council also voted to deny Stuart’s nomination of Edward W. Lowery as a potential city administrator during the special called meeting. City Attorney Bill Linkous said the vote “puts us back on the clock for a nomination by the mayor of an additional candidate.”