MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - A Milledgeville woman is calling for the resignation of a city councilman for allegedly misusing city funds and other ethics violations.
The City of Milledgeville became a City of Ethics back in March 2012. That is when an ethics board was created to review any complaints filed against elected officials. Danielle Fields, a downtown business owner, is the first citizen to put that board to work.
"Somebody needed to file the complaint and tell our leadership here this matters to us," Fields said.
Fields spent months collecting evidence that alleges Milledgeville City Councilman Phillip Joiner is unfit for the job. She filed an ethics complaint last Friday.
"The biggest thing is we expected some changes after the formation of the ethics committee and those changes weren't made," she said.
She highlights three instances of unethical behavior against Joiner in the complaint. She points out several harassment charges filed against him. She also describes his "wasteful spending [and] lack of compliance with Georgia Municipal Association mandated training." Fields says he signed up for several classes on the taxpayer's dime but then failed to get credit for them. And finally, she says Joiner attended a conference in Iowa in 2011 to work for an outside company while the city paid his expenses.
"You add up all that together and it's a lot of money and a lot of things that just doesn't represent council well, it doesn't represent the City of Milledgeville well and somebody needed to file the complaint," Fields said.
Joiner tells 41NBC he read over the complaint. During a phone interview, he said he is waiting to share his side of the story.
"When the specific nature of those complaints, if we get to the hearing stage, I'll address the specifics of those things when the time is appropriate," Joiner said. "We have a process to go through and I'm afforded the opportunity to avail myself of the process."
Joiner also questions the timing of this complaint. He believes it's a political move while Fields says he should have changed his behavior when the ethics board was formed.
"He didn't change. he still spent money after that. And he still failed and neglected to attend training so if he didn't head the warning, he does need to endure the punishment," she said.
The board can only take into consideration complaints that happened after it was formed. The ethics committee has to first determine if the complaint is valid. It then has 60 days to investigate and hold one or more hearings where both Fields and Joiner can present evidence and testimony. The board will then come to a decision to present to the mayor and full council.