Legal counsel for Meigs City Council said Tuesday Linda Harris is the Thomas County town’s mayor, despite city council action last week.
Harris, who defeated Cynthia Chaney, former mayor, by four votes in the November election, was sworn in as mayor Thursday and immediately ousted in a 3-1 council vote.
“There was a resolution passed that removed her from office,” Tommy Coleman, an Albany lawyer and Meigs city attorney, told the Times-Enterprise Tuesday.
Meigs’ city charter calls for the city council to be made up of seven people — mayor, mayor pro tem and five council members.
On Thursday, three people cast yea votes to oust Harris. One council member voted nay. The mayor pro tem did not vote.
According to Coleman, the charter says a two-thirds vote by the council is required to remove the mayor. Five votes would have been required at the Thursday meeting to remove Harris, Coleman explained.
Considering there were five council members present Thursday, the vote would have had to be unanimous for removal, the city attorney added.
“I don’t think they had the grounds, either,” Coleman said.
Harris was at Meigs City Hall Tuesday afternoon, but she refused to answer questions.
“I’m going to continue to decline comment. I’m not going to add fuel to this fire. ... I think he (Coleman) is the best one to do the talking. He’s my legal counsel,” Harris said.
A former Albany mayor, Coleman represents 27 city councils, county commissions and boards of education.
Coleman said Meigs City Council will do its best to conform to standard operating procedures and the city charter and to comply with the law.
The council is made up of seven individuals with seven opinions, Coleman said, adding that it must be ensured that all council members are heard.
The council, he said, must operate for the citizens, not for any one individual.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.