THOMASVILLE — Addressing Thomasville City Council Monday night, a Thomasville resident said for Greg Hobbs to continue to serve as mayor is "our worst nightmare for city employees and citizens."
Joe Brown asked Hobbs to resign as mayor and to allow Mayor Pro Tem Terry Scott to serve as mayor for the duration of Hobbs' mayoral term.
Hobbs was indicted in February on six city-related charges that included felonies and misdemeanors and subsequently was suspended by Gov. Brian Kemp. A trial on the charges was scheduled for July 29. On July 26, Hobbs entered nolo contendere pleas to two misdemeanors and returned to mayoral duties last week.
"The district attorney said, 'It is time for the city to heal and move forward,' but for the citizens of Thomasville that will not be possible as long as (Mr.) Hobbs serves as mayor," Brown told the council. "If (Mr.) Hobbs does not resign his position as mayor, it is time for the citizens to demand that the district attorney investigate (Mayor) Hobbs under Georgia Code Paragraph 45-11-4, which allows removal from office of officials guilty of malpractice, misfeasance or malfeasance in office."
David Archer, a Cartersville lawyer hired by the council to investigate charges against city officials, reported a preponderance of evidence that Hobbs made several false statements during the investigation, Brown said.
"When confronted with a valid open records request for documents, it is my understanding that (Mayor) Hobbs failed to produce all the requested documents, also a violation of Georgia law," he said.
It would be a statesman-like act in response to the grace Hobbs was shown by the district attorney, Brown said, if Hobbs would resign as mayor and allow the city to heal.
Wallace Goodman, also a Thomasville resident, told the council his trust in the legal system was shaken when a council member bound over for trial by a Thomas County grand jury and removed from office by the governor was reinstated by the district attorney to serve on the council and as mayor.
"At the time of the grand jury, the district attorney must have thought there was reason to send the case to trial. The trial date was set. But instead, he allowed a plea deal before the trial was set to begin," Goodman said. "At the time, I wanted to question the legal process that allowed this to happen. I will leave that to the legal minds of our community, but I just didn't get it."
Goodman questioned how Hobbs can now expect his constituents to believe in his actions and build back trust for the future.
“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair,” Goodman said, adding that the city needs to heal with an unblemished ambassador and move forward.
Another Thomasville resident, Jeff Zoller, also asked the mayor to resign, "based on his history of illegal, improper and other questionable actions."
Zoller said he expects Hobbs as "our community's mayor, who is our ambassador to the world, to tell the truth on all city matters and to be an honorable steward of public monies."
"Clearly, our mayor has not fulfilled these standards," Zoller said.
Hobbs thanked speakers for their remarks, and the council meeting continued.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820