THOMASVILLE — In response to the three residents asking Thomasville Mayor Greg Hobbs to step down and calling for a new investigation, Council member David Hufstetler said speakers are in the minority.
Gov. Brian Kemp began an investigation into the mayor’s indictment and chose to invoke a suspension using an existing state code section, Hufstetler said in a written statement. "This same code section includes the mayor’s reinstatement if no conviction results from court proceedings — due process, 14th amendment," he wrote.
Hobbs entered nolo contendere pleas to two city-related misdemeanors three days before the case involving a total of six charges, including felonies, went to trial. Hufstetler said a nolo contendere plea is not a conviction.
"The mayor, in a very selfless act, went forward with this plea in order to put this thing behind us and begin the healing process with the agreement and blessings of the DA’s office. His option was to proceed with a jury trial as the three dissenters’ suggested," the council member said.
According to Hufstetler, the DA’s office, in calculating a plea offer, must consider the odds of a conviction in the case of a jury trial. He respectfully suggests the DA’s office made the calculation and partially made the plea offer in light of that consideration.
"That is, a jury conviction was very unlikely," Hufstetler said. The correct decision for all concerned."
The statement continues: "I also observed that not one person of color spoke out suggesting yet another investigation or the mayor resigning!? And while the mayor, as we all do, once elected represents all the citizens of Thomasville, the mayor was elected to council by the voters of District 1, predominantly African American, and to the position of mayor by his peers on the council. What the three outspoken individuals suggested at Monday night’s council meeting was that the will of the voters of District 1 be ignored!? Not one of those three outspoken individuals reside in District 1."
Hufstetler suggests that even if a jury trial had taken place, "in which the mayor would have most certainly been exonerated, at great expense to the community, this same group would not have been satisfied, nor 'put to rest' this entire senseless, sad saga. But rest assured this very vocal group are very much in the minority."
The council member wrote that the city council led by Hobbs "will continue to move forward doing what’s best for the continued growth and safety of our community and citizens of this fine city we call home!"
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820