Facing public hearings over their internal disputes, members of Dunwoody City Council are considering calling in a mediator to work through their ethics complaints against one another.
“There are some issues that need to be addressed and that may come out in a hearing process, although the hearing process would be lengthy, take a lot of energy on both parties and be very expensive,” said City Councilwoman Adrian Bonser. “I’m very interested in getting this resolved as quickly as possible and as amicably as possible.”
Earlier this year, Mayor Mike Davis and the other members of council filed an ethics complaint against Bonser, claiming that she leaked confidential information about a property transaction from one of the council’s private executive sessions.
Davis said he is willing to give mediation a shot.
“There’s no harm, no foul in trying to do something through mediation,” Davis said.
Shortly after the complaint was made against her, Bonser filed an ethics complaint against the mayor and other council members, claiming they held an illegal closed meeting without providing notice to the public.
She also accused Davis of threatening her and asking her to resign.
In September, the ethics board upheld the complaints against Bonser and Davis.
The board dismissed the complaint alleging the council members were involved in an illegal executive session.
The ethics board is looking to schedule a hearing in November.
Bonser, whose attorney suggested mediation, said she is hopeful the council can resolve its ethics issues without a formal hearing.
“I would hope we could coalesce as a council and start working together as a team,” Bonser said.
The city spent about $50,000 for an attorney to investigate the executive session leaks.
Dunwoody also is footing the bill for an independent attorney for the ethics board. He bills $150 an hour.
Councilman John Heneghan said the fines for ethics violations are trivial compared to the cost of the investigation and hearings.
“No matter what the outcome, whether it’s the violation against the mayor or Councilwoman Bonser, it’s a slap on the wrist at best, a $250 or $500 penalty,” he said. “So I want to get this behind us.”