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E-mail battle between Warner Robins mayor, councilman over race and politics

Warner Robins City Councilman Daron Lee made some strong allegations against the city and Mayor Randy Toms in an email

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Warner Robins City Councilman Daron Lee made some strong allegations against the city and Mayor Randy Toms in an email sent Sunday night.

"All people matter, but it just seems like here at the city of Warner Robins municipality that the black employees don’t matter," said Lee.

He said at the root of his email, it’s all about how white employees are treated better than black employees and are given more opportunities in the city.

"How they were looked over and really mistreated by way of not being fair when it came to jobs, also in regards to the situation with the three employees."

The situation he is referring to is three city employees were caught using city equipment on private property without permission. The three men were fired, but two of them were ultimately reinstated and the third was allowed to retire. 

That decision was made by an outside judge.

Lee said that third employee is also one of two men caught stealing gas back in 2012. He claims the black employee was fired and the white employee was not.

"I’m not saying what the black guy did is right, but both of them should have been terminated."

As for Mayor Toms, he called the e-mail exchange unnecessary.

"I think there’s some essential disagreements in there, but also, I think there are some pretty strong allegations that need to be looked at further, whether or not there’s anything further going on," said Toms.

He said he felt he needed to hit 'reply all' as Lee did, he wanted to stand up and make a statement to protect the employees.

As for the allegations of bribery in the e-mail, Toms said there is nothing to it, but would bring in the GBI if it puts the accusations to rest.

"I will be making contact with the proper authorities and just let them decide whether or not it was a sufficient allegation to warrant some kind of investigation," he said over the phone.

Lee claims the unequal treatment of employees of different races is nothing new.

"When it comes to certain positions at the city of Warner Robins, you know, certain positions are posted late, certain employees are not aware of certain positions or opportunities or promotions here. Certain jobs are just given to certain individuals and do not open up to other employees here at the city of Warner Robins in certain departments. I know it happens in Public Works," said Lee.

In the e-mail Lee also said, "Telling us African Americans to move on and forget the wounds of the past would be tantamount to asking Jews to forget the Holocaust and move on."

Lee said he doesn’t think it’s right that black people are told to "move on," and that is why he brought up Bosnians, ethnic cleansing, Nagasaki, and the Trail of Tears.

"Their history is important -- very important -- and ours is important."

Councilman Lee said he knows people think that he is the one who created the racial divide in the city, but he said it was here before he got here and is trying to work to bring everyone together. 

Lee said the e-mail was directed to the city as a whole, not just Mayor Toms, including calling the way the administration is set up "racist."

He does directly speak to Toms in his last paragraph, saying, "I smile at you, but I did not know you hated me that bad."

Toms responded saying, "I do not like your actions, attitude, demeaning and accusatory e-mails and statements and though I have tried, we apparently have a mutual dislike for each other."

Toms echoed that statement over the phone.

"I don’t have a dislike for his family. I think I stated that fairly clearly in there, but with his continuing allegations, that has become an unfortunate part of the situation, but we still have a job to do."

Toms went on the say he encourages anyone with proof of any wrongdoing to come forward.

"But if not, let’s quit making allegations without any repercussions to the allegations made to either the accused or the accuser for that matter."

Both men said they are ready to move forward, but Lee said it was time to bring this information to the public.

Below are the full e-mails from Lee and Toms.

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