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'No one has authority over me to sign anything': Warner Robins city administrator suspended in contract dispute

According to the council's December 6th meeting minutes, David Corbin was authorized to negotiate a contract to outsource the city's payroll.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Warner Robins' mayor suspended the city administrator for allegedly signing a $347,000 contract without approval. That's according to a February 1st letter 13WMAZ obtained Thursday. We went to learn more about Mayor LaRhonda Patrick's decision to suspend David Corbin.

According to the council's December 6th meeting minutes, Corbin was authorized to negotiate a contract to outsource the city's payroll.

The mayor and council asked Corbin to bring a proposed contract back to them for approval. Instead, Patrick writes, Corbin delivered a signed contract to them on January 18th. Mayor LaRhonda Patrick told him he was suspended for "unauthorized execution of a contract" with a business named Governmentjobs.com.

Patrick said, "He has no authority as a purchasing agent. The only purchasing agent for the city of Warner Robins is the mayor, which, at that point, I was the Mayor of Warner Robins and no one has authority over me to sign anything, purchasing anything; and I can't sign anything, unless council tells me to."

Councilman Charlie Bibb says he found out about Corbin's suspension when Corbin did and he says he "totally disagrees."

"He was just conducting business that the mayor and council in December instructed him to do, and the contract was time essence, which gives the city administrator according to our charter the lie way to do that; and we were all on board. I think the vote was unanimously to outsource our payroll," Bibb said.

According to legal resources online, a contract is legally binding once it's signed and executed.

"There's discourse between me and council. Council doesn't understand what charter says, apparently, and they're also being coached by the person who was suspended, so there is a lot of discourse here between me and them in making this decision, which I am entitled to make," Patrick said.

Patrick says Corbin is suspended for two weeks without pay.

The change in city payroll management came out of problems with the IRS that came to light last fall. Corbin said he planned to outsource some city payroll services after the federal agency slapped a nearly $800,000 lien on the city.

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