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Warner Robins mayor suspends city administrator in dispute over contract

Mayor LaRhonda Patrick says David Corbin signed and executed a $347,000 contract without approval from her and councilmembers.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Editor's note: Video in this story is coverage of the Dec. 6 council meeting described below.

Warner Robins' mayor suspended their city administrator for allegedly signing a $347,000 contract without approval, according to a Feb. 1 letter obtained by 13WMAZ.

Mayor LaRhonda Patrick told David Corbin that he was suspended for "unauthorized execution of a contract" with a business named Governmentjobs.com.

According to minutes from the council's Dec. 6 meeting, Corbin was authorized to negotiate a contract to outsource the city's payroll office. The mayor and council asked him to bring a proposed contract back to them for approval.

Instead, Patrick writes, Corbin delivered a signed contract to them on Jan. 18. According to legal resources online, a contract is legally binding once it's signed and executed.

Patrick wrote that Corbin was immediately suspended without pay for two weeks. She sent the following statement to 13WMAZ:

"I can confirm that David Corbin, the current City Administrator for the City of Warner Robins, has been suspended without pay for a period of two (2) weeks effective Tuesday, February 1, 2022. I have consistently pledged accountability and transparency in my administration and it starts at the top. As the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Warner Robins, I take my responsibilities seriously. We have ordinances, policies and procedures in place which direct our procurement activities and all employees, including myself, are expected, and are obligated, to follow these ordinances.

As a matter of ethics, I cannot permit one person’s disregard for these rules under any circumstances. That act alone will create precedence for all others to expect the same type of treatment for this strictly unauthorized action. In accordance with our charter, the only individual with purchasing authority is the Mayor, and any actions to the contrary, absent proper approval, is absolutely prohibited. Regardless of whether this unauthorized action was intentional or a mere mistake, it does not negate the language within the laws of our city and I stand firm on my decision to suspend the City Administrator within the sole authority of my position."

The change in city payroll management came out of city 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.

The IRS said the city had problems filing payroll records going back for several years.

We'll have more on this story on 13WMAZ News at 5 and 6.

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