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'We are still a team': Warner Robins mayor, council move suspension discussion to executive session

Originally, it was set as the 10th agenda item for public discussion.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Warner Robins' city councilmembers and Mayor LaRhonda Patrick spent a good deal of time Monday night talking behind closed doors in executive session.

Just after 7 p.m., more than an hour-and-a-half into their meeting, mayor and council started their second executive session of the day.

Earlier, they discussed why Mayor Patrick suspended the city administrator. Originally, it was set as the 10th agenda item for public discussion. However, in Monday's 4:30 pre-council meeting, the mayor and council moved the item to an executive session, meaning the public could not listen in.

Mayor Patrick said, "The next thing on the agenda is the second page. Executive session, I already told you, it'll be pending litigation and personnel matters." She continued, "There are three subjects that are reserved to speak about in private, and that is pending litigation is one, and personnel matters."

They discussed "personnel matters" for an hour-and-a-half. By the time they came back out, six warner robins citizens remained in the audience. Two of them said off-camera, they did not understand why the discussion had to happen behind closed doors. Just before 9 p.m., at the end of the meeting, Mayor Patrick addressed the public about the executive session. 

Mayor Patrick said, "Our charter is very clear on what a city administrator has authority to do and what they do not have authority to do. and it's very clear on what I as mayor has authority to do, and I move forward on those authorities within our charter."

She said "it's true" she suspended their City Administrator David Corbin for two weeks without pay.

"Though we may not see eye-to-eye all the time, we are still a family and we are still a team, and we are going to govern our city properly with the common good of the people, the citizens of Warner Robins, at center stage," Patrick said.

Because discussion occurred during an executive session, council members are not allowed to speak about what they discussed with anyone. Corbin was not at Monday night's meeting. Patrick says Corbin signed a $347,000 contract with Governmentjobs.com without approval. Three council members say they were frustrated, because Patrick didn't consult them first.

Council passed a couple of other items on their agenda, including low-income housing tax credits for the city and a resolution to certify Warner Robins as a "Bee City USA" community.

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