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Warner Robins City Attorney: Deal With Stan Martin to Perform Audit is Not Binding | News

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Warner Robins City Attorney: Deal With Stan Martin to Perform Audit is Not Binding

Warner Robins City Attorney Jim Elliott says the city council's offer to hire former city clerk Stan Martin isn't specific enough to be a binding contract.

But he said the council has the authority to hire Martin for a study of city businesses practices and could make the deal official by making it more specific.

Elliott wrote an opinion on the legality of a contract between Martin and the City of Warner Robins.

Elliott wrote in the Oct. 1 letter to the mayor and council, "Several of you have asked for my legal opinion on the purported contract with Stan Martin. While there is very little case law directly on point, I have been able to find some relevant authority."

In August, a majority of council voted to initiate an "Investigative Internal Audit" of the city's business practices. Council members said in interviews with 13WMAZ, that the investigation would include a look at hiring, accounting of materials, and "partiality and oppression" toward some city employees.

Attorney and former city clerk, Stan Martin, wrote a contract for his services and began work. Mayor Chuck Shaheen did not sign the contract.

Martin wrote a letter to the mayor and council, asking for them to clarity the status of the contract. He said he would not do any more work until that happened.

Martin's initial investigation found problems with the city's promotions and hiring practices, since January 2010.

Elliott's opinion found that the original resolution by the council to initiate the investigation, needed to be clarified, by identifying the party who will perform services, the cost, and the services to be performed.

Elliott said by phone, that the resolution did not provide enough specificity, because it did not name Martin as the attorney they wanted to conduct the investigation.

He said if council reread the motion with more details. it probably would "cure the problem."

That opinion was based an Atlanta case, in which the mayor refused to sign a contract with a company for construction. Elliott wrote, "The state Supreme Court held the council resolution contained the name of the selected bidder, referenced documents that specified the work to be performed and included the specific amount of $2,476,200.00."

Elliott also said city charter says "negotiating contracts is a power vested solely in the mayor." He said he did not know if law requires the mayor to negotiate contracts, voted on by a majority of council. Mayor Chuck Shaheen said in previous interviews, that he did not sign the contract, because he did not think Martin could conduct an unbiased investigation.

Martin was fired by the City of Warner Robins last year, after allegations of a break-in at the former mayor's office. A grand jury cleared him of any criminal wrong doing.

On that subject, Elliott wrote, "Another issue that has been raised is the eligibility of Stan Martin to perform services on behalf of the City." He concluded that there is not a conflict with Martin's services to the city and his previous employment, based on city charter.

The contract was briefly mentioned at the Warner Robins city council meeting Monday night, but no action was taken.



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