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Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker exercises first veto
by Nicole Dow
July 30, 2013 12:40 PM | 3540 views | 14 14 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker vetoed city council’s unanimous decision last week to waive attorney-client privilege so city attorneys could openly speak to investigators looking into the mayor’s actions and conduct, without fear of breeching confidentiality.

“The resolution [to waive attorney-client privilege], as it is currently written and as I’ve been advised, it is too broad,” Bodker said. “It is not time specific. You won’t actually know what’s been waived until a third party does something, being the investigator.

“Therefore [council] didn’t or couldn’t know exactly what they were waiving at the time they were waiving it, and I think that’s a dangerous precedent.”

Today's veto is the first time Bodker used the veto power granted to him by the city charter.

“It didn’t come without a lot of consideration,” he said, adding he never wanted to use veto power in his role as mayor.

“As one might say [it may be] politically wise to stay out of this, I can’t in good conscious look the other way when I know I wouldn’t be doing the right thing,” Bodker said.

The mayor had recused himself from the discussion and vote on waiving the attorney-client privilege last week as he is the subject of the investigation. However, he sought legal advice regarding the decision and then notified the council of his intent to veto.

Council members will have the opportunity to reconsider the veto at their next meeting Monday and decide whether to let it stand or vote to override it, Bodker said. He also added an item to the meeting agenda for council to consider seeking independent counsel for advice on the ramifications of waiving attorney-client privilege in certain instances.

Bodker said he does not intend to slow down the investigation and hopes it concludes as quickly as possible. He also affirmed he has nothing to hide and is not concerned with the investigator’s results.

Councilman Randall Johnson, who brought the waiver up before council, said he is surprised and confused at Bodker's decision to veto the waiver.

"It will slow [the investigation] down, which, in my opinion, is what they mayor wants," Johnson said. "We passed this resolution to increase transparency and for some reason the mayor doesn't want that specific item to be transparent."

Attorneys from the city and the investigation team already vetted the waiver and did not see a problem with it, he said. If there is an issue about what will be disclosed in the public report, Johnson said any discussions of ongoing legal matters would be redacted from the report. Cases that have been resolved are already public information.

"There's not going to be any information that's going to be disclosed that's not already public," he said.

Since this is the first time the mayor has exercised veto power, Johnson said the council has to look into what the protocol is for taking the next steps.

"The council can override the veto with five votes and this resolution was passed with six votes," he said.

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