Following allegations that Johns Creek City Manager John Kachmar poked a resident in the chest during a verbal dispute outside city hall last week, Mayor Mike Bodker and Councilwoman Kelly Stewart have called for Kachmar's resignation.
“On Monday night, Oct. 7, Johns Creek residents witnessed an inexcusable act of verbal assault by the city manager, John Kachmar,” Stewart said Friday in a statement to the press. “These victims were not only verbally assaulted but feared for their physical safety from his threats — all because Mr. Kachmar disagreed with their statements. This type of behavior cannot be excused, tolerated or condoned.”
On Tuesday, Bodker issued a statement giving Kachmar until the end of the week to resign. Bodker said if Kachmar does not resign, he will recommend to city council that he be removed at next Monday’s council meeting.
“Based on the verbal abuse alone, it is impossible for me to support keeping Mr. Kachmar on as our city manager,” he said. “I have not yet heard from any other council member other than Councilwoman Stewart, and I hope they will recognize that to ignore this behavior is in effect condoning it. I ask that they join the call for Mr. Kachmar’s resignation and demonstrate that protecting our citizens comes first and that this type of verbal assault will not be tolerated in the city of Johns Creek.”
Councilman Randall Johnson, in a statement Tuesday on behalf of himself and council members Karen Richardson, Brad Raffensperger and Ivan Figueroa, said, "The mayor’s unilateral assault on Mr. Kachmar puts the city at risk of civil action."
In the same statement, Richardson said it is clear to her, Johnson, Raffensperger and Figueroa that there is "a concerted effort ... to deflect public attention away from the investigation into the mayor’s alleged corrupt behavior."
She added, “We’re not joining any call for the resignation of our city manager over an alleged verbal altercation. The mayor is under investigation for serious offences in which he flagrantly disregards our charter in order to forward his political agenda. He ought to be the one resigning.”
After the Oct. 7 council meeting, Kachmar said he had approached a group that included residents Christy Johnson and Gerald Bush. Earlier during the meeting, Johnson had made a public comment about her repeated attempts to get information on a proposed public works project in her neighborhood and said no one from the city would provide her with the information she requested.
“I listened to Christy Johnson basically say the city staff has never has never gotten back to [her] … and I just said, ‘That’s not true. You’re lying,’” Kachmar said.
Bush later told police, according to a report filed through the Johns Creek Police Department, that he thought Kachmar was acting inappropriately to accuse the woman of lying. Bush said he made an explicit statement directed towards the city manager.
Kachmar also admitted to calling Bush an explicit name in response but said the dispute between them was strictly a verbal one, though he alleged Bush threatened to hit him.
After returning home, Bush called police to report the city manager had threatened him. He alleged Kachmar shouted at him using explicit language and poked him in the chest.
According to police, Bush filed the report for documentation purposes and stated at the time that he did not wish to pursue charges against Kachmar but would follow up with the complaint procedure through city hall.
City communications manager Rosemary Taylor said she witnessed part of the incident between the group and Kachmar.
“It was strictly a verbal altercation,” she said. “Nothing physical happened at all.”
She added, “Unfortunately it happened with a group of the mayor’s supporters.”
Kachmar said he was not surprised the mayor and his supporters, of which he includes Stewart, want him to leave office.
“This is strictly a Mike Bodker event,” he said. “This is his campaign supporters. What this is called is retribution for testifying against him.”
Kachmar said he does not intend on resigning.