During a 37-minute harangue at a called meeting last Thursday, Watkinsville Mayor Bob Smith insulted
City Manager Sharyn Dickerson and misrepresented aspects of his struggles to take office in early January.
Smith rehashed how the city declined to honor his Jan. 1 oath of office. Smith held up a legal ad that ran several times in The Oconee Enterprise stating that the new mayor could take office on Jan. 1, 2020.
During his mayor’s report, Smith repeatedly made gestures mocking Dickerson’s handshake. At the end of the speech, Smith was met with applause from a majority of citizens who attended the meeting.
Councilman Brian Brodrick called the meeting a “set-up job” and said citizens only heard “one side of a complicated situation.”
Dickerson said many of Smith’s statements were factually untrue.
“Since February, the manager received close to 40 emails that attack, challenge or are borderline insulting from the mayor,” said Councilman Brian Brodrick.
In a Feb. 13 email that was obtained via an Open Records Act request, Dickerson asked Smith to communicate with him only through email due to his tone and behavior at previous meetings.
“You have raised your voice [and] been argumentative with me about decisions the council has made that you do not agree with,” she wrote. “Your conduct has been both disparaging and abusive and has created a hostile work environment for me which needs to immediately stop.”
Smith denies that his conduct has been hostile.
For more on this story, see the March 19 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website.