by: Mike Petchenik Updated:
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - The mayor of Johns Creek is calling for the resignation of the city manager for his behavior during an argument with a citizen outside city hall last week.
As Channel 2's Mike Petchenik first reported, Johns Creek police are investigating whether John Kachmar assaulted resident Gerald Bush as the two sparred over a road project.
Kachmar admits he used obscenities after Bush used a derogatory word toward him, but told Petchenik he never laid a hand on Bush.
Mayor Mike Bodker says the language alone is grounds for his removal.
"This vile language, this verbal abuse, this disrespecting of the very people we serve, it can't be tolerated in the city of Johns Creek or anywhere else," Bodker said. "He's got to go."
Bodker said if Kachmar doesn't turn in his resignation by the end of the week, he'll call for the city council to vote on Kachmar's removal.
A change to the city charter removed Bodker's hiring and firing power over Kachmar, and such action now requires a majority council vote.
So far, only councilwoman Kelly Stewart, an ally of the mayor, has called for Kachmar to leave his post. Stewart held a news conference Friday with a similar call.
Kachmar emailed Petchenik a statement about the Mayor’s call for him to resign: “I’m not surprised the mayor is taking this action. He is striking out at those who have participated in the investigation against him. I expect he will attack others when given the opportunity.
"This is the kind of bullying behavior he has engaged in for the last several years behind the scenes in Johns Creek. I have no intention of resigning because I’ve done nothing wrong. I am simply a whistleblower who has given testimony in the investigation of the Mayor’s corrupt behavior."
Bodker's mayoral opponent, Bev Miller, calls Bodker's request a "deflection" from an investigation into whether Bodker violated city ethics and the law.
"Somebody needs to be asking the question: Is this retaliation, a result of the investigation of Mike Bodker?" Miller asked. "I think we're in trouble and I think it's swirling like the eye of a hurricane. There's one person behind this, and to me, it's the failed leader."
In a news release sent to Channel 2 Action News Tuesday night, council member Karen Richardson said the mayor should be the one investigated.
“We’re not joining any call for the resignation of our city manager over an alleged verbal altercation,” said Richardson. “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.”