Councilman complaint goes to GBI

PORTERDALE — A complaint filed by a Porterdale resident against a City Council member has been turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Nancy Naya filed a complaint with the Newton County Sheriff's Office Aug. 30 claiming that Councilman Robert Foxworth threatened her at the Aug. 26 City Council work session. Naya referred in her complaint to newspaper accounts of the incident.

Lt. Mark Mitchell with the Sheriff's Office said Friday that Sheriff Ezell Brown had made the decision to turn the investigation of the complaint over to the GBI.

According to GBI spokesman John Bankhead, "The GBI is conducting a preliminary review to determine if an investigation will be opened into this matter."

Naya has also filed a complaint against Foxworth with Porterdale Mayor Hamby, asking for Foxworth's resignation. Naya claimed that Foxworth spoke to her at the work session in "an excessive loud volume of voice and in a state of great aggression that was most unfitting for someone in his post position."

Naya asserted in her letter to Hamby that Foxworth is in violation of the city's charter by violating his oath of office and committing an act of misconduct and malfeasance.

The complaints stem from a spat at the work session in which Naya spoke out against Foxworth because he brought to light the fact that the city could not collect contributions for a local charitable organization on city customers' water bills. Naya claimed that Foxworth was trying to undermine the works of CARE, or Community Assistance Relief Effort, and was doing so out of a personal interest rather than in the best interests of the city. Foxworth lashed out at Naya in response to her comments.

The City Council had voted at its Aug. 2 meeting to enter into an agreement with the nonprofit Friends of Porterdale to distribute funds collected for CARE. The plan was to allow residents to contribute to CARE through their city water bills, with Friends of Porterdale disbursing the funds on a monthly basis.

However, two days after the meeting, Foxworth called the Georgia Municipal Association and learned that the city could not legally make the collections.

Foxworth said Friday that he feels the incident at the work session has been blown out of proportion.

"Human nature is that when you get embarrassed about something, you want to comment back," Foxworth said.

He added that Mayor Hamby had advised him after the meeting that he should have heard Naya out and thanked her for her comments.

"I should have taken Bobby's advice, after the fact," Foxworth said. "But it's hard to sit there and get complained on and get ridiculed about something. I should have sat there and took it ... I was going to make a statement at the next council meeting and explain why I did (called GMA). But I didn't want to do it (at the work session)."

Foxworth said he felt it important that the city not collect funds for CARE if it wasn't legal. To do so, he said, would have invited requests from other charitable organizations seeking the same type of assistance.