The Grovetown City Council meeting turned into nothing short of a showdown, much to the citizens’ surprise.
A lot of people showed up to support Gary Jones, but did not say one word. That’s because once the outside support ended something they did not expect happened inside.
The meeting concluded with some very angry people.
“I don’t believe anything from this city, I’m sorry,” said one citizen.
Frustrated and disappointed. Grovetown citizens and others who planned to attend the 6 o’clock City Council meeting instead got a meeting that ended in less than five minutes.
“I was very shocked. We all were here at 6:00. It said on Facebook that the rally was starting at 6, so that’s what time we got here,” said Lindsey Collett, of Harlem and a Gary Jones supporter.
That rally was in support of Gary Jones, former Grovetown Director of Public Safety terminated by the city nearly two weeks ago. When citizens walked through the doors and took a seat, the mayor called for questions and comments then ended the meeting all in about two minutes. Mayor George James said the meetings always begin after the 5:30 p.m. work session.
Mayor James added, “Sometimes it hits it on 6, sometimes it’s ten to 6, sometimes it’s 6:20. It just depends on when we finished our work session.”
News Channel 6 accessed the former chief’s personnel records. Those records indicate Jones was not in compliance with Grovetown’s Merit System Policies and did not consult any administrators before demoting Captain Donnie Jones to Private.
“In the city’s eyes, on this particular employee that I demoted, I didn’t follow a 15 day city rule,” said Jones, claiming he conducted himself based on past city practices.
Jones added that his office conducted an internal investigation on Donnie Jones and found several issues.
“One of those complaints involved him giving direction to a Sergeant to break into my office and steal a file. Another was he made a racial remark to a female officer of ours going to the police academy,” Jones told News Channel 6.
Jones alleges nepotism is at work in the City of Grovetown and said that is why he was fired for demoting Donnie Jones.
“He has step children that are related to the mayor and the human resources manager who are brother and sister,” Jones alleges.
Collett said, “He was always looking out for everyone. He put up 35 miles per hour for the kids and he’s always concerned.”
Mayor James directed all questions about Jones to City Attorney Brendan Fleming. Fleming said because Jones is alleging a lawsuit and suing the city, he could not comment on much.
When asked whether Jones did a good job as chief, Fleming said, “There were some things that he did that were good and there were some things that he did that were not done properly.”
Jones’ file also states that Mayor James condemned Jones for posting what he called negative comments about Fort Gordon regarding a traffic delay on the Department of Public Safety’s Facebook page. But Jones said he did go to Facebook in order to quickly tell drivers about the delay and to take alternate routes.
As for what’s next for Jones, he would only say that he has some ‘irons in the fire’ to which he said there are some opportunities in Georgia.