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PTC show: Haddix, Dienhart spat

Two diverging opinions over how the Peachtree City Council handled the resolution of a lawsuit over the pay cut issued to Mayor Don Haddix resulted in a fiery confrontation at Thursday’s City Council meeting.

On one side was Haddix, who re-ignited the issue with a formal statement on the matter [See Page A4], claiming that his fellow council members spent more than $20,000 on the matter including the restitution of his back pay at $2,025.

On the other side was Councilman George Dienhart, who contends that the council did the right thing in settling the lawsuit even though he felt confident the city would prevail.

At one point, Haddix threatened to have Dienhart removed from the meeting. At another, Dienhart attempted to have Haddix overruled by the rest of council.

The confrontation was so distasteful that one resident in the audience, incredulous at the display, used slang in an agricultural reference to bovine fecal matter.

The angry dispute broiled after Haddix had seemingly ended his statement. Dienhart spoke up, saying it was ironic that the mayor minutes before had asked everyone to refrain from campaigning at City Council meetings.

A brief shouting match commenced between the two at that point, with Haddix insisting he had not yet yielded the floor to Dienhart and furthermore insisted that his statement was not a “campaign speech.”

As Dienhart began to speak again, Haddix banged the gavel and declared Dienhart out of order. Dienhart responded by making a motion to “replace the chair” which was seconded by Councilman Eric Imker and later amended to “vote on a ruling of the chair.”

Haddix countered that the motion was out of order because Dienhart did not have the floor at the time he made the motion. The mayor then proceeded to say he had warned council members about decorum issues before, and after Dienhart tried to get a word in, Haddix banged the gavel again and threatened: “One more time and you’re out the door.”

City Attorney Ted Meeker confirmed that council can appeal the ruling of the chair, and as Imker attempted to speak, he was silenced by Haddix, who chided him to “quit interrupting.” Haddix then cited a city ordinance that he claimed allows him “last say on any issue.”

He then recognized Dienhart formally, and Dienhart said bringing the matter up causes “continued embarrassment to the city.”

The two parried back and forth for a short while in a civil tone as Dienhart noted that he felt defending the lawsuit over the pay cut council issued to Haddix last May would have been too expensive though he felt the city would prevail.

Haddix then stated that he felt he had a right to defend himself, but as far as he was concerned about handling the matter in council meetings, “I am done with it, if everybody else was done with it.”

Imker then said he thought it was unfortunate that council “ended up in another argument” over the matter when he thought it was better to let the dispute go, though he too contemplated bringing up the cost during the meeting.

Council member Kim Learnard, apologizing to Haddix as she broke out in brief laughter, said she felt council was “ready to be done” on the matter as well.

And in a matter of seconds the conversation was over and Haddix turned to the next item on the agenda.



Mike King's picture

Would Ms Leonard and Ms Fleisch please bring their rolling pins to the next meeting? Perhaps, then these two juveniles can be brought under control.

rolling stone's picture

Didn't that "bring a rolling pin" suggestion create some unease previously?

Mike King's picture

Perhaps, but a few lumps might just go a long way.

Methodologies that work are too soon forgotten.

PTC Observer's picture

Clearly bad grade school behavioral training.

I wonder when we will stop talking about Mr. Haddix? It simply feeds his illusions that we actually care about what he thinks or says.

rolling stone's picture

"I went to a Peachtree City council meeting and a realty TV show broke out."

I watched this on the computer a few days ago which led to an earlier post stating my opinion on the lack of leadership throughout council. The mayor acts like a manchild. The gavel is his football and if things don't go his way he bangs the gavel or threatens to take his ball away from the other players.

Mr. Dienhart, Mr. Imker, and Ms. Learnard were all baited into a silly arguement from a silly man.

The whole episode was another black eye to our city government, yet again.

We have too much to do: Balanced Budget, Sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits, Recreational funding, business recruitment, maintenance, and growth.

We have witnessed 3 years of poor leadership. We have 10 months until the next election and I would like to see one of the councilmen step up and demonstrate real leadership, show a little decorum, and actually get things accomplished instead of watching another one of these meetings become a childish fight.

NUK_1's picture

I don't want a bunch of drones that I agree with 100% on every issue, but is it too much to expect something resembling CLASS, maturity, dignity, etc. etc.? I don't think so. That's not an unreasonable expectation.

While I lay a lot of the blame rightfully at Haddix's feet because he's the Mayor and has set a horrid example of non-leadership for quite a while and shocking immaturity, he ain't the only problem. The rest get all caught up in the crap and no one seems to want to take the high road. GAG.

Dienhart is a buffoon and a clown. What a pity he was not vetted when he ran. This is what happens when someone comes out of nowhere and thinks he is the savior of the city. What an embarrassment.

americanpatriots's picture

I understand you are Lane Watts, the disgraced and highly unpopular Fayette County Republican Party Chairman, who was referred to the District Attorney for allegedly committing two felony acts in filings with the Superior Court of Fayette County and the Fayette County Elections Board.

If my information is right, you are the last person in the county that should be calling anyone names.

If we had properly vetted you; you would not have became Chairman of the Fayette County Republican Party. Unfortunately, we did not and we have been stuck with your embarrassing stupid behavior and total lack of leadership for the last two years.

Your tract record in the Fayette County GOP and the GA GOP 3rd District speaks for itself and is certainly nothing to be proud of!

These are the exact ?citizens? posting here who continue to jump on this subject no matter what headline they are posting to. They are never going to leave it alone and not one is man or woman enough to comment had they been in the same position would have sought all resources available to them and done the same thing. Never would one of these ?citizens? pulled the money from their personal account. Just hateful, mean want to be bullies; a small percent of the citizens who care about this city. I am so thankful you do listen and speak frankly when presented in an adult professional conversation. Thank you for your service Mr. Mayor.

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