New council members in Fort Oglethorpe reset the town leadership Monday night. Almost 10 months after Mayor Lynn Long is said to have initiated a controversial series of moves of his own.
In March, City Manager Ron Goulart stepped down. "I was approached by the mayor and one of the council members asking me to resign," he explained at the time.
Mayor Long denied the allegation saying, "That was his decision, you know, he made that decision."
But, Mayor Long immediately installed former Councilman Harold Silcox as City Manager, who then gave Fort Oglethorpe Police Chief David Eubanks and Public Works Director Jeff Long their walking papers.
'Politically motivated' cried an upset crowd at that meeting and several afterwards. In November, they elected new council members who promised to right some wrongs.
Monday night was their first opportunity to make changes and after a marathon Executive Session, with little fanfare, make changes they did. "I make a motion to hire and appoint Ron Goulart as City Manager for the City of Fort Oglethorpe," said new 5th Ward Councilperson Paula Stinnett.
The vote was unanimous, and Goulart returned to the City Manager's chair on the dais to a standing ovation. "He's back with welcome arms of this council and this mayor," said Long. "He will do an outstanding job."
After the meeting was recessed, Goulart talked with the media. "The most troubling thing about this ordeal," he said, "was to see these dedicated long-term employees that were terminated and disciplined, in my opinion, for clearly political reasons."
It is a slight the now again-City Manager plans to reverse at 8:00a.m. Tuesday. "I fully intend to have Chief Eubanks report to duty tomorrow morning," said Goulart, "along with Director Jeff Long."