Varnell residents demand answers at mayor's Q & A session
Varnell Mayor Anthony Hulsey held a questions and answer session for city residents to discuss the city council's vote to disband the city's police department.
It was an emotional moment for Varnell Mayor, Anthony Hulsey as he and City Attorney, Terry Miller sat in the very spot where city council members voted to disband the police department the day before.
"Yesterday there was an injustice done and I don't know and cannot answer what the motivation behind it was because we were blindsided by it," said Hulsey. "I do not agree with the decision that was put forth and I stand by that."
There was standing room only at city hall where Hulsey held a question and answer session. Many people say they're still devastated by the three to one vote.
"I am never going to forget the three that took this vote and demolished what went on yesterday and did away with this department," said a Varnell resident.
"That was the single most outrageous thing I have seen in my career," said Varnell police chief's attorney, Marcus Morris.
The decision begs the question whether it violates the city charter or state statute.
"We really did not comply with the letter and spirit of the state open records statue, and I don't have any evidence of anybody knowingly violating the Georgia open meeting statute that's just the way it happened," said Miller.
Hulsey says he can veto the vote.
"I do intend on using that now do keep in mind they have the power to override that veto."
Because the city council members can override a veto, Hulsey encouraged more people to attend the next city council meeting and express their concerns. The meeting are usually scheduled to start at 6 p.m., but Hulsey pushed it back so that more people would be able to make it.
Several residents made it clear they will push for some city council members to resign, pending the vote to disband the police department and other allegations that some have criminal backgrounds and don't live in Varnell city limits.
Whitfield County sheriff's deputies and Cohutta police officers will help patrol the city. Hulsey explained that the city signed an inter-government agreement with Cohutta previously to increase coverage.
As the meeting wrapped up, one resident asked a question that many are hoping will be answered soon.
"When can we have the police department back on the streets?"
The next city council meeting is set for July 25 at 7 p.m. at the Varnell Gym. It is near Varnell Elementary School on Hwy Two.