The city of Doraville has unanimously passed an ordinance to hold a special election on March 6, during the presidential primary, to fill a council seat left vacant by current Mayor Donna Pittman.
In November, Doraville City Councilman Bob Roche (District 2) resigned for the remainder of his term, but is running for another term beginning in 2012. Due to a recent resolution giving the option of appointment of council members to only one seat, the city was forced to schedule a special election to fill the seat left open by Pittman.
Luke Howe, Pittman’s assistant, said the city has forwarded the ordinance declaring the special election to DeKalb County and is waiting to hear what the final cost of the election will be. Howe said it could range anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000 but thought it would be closer to $5,000.
However, Roche said he doubted it would be a significant cost to hold the election in March.
“Even so, $6,000 or $7,000 is a small price to pay to make sure that everybody in Doraville is evenly represented,” Roche said.
Roche resigned citing allegations that both Pittman and the city council tried to cover up the mismanagement of funds by city employees and refused to produce financial statements for fiscal year 2010-11 showing budget and actual spending.
“The motive appears to be protecting city employees who may have overspent budgets or diverted funds to unapproved uses,” Roche said.
However, Howe said Roche has had access to all the reports and information that currently exist and The Champion was provided with both a financial audit and a full financial report through June 2010. Howe said staff members were in the process of completing the rest of the reports.
“We recently got a new finance director and there has been a lot of catching up to do,” Howe said.
Roche recently ran as an incumbent for District 2 against candidates Chris Avers and Trudy Jones Dean on Nov. 8 and faces a runoff against Dean on Dec. 6.
“This has no effect on my candidacy for the Doraville City Council term beginning Jan. 1, 2012, except I will not be running as an incumbent,” Roche said in his resignation letter.
To appoint a seat the council needs a majority of four votes, and Roche said he didn’t think that would have happened, which would have left Pittman’s former seat vacant for the next two years.
“The whole point was to get a full council instead of having two more years with just five people,” Roche said.