Mayor Eddie DeLoach to ask for censure of 6th District Alderman Tony Thomas
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach held a news conference at 11 a.m Tuesday to issue statements regarding the conduct of 6th District Alderman Tony Thomas over the weekend.
DeLoach said he has called a special city council meeting on Wednesday to issue a censure for the embattled alderman.
This is all in regards to a story WTOC investigated over the weekend, in which Thomas used sexist, vulgar language toward one of our reporters. The conversation went as follows:
WTOC's Georgiaree Godfrey: "Why would you call me a c***?"
Alderman Thomas: "What are you?"
Godfrey: "I'm a female. I've never disrespected you."
"His language and behavior are unacceptable for any member of the public, especially someone holding elected office," said Mayor DeLoach.
When asked about Thomas' comments over the weekend, DeLoach responded, "When I spoke with the alderman last night he admits to making the comment and stands by them. He also claimed that he would make the same comment again if given the chance. What I would ask Alderman Thomas is how would he react if someone spoke to his mother or his sister in that fashion?"
We asked Mayor DeLoach, "A lot of people don't understand that you just can't kick someone out of office. Can you explain that this is the formal process?"
"This is what I can do. I mean, this is as far as I can get. That's the responsibility of the electorate to do that. It can be my job...it can't be the governor's job unless it has something to do with appropriations, and this has nothing to do with that. So, it's a question of the citizens that live there," said Mayor DeLoach.
The mayor is saying the only way Thomas can be removed from office is if the people in his district demand a recall. In the meantime, the big question is - will council members vote to censure him?
A censure would not remove Thomas from office, but it would be a group condemnation or disapproval by city council of his actions. A censure is issued when an individual's actions run against the group's acceptable standards for behavior. Every single alderman and alderwoman will have to vote in Wednesday's special council meeting at 5 p.m. for it to pass.
We asked the mayor if what kind of support he believes Thomas will get.
WTOC: "Do you know if city council will support this decision to censure?"
Mayor DeLoach: "I feel like they will. I feel comfortable with what we are trying to do here."
If council approves the notion, it's only a formal statement of disapproval. It doesn't compromise his seat, but his current living situation could.
WTOC: "Do you know where he is living because his house is in foreclosure?"
Mayor DeLoach: "No. I'm not going to get into any of that."
WTOC: "It's important because he should be living in the district in which he represents, is that correct?'
Mayor DeLoach: "Yes, sure."
We've attempted to confirm a new address through the city clerk, board of elections, and voter registration office, but they all still list Thomas' address to the house that is scheduled to be auctioned off on June 6. So now, the question of whether or not Thomas is financially suitable to be in office comes into play.
WTOC: "Do you think this alderman is financially fit to be making financial decisions for the city?"
Mayor DeLoach: "Yes."
(Below is the statement DeLoach read at the news conference:)
While it appears things are in transition at his house, things appeared to be business as usual at his district office and his antique stores - at least from what we could see - but there are still so many unanswered questions, including whether he council will vote to censure and whether that will even matter.
WTOC: "Do you think this censure is going to do any good?"
Mayor DeLoach: "It's going to do me good. You can only do so much but whatever you can do, and this is what we can do and we want to apologize to that reporter."
Stay with WTOC as this story develops throughout the day.
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