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College Park City Council fires city manager after just 10 months on the job

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — A Tuesday night city council meeting in College Park ended on a tense note as council members exited an executive session and fired the city manager.

Video posted to the City of College Park Government Facebook page shows the moments where Mayor Bianca Motley Broom tried to end the council session, but was overridden by two council members.

Then, the vote to terminate now-former City Manager Stanley Hawthorne occurred. The process took less than 10 minutes.

Hawthorne began working for the city on April 3, 2023, according to web archives of the city’s Office of the City Manager page.

At 11:31 p.m., the mayor moved to end the session, but Councilman Joe Carn said there was still pending business out of the executive session, even after the mayor said the vote to adjourn the meeting was unanimous.

“Excuse me, we are not adjourned, we did not get a consensus out of executive session, I don’t believe,” Carn said.

Broom, citing privilege as council chair, said there was no action pending and tried to adjourn.

“No, we are not,” Carn continued. “We’re not done, we have to finish executive session and we have to finish, whether you want to finish or not.”

He said there was an action item coming out of the session and a decision was needed immediately.

Councilwoman Jamelle McKenzie made a motion to override the adjournment, which the council voted to do.

Then, Carn said the pending business was the termination of Hawthorne as city manager.

“There is a motion to terminate City Manager Hawthorne for cause,” Broom said.

She then asked if there was discussion, and Hawthorne participated, asking why he was fired.

“I’d just like to know termination for cause. Can that be explained to me?” Hawthorne asked.

“You’ll get it from the city attorney,” Carn answered. “I guess that’s going to take effect as of tomorrow morning. The city attorney, I guess, will follow up with you about the best way to go about this. We had a motion and we voted, right?”

The mayor asked if there was additional discussion, and Hawthorne said there were contract stipulations to consider, and Carn cut him off saying to go to the city attorney.

Broom and Carn entered into a heated back and forth about if Hawthorne wanted to ask, or if he even could ask, due to the item coming out of executive session. City Attorney Winston Denmark said the council could vote yes or no, but there was no law that blocked it.

Hawthorne was given an option to ask a question and Councilman Roderick Gay motioned to end discussion. Then the mayor asked if there would be a vote to limit Hawthorne’s ability to comment. He was prevented from further discussion and McKenzie said they had not technically voted on termination yet.

Then, council voted to terminate Hawthorne “for cause.” The vote was split between approval of termination and two abstentions. The whole process took roughly seven minutes, by Broom’s count on the record.

In the hours since Hawthorne’s termination, which occurred at 11:38 p.m. Tuesday night, Public Works Director Dr. Emmanuel Adediran was installed as the interim city manager.

When asked, the city attorney declined to comment on the situation at all, including whether or not to provide a statement confirming that Hawthorne was, in fact, fired. We are still working to learn more details on what prompted Hawthorne’s termination.

Wednesday morning, the College Park Office of the City Manager page was updated, showing Public Works Director Dr. Emmanuel Adediran was installed as the interim city manager.

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