City Council Votes to Call for Resignation of Jerry deBin, City Administrator

Published on 11 June 2024 at 09:11

Washington Georgia mayor, Bruce Bailey calls for a vote on a motion calling for the resignation of city administrator, Jerry deBin.

Monday night, following a fifty-minute closed-door executive session, Washington’s City Council approved a motion requesting the immediate resignation of City Administrator Jerry deBin.

“We ask immediately for the resignation of the City Administrator in lieu of termination, if — uh, due to personnel matters. The condition would be on his response, in lieu of not wanting to resign, uh — he would be terminated immediately,” Washington Mayor Bruce Bailey announced upon reconvening the meeting after the closed-door session and calling for a motion to approve. 

The vote was 5-1 in favor, with Councilman Andy Anderson casting a dissenting vote via telephone. Administrator deBin was not present at the Council meeting.

Prior to the start of the regular council meeting, Councilman Nathaniel Cullars, Sr. distributed copies of a February 12, 2024 letter addressed to deBin, identified by the author as “a written Reprimand to address your unsatisfactory job performance for failure to perform the functions and duties of your position appropriately and as outlined (in) our city’s Charter.”

The letter lists a number of alleged violations of the municipal charter and of state laws, among which:

— Failure to submit adequate fiscal reports;

— Failure to get approval from mayor and council to fund events;

— Repeated violations of open records law, by not answering open records requests within required time limits; violations of open meetings laws by not posting agendas with adequate lead time;

— Improper execution of formal contracts between the city and outside entities.

Cullars concluded the letter, “Failure to address these concerns and demonstrate significant performance improvements, by the next city council meeting, we will consider further disciplinary action, up to and including not renewing your contract, thus ending your tenure with the City of Washington.

As the meeting adjourned, Mayor Bailey was asked if any of the letter’s allegations played a role in the decision; citing personnel privacy, he would only say that some of them were discussed and that other personnel issues contributed to the decision.

 Worthy of noting is the fact that city clerk, Debbie Bazemore, tendered her resignation effective June 28, 2024, via email to deBin, mayor Bailey and all members of city council on the evening of Sunday June 9, 2024 stating the reason, in part, being the utility deposits and the impression the citizens have of she and others who work at city hall, as a result. Bazemore wrote "When folks paid the penalties, that should have been it, a one time thing and done. In asking them to earn their refund, City Hall is continuing to hold it against them." She also mentioned that it had been her understanding the deposits were held in a "separate account" and that the budget would not be impacted. It is still unclear if Bazemore's assumption regarding where the utility deposits are held, is the case or if her resignation had anything to do with the council vote to ask for deBin's resignation.

Also of note is that Michelle Chaffee, editor of the Washington Wilkes Informer, received an email from Washington mayor, Bruce Bailey on Monday afternoon saying he didn't think it was right that she was told by Bazemore and deBin that she had been told she had an outstanding balance of $77 for records she never received and that she needed to pay nearly $300 for the utility deposit records she has been requesting for the past six months because the city was in process of compiling the records anyway. He further apologized to Chaffee for the delay in receiving the records she requested and wrote "I am trying to correct some things at city hall."


The Informer contacted Mr. deBin for a response; he said he was aware of the council’s decision but had nothing to add.

A video recording of the complete June Council meeting is available on the Washington-Wilkes Informer YouTube Channel.


Updates to this story will be provided as they are obtained.


Reported by Richard Crabbe

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