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Brunswick Commissioner James Brooks suspended by governor Nathan Deal

8:28 AM, May 1, 2013   |    comments
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BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has suspended Brunswick Commissioner James Brooks, according to First Coast News' media partner, The Florida Times-Union.

Brooks is facing racketeering charges along with violation of oath charges in a Camden County indictment. Brooks was also charged with witness tampering and obstruction of a law enforcement officer during the investigation into the murder of a 13-month-old boy last month in Glynn County. 

Brunswick's City Commission will resume Wednesday's meeting without Brooks.

"We'll conduct the business of the city with four people just as if he was on vacation," City Manager Bill Weeks said.

Brooks is also mayor pro-tem and will continue to receive his $1,200 monthly salary.

After a special commission studied the charges against Brooks and unanimously recommended his suspension, Deal suspended Brooks until the deposition of the charges against him or until the end of his term in office.

Brooks' term ends on December 31, 2013 and he is seeking re-election.

According to the TU, Brooks did not comment on his suspension but said he will sit in the audience at Wednesday's meeting and subsequent meetings.

"I'm a citizen and I have a right to," he said.

Since Brooks is off the board, it is possible to have 2-2 ties.

"That's always a possibility," Mayor Bryan Thompson said. "We'll have the option of going back and discussing the issue some more but if it remains a 2-2 tie, the motion fails. But we'll cross that little body of water when we get to it."

Unlike some city's charters that only allow the mayor to vote to break ties, in Brunswick the mayor is allowed to vote on any issue.

The TU also reports that Brooks' suspension comes at a crucial time as the city works to set its budget for the next fiscal year. Weeks said he has been busy working on a budget proposal, which he will present to the commission soon.

Despite Brooks' suspension, Thompson said the commission will continue to function effectively.

"We all work together pretty well and I think we do our best to represent our citizens," Thompson said. "We make generally well-informed votes. I don't expect a lot of conflicts or issues during this period. The process will take its course."

The Florida Times-Union

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