During the report of the commissioners phase of the meeting, Gilreath made allegations about improper behavior by Ray. Gilreath said Ray wanted to be involved in the building of a gas station for county vehicles and then said that Ray went to see John Richardson and intimidated him into withdrawing his business from the proceedings.
“What elected commissioner Raymond Ray did was highly improper,” Gilreath said.
Gilreath said he has sent information to officials in Atlanta and Bibb County about the incident.
Ray, who attended the meeting, did not wish to comment until after he reviewed his legal options. He described Gilreath’s claims as “unfounded” and “unwarranted.”
However, Ray on Tuesday did speak out in response to Gilreath’s accusation.
“Mr. Gilreath’s accusations are unsubstantiated, uninformed and political in nature,” he said. “I welcome an investigation — I invite an investigation — by a third party to determine my innocence, and to conduct an investigation against Mr. Gilreath for his actions.”
Although Ray won the Republican Primary in July and was unopposed in the November general election, he will not take office until Jan. 1. Because he has not yet been sworn in as a county commissioner, it is unclear if the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) would have the authority to conduct an investigation into Gilreath’s accusation that Ray attempted to intimidate Richardson, an accusation Ray adamantly denies.
Regardless of who would conduct such an investigation, Ray said he hopes one will be undertaken.
According to Ray, this is not the first time Gilreath has attempted to damage his reputation or that of Commissioner-elect Chipper Gardner, who will also take office on Jan. 1.
“You’re familiar with his Web site as a political bully pulpit. He’s attacked Chipper (Gardner) and he’s attacked me ever since we were elected in July,” Ray said. “We have records of the unfounded attacks. If you read the Web site, you will find inconsistencies within the leadership in the county as opposed to how it’s presented by Mr. Gilreath.”
Another issue discussed at Monday’s meeting was the controversial animal-restraint district on Manley Road. Although the item was slated for later in the meeting, Board of Commissioners Chairman Eddie Goss asked County Attorney Jim Fortune to address the matter early in the meeting since many people had attended the meeting to see the commissioners vote on that matter.
“We’ve reviewed the procedures that we’ve followed and unfortunately, we didn’t follow the procedures,” Fortune said about the imposition on the animal-restraint district.
This means that the commissioners’ vote to impose the district is legally null and void.
“That item is for all intents and purposes going to be taken off the agenda,” he said.
— City Editor Sheila A. Marshall contributed to this report.