IVEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – After two hours of testimony, dozens of allegations and a month long investigation, Ivey Mayor Ann Evans will remain in office.
Ivey's four council members had a split vote following Thursday's investigative hearing. The probe comes after the city received several citizens' complaints back in August. From there, the council voted to launch an open investigation into Evans' actions. Evans has been accused of misusing city funds, having improper hiring procedures and holding meetings without proper notification.
Sixteen different allegations were on the table for consideration Thursday night; including whether Evans was knowingly involved in Ivey's former water superintendent's Kenneth Helms' "inappropriate" purchases. She was also asked whether city employees purchased alcoholic beverages for her on city time.
At one point, council member Judy Veal read a statement from Helms during his employment with the city that said "I would like to cash in 50 hours of vacation time to pay my car insurance." The statement was signed and approved by Evans. Helms is currently incarcerated and was unable to attend the hearing in his defense.
The investigation revealed that Evans signed off on at least $1,800 of checks allowing employees to receive payments in sick leave or vacation time.
Evans testified in her defense saying that "did not okay any cash advances."
Another allegation involved the mayor "asking city employees to purchase alcoholic beverages on city time."
When asked if Evans had the city workers stop by the liquor store, she stated, "if they are going that way I gave them cash."
When it came down to voting, Ivey council members Judy Veal and Bill Shepperd voted to have the mayor removed and council members Regina Brantley and Bobby Brooks voted to allow Evans to keep her seat. While the vote was in Evans favor, some people in Ivey openly opposed the decision.
"I'm disappointed," said Ivey citizen James Moore, "I think the citizens of Ivey have been lied to,
stole from and mistreated in a lot ways."
Evans did announce earlier this month that she will run again in November. She's has been in office for 8 years, is running against newcomer Daniel Pope.
According to the city charter, at least three council members' votes were required to remove the mayor.