Henderson says he’ll lead recall effort if Newton’s president removes sign

COVINGTON, Ga. –A county commissioner has threatened to lead a recall effort against Speaker Marcello Banes if Banes orders the removal of a sign that names the former Cousins ​​High School music room for local arts leader TK Adams .

But Banes said he was “disgusted” that District 4 Commissioner JCHenderson was using Adams’ legacy for political purposes as Henderson seeks re-election to a seventh term this year.

Banes asked Henderson to remove the sign on February 15 because he believed the Board of Commissioners had to legally approve the naming of any county-owned building.

Henderson warned Banes in a video the commissioner posted on his Facebook page that Banes’ job could be in jeopardy if the president orders his removal.

“If you remove this name from this building, I will personally do an encore on you,” Henderson said in a video message to Banes.

“I have already got the support of some of the other commissioners to do an encore on you,” he said. “We don’t need someone working against us.”

Henderson said former county attorney Megan Martin told him he could use county SPLOST funds designated for his district for projects in his district and he decided to erect a sign naming the building for Adams, the longtime community group and director of the school group died on January 25. .

Henderson said Banes told him after the Feb. 15 board of commissioners meeting that he had done “something wrong” by naming the tape room with Adams’ name without receiving board approval.

However, Henderson said he did not recall council approval being required before Wolverine Field or Wolverine Gym were named at the former school complex the county bought in 2017 on Geiger Street, just north from I-20.

“Let’s get out of the plantation mentality,” Henderson said in his message to Banes, who is black.

“I know you run the plantation, but we’re not on a plantation – that’s in the past,” Henderson said. “Let’s move forward into the future.”

He said he told Banes that the designation was part of the honor of those who taught and worked at the former RL Cousins ​​High School and Cousins ​​Middle School. RL Cousins ​​was the public high school to which Black Newton County students were assigned prior to the integration of all county schools in 1970.

The Newton County Historical Committee has filled the building with exhibits featuring prominent black counts of Newton, past and present, and plans to operate it as an arts center.

“I said, ‘It’s not about Mr. Adams, it’s about the people who came before him,'” Henderson said. days a year.”

Banes said in a Facebook post that he thanked those who called and texted him in support of his position on the issue.

“I have spoken with Ms. Louise Adams (Monday) and out of respect for her wishes and the legacy of TK Adams, I will not be providing a video response to this insanity,” Banes wrote.

“Mr. TK Adams has left his mark on this entire community. He has blessed so many children and adults with the gift of music. He is a legend who has received the Chairman Award and so many other accolades .

Banes also referenced the video in which Henderson criticizes “Republicans running on a Democratic ticket” — a regular political slur Henderson makes to boardroom Democrats who disagree with him on a certain issue. number of questions.

“I am disappointed and disgusted that there is now an attempt to use (Adams’) legacy as a footnote in a campaign speech,” Banes said.

“We have to do better. I pray that we do better. Please continue to pray for the Adams family.

State law requires that at least 100 registered Newton County voters sponsor a request for a recall petition and 30% of the county’s registered voters — about 24,000 — sign the petition.

Sponsors must list one of the following grounds for initiating a recall election: an act of embezzlement or misconduct in the performance of their duties; violation of the oath of office; failure to perform duties prescribed by law; or willfully misuse, convert, or misappropriate, without authority, public property or public funds entrusted to or associated with the elective office to which the official was elected or appointed, in accordance with state law.

However, the county charter allows individual members of the council to file written charges that the chairman has “performed no duty prescribed by law”. A majority of the council can then vote to hold office or ask a Superior Court judge to order the president to do so.

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