City Accused of Forcing Out City Manager with Financial Audit

City Accused of Forcing Out City Manager with Financial Audit

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, the Columbus city leaders gathered for a City Council Meeting where they came under fire for the recent financial audit issued for City Manager, Isaiah Hugley. Multiple residents stepped up to raise their concern about the financial audit and comment on their treatment of Hugley from their perspective.

Hugley has held his title of City Manager for over a decade. During that time, he has gained the favor of numerous Columbus residents. Unfortunately, he has also gained a great deal of distaste from residents as well. The announcement of the audit came at a previous City Council meeting after several local businesses came forward stating that their business license renewal payments were not processed on time. As a result, Hugley and his departments came under fire.

Reverend John Flakes III spoke at the meeting in defense of Hugley. Flakes expressed his concern for the city of Columbus as the spread of hate continues to overtake the community. Flakes argues that, “what it really looks like, from the outside, is an attempt by the City Council to construct your own false narrative targeting the City Manager to discredit him, his leadership, his staff and his good name.” Flakes compares the tactics to those used to vote out former Police Chief, Freddie Blackmon. Flakes argued that this audit is a form of retaliation against Hugley because of his support of Blackmon when the council members were urging his dismissal.

Following Flakes, a discontented resident who vocalized his disdain with Hugley. The resident referred to previous City Council meetings where he presented allegations, later proven inaccurate, against Hugley and his role in the finance department. The resident expressed his qualms with Hugley that have developed over time.

As this portion of the meeting concluded, Mayor Skip Henderson voiced his concern with the divisive mentality and how it affects the community, “There needs to be a commitment on the part of the communities as well as the elected officials. This has got to stop…Until we determine that we’ll start treating each other with respect, even those we disagree with, this city will never be what it wants to be.” As the audit continues, more information will be provided to the community as updates arise.

  • By Janell Williams

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