What Mystery? There was no “Mystery” at Columbus Council. Just Follow the Money

What Mystery? There was no “Mystery” at Columbus Council. Just Follow the Money

By Wane A. Hailes

Consider this timeline:

1.     Tuesday, May 28, 2024 - City council voted and appointed Byron Hickey to succeed “Pops” Barnes as councilor for District 1

2.     Monday, June 4, 2024 - Byron Hickey received the oath of office from Probate Judge Marc’ D’Antonio because the judge was scheduled to be out of town and unavailable to attend the Tuesday council meeting

3.     Tuesday, June 5, 2024 - Byron Hickey was scheduled to be sworn into office by Superior Court Judge Art Smith. According to Hickey, he was told at the last minute he wouldn’t be sworn in. He didn’t know why and neither did he know when to expect the swearing-in to be rescheduled.

First, please understand I’m not boo boo the fool. I knew “somethin’ in the milk wasn’t right.” Tuesday evening, when Hickey was appointed, it was obvious he knew he had the votes, so the question to ask is, why wasn’t he there? There was precedence. When Tyson Begley succeeded John House, the Probate judge and Superior Court Judge were in attendance, and Begley was immediately sworn in and seated.

That was question number one. Here is question number two: Why would you schedule a swearing-in ceremony and cancel it at the last minute?

Hickey said he was told he wouldn’t be sworn in and didn’t know why. When I asked Mayor Henderson why the swearing was delayed, he said he wasn’t made aware of the decision until right before the council meeting. However, he did say that the request to delay the ceremony was Byron Hickey’s decision.

If the mayor is telling the truth, and we have no reason to believe he is not, then that leads to question number three: If Byron was told he wouldn’t be sworn in at the meeting, then WHO told him so? Question number four: If the mayor is right and it was his decision, then why did he ask to postpone the ceremony?

Here are my thoughts: You can’t play dirty politics with dirty politicians and expect to come out clean. When things in government seem shady and you want to find out why, follow the money.

For months, the sanctimonious six (councilors Crabb, Tucker, Cogle, Davis, Garrett and Thomas) have continuously stressed transparency. In this instance, however, they have been everything but. Everyone sitting in council chambers when the vote was taken, including Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Jose Feliciano, could see there had obviously been a meeting before the meeting.

But here’s the problem: They were so intent on appointing someone they could count on to vote with them whenever they needed that they forgot one important fact: A retired city employee currently receiving a pension from the city can’t receive an additional check from the city. In some circles, that is called “double dipping.”

It appears none of the councilors did their homework prior to the nomination, vote, appointment and swearing-in. Least of all the newest member of the “sanctimonious seven,” Hickey. When he realized he could lose his current pension, I now believe he, indeed, was the one to call the swearing-in off.

But alas, in their rush to get him seated this calamitous clan of clowns now realize they have made a fatal mistake. State law says the probate courts shall have the power to carry out the following duties as assigned by specific laws: (3) Administer oaths to public officers.  Our city charter states: Councilors take two oaths of office. 1) From the Probate Judge to serve as a commissioner. That is a state function. 2) From the Superior Court Judge to serve as a city councilor. The oaths are separate and perform separate functions. Both oaths give their own power and authority and do not depend on each other. What does that mean?  The city charter cannot supersede state law.

Because he took his oath from Marc D’Antonio on Monday, June 4, 2024, in front of Attorney Katonga Wright’s annual law camp participants, Byron Hickey is legally and officially the Columbus city councilor for District One.

But wait, there is more. Members of the sanctimonious group, now seven members strong, are running around looking like The Keystone Cops, a group of fictional incompetent policemen from the TV show I used to watch on Saturday mornings in my youth. They are trying to find a way to subvert the city charter and, ultimately, the rule of law to ensure that Hickey is allowed to receive both monies. And this is where I call BS. We cannot allow this!!

Question number five: forgive me, church folks, but WTF?

It’s time to be like the Stylistics and “Stop, Look & Listen.” It’s time to do like Marvin Gaye and ask the question, “What’s Going On?” It’s time to heed the words of James Brown and “Get Up, Get into It and Get Involved.” I’m afraid if we don’t speak up now, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and once they “Turn Back The Hands of Time” and we wake up, we are going to realize it’s “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.”

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