Stonecrest residents call for more transparency from mayor, council

Demands come following city manager’s abrupt resignation

In a new statement provided to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Stonecrest’s now-former city manager said she’s proud of what she accomplished in her year-plus tenure.

But now more than a week after her abrupt resignation, neither Janice Allen Jackson nor Stonecrest leaders have provided much insight into the reason for the split and a community advocacy group is pushing for the city to be more transparent.

In a letter distributed a few hours before Monday night’s City Council meeting, the Stonecrest Citizens Coalition said residents were “dismayed” by news of Jackson’s sudden resignation on Sept. 19. Since her hiring last April, Jackson had helped DeKalb County’s newest and largest city navigate the fallout of a corruption scandal and transition to an in-house staffing model.

Saying questions about Jackson’s departure had thus far been “met with rote and uninformative responses,” the advocacy group called on Mayor Jazzmin Cobble and the City Council to specifically address whether she was asked or pressured to resign, and to explain why if so.

The statement stressed that the search for the next city manager should be transparent, open and involve Stonecrest residents.

It also made several more requests involving open meetings, the appointment of a charter review committee and the adoption of a local ethics ordinance.

“So far, this Mayor and City Council have not done the work necessary to earn back the trust of the citizens,” the group wrote.

The only reference to Jackson during Monday night’s five-hour City Council meeting was the approval of a resolution that formally removed her access to city bank accounts, which officials said was a standard procedure.

A spokesman said Tuesday that the city had no further comment about Jackson or the Stonecrest Citizens Coalition’s requests.

In a statement emailed to the AJC, meanwhile, Jackson touted achievements like helping update the city’s zoning code, hiring a new leadership team, developing new standard operating procedures and leading “a comprehensive process to develop a spending plan for American Rescue Plan Act funds.”

The latter was especially noteworthy, given that it was the misuse of another batch of federal COVID-19 relief funds that resulted in now-former Mayor Jason Lary and one other individual being sentenced to prison for fraud.

Jackson did not respond to follow-up questions about what precipitated her resignation.

She did, however, describe her work with Stonecrest as “clearing the wreckage from a plane crash, building a new plane and flying it at the same time.”

Read the Stonecrest Citizen Coalition’s full letter below.