Roswell has spent more than $16k defending Mayor Jere Wood’s office

The State Supreme Court has rejected a request to hear a case involving whether Roswell's mayor has overstayed his term limits, but the attorney who filed it said he expects it will be picked up on another appeal.

Jere Wood, the Roswell mayor, faces a suit claiming he violated the city's term limits when he was elected to the position for the fifth time. Wood, who was first elected in 1997, advocated in 2010 for the Roswell mayor to have a term limit of three four-year terms. He has said the intent was that the clock would start for him when the law was passed, and not when he was first elected.

John Monroe, the attorney who filed the suit, said he asked that Wood be removed from office. Since the court denied his request, Monroe said, the State Supreme Court will pick up the case.

“You have an absolute right to a second kick of the cat,” he said.

The city has so far spent $16,843 defending Wood's right to hold his office.

Though Wood was sued in his individual capacity — and not as mayor — city attorney David Davidson said in a statement that there is “definitely a City interest in this matter” that warrants Roswell paying the tab for the mayor’s legal fees.

“The case is challenging the status of a sitting Mayor and whether he is able to remain in office,” Davidson said. Whether “a sitting Mayor is removed from office or was never qualified to be in office, has a direct effect on various matters within the City and may call into question any vote that he may have participated in or action he may have taken.”

Monroe said he did not think Roswell should pay Wood’s defense, since he is not being sued for doing something in his capacity with the city.

Michael Litten, who previously challenged Wood for mayor, pursued the suit. Monroe, his attorney, said a second appeal was filed to the State Supreme Court by the superior court.

Monroe said the State Supreme Court should take jurisdiction within the month.

“This is an unusual case, in which the trial court openly announced that it did not know how to proceed in this case without appellate court guidance,” Monroe wrote in a previous appeal.