Stonecrest mayor Jason Lary has cancer, takes time off

Mayor Lary asked for "A minute" to get healthy and back in shape for his mayoral duties.

When routine debate became contentious at Monday night’s Stonecrest City Council meeting, Mayor Jason Lary said he was compelled to walk away.

Saying he had grown weary and was stressed by council members bickering over how to manage SPLOST-funded projects, Lary stepped to the podium and made the surprise announcement that he would be taking medical leave.

“I’ve been taking cancer treatment for a couple of months now, and I’ve been coming here in pain and coming here trying to work,” he said to a stunned crowd of about 100 people attending the meeting. “I’ve been ignoring my family. I’ve been ignoring what my wife asks me to do. And I have to ask myself this evening, ‘For what?’ ”

Lary's announcement came after he and the City Council had spent an hour arguing over whether they would take a vote later on three SPLOST-related items. Lary ultimately lost the argument when members voted 4-2 to mark the items discussion-only.

Soon after, he calmly rose from his seat and walked from the dais to a podium set up for public comment. He leaned on the rostrum while he talked about the stresses of the job and the need to take time away. “I need time to get healthy, I need time to take the treatment and I need to be able to do that without being extremely aggravated,” he said.

Lary left the room after his speech and did not return to the meeting. He didn’t return calls and a text requesting further comment.

The crowd buzzed with surprise during his short speech. Afterward, there was a moment of silence to allow prayers for his healing.

The city’s spokesman declined to say what kind of cancer Lary has, but he did say that it is curable.

“As with any cancer treatment, it’s serious,” Adrion Bell said. “Rest is required and he’s going to have to adhere to doctor’s orders.”

Councilman George Turner, mayor pro temp, presided over the rest of the meeting and will remain in charge while Lary is away. He said it could be a couple of months.

None of the City Council members immediately responded to an email asking them to comment on the meeting and Lary's announcement.

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