East Point mayor, council continue war of words

East Point Councilman Clyde Mitchell says he has had enough of the contentious relationship between Mayor Earnestine Pittman and a majority of the City Council.

Pittman maintains Mitchell and council members Lance Rhodes, Steve Bennett, Sharonda Hubbard and Jacqueline Slaughter-Gibbons have hijacked the city’s government and only allow certain items to be addressed at council meetings.

She has increased her criticism since the beginning of the year, and in her newsletter distributed to residents this month Pittman warned of the group’s intentions to create a council newsletter.

“It appears that the ‘Gang of Five’ will do anything to keep information from the residents in face-to-face meetings, yet they have no shame in attempting to have a professional newsletter mailed to residents praising their leadership and management,” Pittman said.

Mitchell commented Monday night on the fiery rhetoric Pittman has been using against the five council members.

“We have heard the cry to be civil. We just want to do the business of the people,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell outlined a list of recent accomplishments, such as purchasing street sweepers and working on getting the 50 worst properties in the city up to code. He urged the rest of the council to put aside differences and join in moving East Point forward.

He added he had avoided any response to the mayor’s criticism, but felt the time was right to address the issue.

After hearing Mitchell’s remarks, Pittman added to her criticism of the five council members.

“I was going to talk about something else, but I have to address what you said. You’re very exclusive, and like to exclude items from the agenda you don’t want to discuss. You’re like the Republicans in the U.S. House,” Pittman said.

The mayor said the majority of council members don’t understand the intricacies of many agenda items before voting, and she issued a challenge.

“I’ll take all five of you on and debate any day of the week. I know that I know more of what’s going on in the city,” she said.