Johns Creek investigating mayor’s aide for wasting taxpayer dollars

The city of Johns Creek is investigating whether mayoral aide and vice chairman of the Fulton County GOP improperly solicited candidates for city positions on the taxpayer’s dime.

Councilman John Bradberry aired this out at a council work session earlier this month. He said an anonymous blog post referenced a public records request asking for the texts, phone logs and emails of Craig Kidd for most of 2019. The post accused Kidd of spending city time to recruit political candidates for city positions.

“My only goal is not to vilify or prosecute someone but rather just to get to the bottom of it so it can be put to bed. Ideally it’d be put to bed by the end of the year so we’re not starting the next decade on a bunch of this kind of stuff,” Bradberry said at the Dec. 9 work session.

But nearly three weeks later, it appears that is what’s happening.

Acting city manager and Police Chief Ed Densmore said this week that it was unlikely the city would hire an outside party to conduct the investigation before Jan. 1. He also told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that there was no timeline or budget proposed for the probe.

“I’m happy that the mayor has asked for an independent person to look into this. I believe that when a fair and reasonable investigation occurs, it will show no improper activity was conducted,” said Kidd on Thursday. His base annual salary from the city is $79,014.52.

Mayor Mike Bodker said at the work session that Densmore had cleared Kidd of breaking any laws. So the current investigation, Bodker said, is “a review of the information by somebody who could competently identify any concerns as it relates to a violation of the charter or … any city policies.”

As for what happens to Kidd, Bodker said: “The rest will be shaped on the information I get back from the investigations.” Bodker said the results will be presented to the council.

Councilwoman Stephanie Endres said she didn’t like the process and wants the council to run the inquiry.

“It’s disappointing that you’re leading the investigation,” she said during the work session before Bodker interrupted.

“I’m not leading the investigation,” he said.

Endres said it seemed so because Bodker is the one who laid out the rules. She showed council members a draft resolution that would put them in control of the inquiry, but it was not accepted.

She agrees with the blog post that Kidd was doing opposition research on a sitting councilman, Chris Coughlin, who was just re-elected.

“That’s a big no-no, especially since you were made aware that this was happening in the spring,” she said to Bodker, who confirmed that Coughlin and Endres had both brought that up to him.

Endres said the situation is more serious than just a rogue employee.

”It actually goes to a council initiative,” she said.

Bodker said they might need to update the employee policy on these matters, but said he doesn’t want to stifle political affiliation of employees.

“We may not agree on which candidates we support or don’t support, but we have every right to do what we want to make that happen as long as we don’t break any other rules in the process,” he said.