Judge signs restraining order against mayoral candidate

Diane Adoma

Credit: Emily Haney/AJC file

Credit: Emily Haney/AJC file

Diane Adoma

A DeKalb County judge has signed off on a temporary restraining order against a mayoral candidate who said she did not need to give up her City Council post in order to run for the new position.

The city of Stonecrest argued that Diane Adoma’s council seat was vacated last Friday, when she turned in the qualifying paperwork to run for mayor.

But Adoma attempted to participate in Monday’s City Council meeting.  The other council members attempted to ignore her and did not count her votes. The city cites a state law that they say removed her from office immediately upon qualifying for the upcoming election.

At a court hearing Friday morning, Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger signed off on the restraining order against Adoma, who said she will comply with the ruling.

“The Court declares that Adoma’s seat on city council was vacated on August 23, 2019 as a matter of law,” Seeliger wrote, according to a copy of the ruling. “Accordingly ... Adoma is no longer a member of the city council.”

» PREVIOUS COVERAGE: City seeks restraining order against council member running for mayor

The order is effective for 30 days and bars Adoma from acting as a councilmember, accessing non-public parts of City Hall, possessing any city property and “harassing or attempting to direct city staff and employees.”

Adoma said Friday that she was disappointed by the ruling, but that she will turn her attention to her mayoral campaign against incumbent Mayor Jason Lary. She was not present during the court proceedings.

“I believe in following the law. I'm going to fully comply,” she said, adding that this saga has “energized my supporters.”

The Georgia Constitution states that if an elected official seeks another office — and the term for that office starts more than 30 days before the term of the current office would end — then the office should be immediately declared vacant.

Diane Adoma during a candidates forum for the city of Stonecrest in 2017. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

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Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Adoma, elected in 2017 to represent District 5 in Stonecrest, would have roughly two more years left on her term. But she wanted to continue serving as a councilmember through the Nov. 5 election.

“I was concerned about my constituents being unrepresented,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this week.

Adoma went to Monday’s meeting and took her usual seat, but her nameplate had been removed and she was mostly ignored by city staff and the other officials.

She launched a legal challenge against the law ordering her to vacate her seat, but her emergency injunction was denied Monday.

The city has called for a special election for Adoma’s seat to be held Nov. 5, the same general election day where voters will decide who will be mayor. The qualifying period for that seat is scheduled for Sept. 3-5.

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