Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary announced tonight (Nov. 9) that he is facing another battle with cancer, one more aggressive than the prostate cancer for which he was treated in 2018.
“My cancer has returned and I’m not going to go through what I did a year or so ago. I’m gonna follow, you know, what the charter says…” said Lary in making a formal request to the City Council.
“For lack of a better term, it’s aggressive and it’s moved around.”
Lary asked the City Council for a medical leave of absence for the remainder of November until March 2021 to seek treatment. Council member Rob Turner made the motion for the request, which was seconded by Mayor pro tem George Turner and Councilmember Jazzmin Cobble, both speaking at the same time. The measure was approved 5-0, with the mayor recusing himself from voting.
The mayor said he formally requested to be excused by the City Council as stipulated by the city charter to avoid any conflict concerning missed meetings and forfeiture of office. Citing the charter, he said that the mayor or council members must forfeit their seats if they fail to attend one-third of the City Council meetings without prior approval of the City Council. The mayor made it clear that he was publicly seeking their approval.
In 2018, Lary underwent treatment for prostate cancer from September through December. He said when he asked the council to be excused for medical treatment, several questions were raised by some of the council members. Since he did not get a formal approval, Lary said he continued working while seeking treatment.
This is not the first time that the city’s charter regarding excused absences has come up. DeKalb Council Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott recently ruled that Councilwoman Jazzmin Cobble did not have to forfeit her District 3 council seat because she missed two council meetings last year. The ruling came after 15 Stonecrest citizens filed a quo warranto petition seeking to remove Cobble from the
The court order mentions the city charter as a document that provides for forfeiture of office if a member of the council fails to attend one-third of the regular meetings in a three-month period without being excused by council. However, according to the judge’s order, the charter does not explain how to set forth the formula for calculating one-third of the regular meetings, nor does it explain to what a three-month period refers and it fails to provide a procedure for excusal by the council. In the conclusion of the court’s ruling, Judge Scott said, “Removing an official elected by voters from office and creating a vacancy is a significant issue that a court should not lightly undertake.”
Lary said tonight that he and his wife decided that he needed to focus on his health and treatment.
“…This time I take care of me,” Lary said.
Lary left the meeting following approval of his leave. Mayor pro tem George Turner ran the meeting after the mayor’s departure.