Divided Stone Mountain City Council approves continuing virtual meetings

City of Stone Mountain seal on the historic railroad depot. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Stone Mountain, GA — Stone Mountain City Council on Feb. 24 voted to continue meeting virtually for 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was a split vote. Mayor Beverly Jones cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of continuing virtual meetings for 30 days. A copy of the emergency declaration was not immediately available. There was little discussion among council members before the vote.

Councilmember Gil Freeman, who voted to continue meeting virtually, said he wasn’t sure the city was prepared to conduct meetings in a hybrid format where council members met in person but could attend virtually if needed.

“I’m not confident that we’re ready for even a hybrid meeting,” Freeman said.

Concilmembers Gina Stroud Cox, Chakira Johnson, and Teresa Crowe voted against extending the emergency order. Councilmembers Freeman, Clint Monroe and Shawnette Bryant voted to extend it.

Following the vote, councilmembers went into a closed-door executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

Other local cities have struggled with whether it is the right time to lift COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic shows signs of slowing but vaccination rates are lagging. A skeptical Decatur City Commission recently voted on a short extension of the city’s mask mandate, but some commissioners signaled they are interested in lifting it.

The Decatur City Commission has resumed in-person meetings.

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