Jones v. BooneAnnotate this Case
The issue this case presented for the Supreme Court's review was a trial court’s order granting a writ of quo warranto based on that court’s conclusion that appellant Ronny Jones was not appointed as attorney for the City of Gordon in accordance with the City’s charter. The quo warranto action was initiated by appellee Joseph Boone, who prior to May 21, 2014, had held the position of city attorney in Gordon for 35 years. At a meeting presided over by Mayor Mary Ann Whipple Lue, a motion was made to terminate Boone’s services for the City as city attorney. The vote on the motion by the council members in attendance was three to two in favor, with one abstention. In the absence of the requisite four votes by council members, the mayor voted in favor of the motion, resulting in a vote of four to two. After some discussion about the immediacy of pending legal matters, Boone’s continuing legal and ethical obligations to the City, and the necessity of transferring Boone’s files, a motion was made to authorize Mayor Lue to appoint an interim city attorney. The vote on this motion was again three to two in favor, with one abstention; the mayor again concluded that she was authorized to vote and cast her vote in favor of the motion. The following day, Mayor Lue announced that she had appointed Jones as the new city attorney. Jones challenged the procedural posture of Boone’s petition for writ of quo warranto, arguing both that Boone did not have standing to seek the writ and that the trial court did not grant Boone the necessary leave to file his petition. Further, Jones argued that the trial court erred in holding that the mayor was without authority to appoint a city attorney, and that she had authority to treat an abstention as a negative vote. The Supreme Court found Boone indeed had standing to bring his petition, and that the abstention by one member was no vote. The sole authority to appoint a city attorney remained with the city council, and Jones' appointment as city attorney by the mayor was invalid.