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Usry says he will cooperate in any investigation

Thomson Mayor Kenneth Usry said today he would cooperate with any investigation of an incident involving him and a city supervisor who admitted driving a city vehicle after drinking.

A group of about 100 people gathered outside city hall Wednesday afternoon to ask for the mayor's resignation and an investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation of the incident.

Asked today if he plans to resign, Usry said, "I have no comment on that."

On June 18, the supervisor, Scott Huff of the city's Public Works Department, drove to an area where a tree had been downed by a storm. Police at the scene said they smelled alcohol on Huff's breath, and they administered a field sobriety test. As they questioned Huff, the mayor arrived and, after some discussion, took Huff and drove him home. No blood-alcohol test had been administered.

Usry said last week that he did not intend to impede the police investigation and took Huff home for the supervisor's own safety and that of others.

Former Mayor Bob Knox Jr. weighed in on the controversy today.

"I was mayor of this town for nearly 30 years," Knox, an attorney and city judge, said at the regular weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Thomson. "We've got a mayor right now who's receiving a lot of grief unnecessarily."

Knox and Usry are both Rotary Club members.

City council members who were interviewed today generally reserved comment on the mayor's actions.

Alton Belton, who was at a conference in Savannah, Ga., when news coverage of the incident broke, said he has not had a chance to review the incident. Nor, he said, has he talked with the mayor.

The Rev. John Smalley, who earlier characterized the mayor's action as "improper," said today that with an election coming up in November there is no reason for the mayor to resign.

"What purpose would that serve?" he asked.

Clifford "Bud" Lunceford said he preferred to reserve comment "until I investigate this further."

Jaye Jones, who said earlier that he thought the mayor did what he thought best under the circumstances, did not return a call today seeking comment.

Calls to Councilwoman Bernice Brown went unanswered.



- Crowd calls for mayor to resign
- Mayor to police: 'I'm going to deal with it'
- Mayor denies any impropriety in Huff incident

Web posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

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