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Covington to provide legal support for McKelvey in NCRC appeal

COVINGTON, Ga. - The Covington City Council unanimously agreed to show its support for the city by allowing Councilman Josh McKelvey to utilize the city's legal council as he appeals Newton County Chairman Marcello Banes' decision to remove him from the Newton County Recreation Commission board. 

Banes informed McKelvey of his removal from the NCRC board via certified letter Jan. 31. McKelvey will have an opportunity to appeal his removal to the Newton County Board of Commissioners in a special called meeting  in the Historic Newton County Courthouse 3 p.m. Tuesday. 

McKelvey said he was given short notice to find an attorney for the appeal opportunity. 

"I'm not going to walk in unarmed," he said. 

Councilwoman Susie Keck said she wholeheartedly agreed that the city should allow for legal support of McKelvey, as he was the city's appointed representative on the board. 

"If the city put me on that board, I would hope the city would back me up," she said. 

Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams said she had mixed feelings on the issue. 

Josh McKelvey

"As I said before, you know, we weren't given any information ahead of time and now you're wanting us to support, I don't understand the difference," she said. "We were not in the equation to get in on the decision but now we're in the equation to whether or not to stay on or not."

She raised concerns about setting a precedent for future legal issues. 

Councilman Anthony Henderson said he wanted to clarify that he was voting to allow for support of the Covington's representative, not necessarily the specific person. 

Mayor Ronnie Johnston said anytime any council member comes under attack he will always be there to fight for them. 

McKelvey's removal comes after a Jan. 9 letter from Banes announcing his intent to remove all of the NCRC board members that voted in-favor of terminating then Recreation Director Anthony Avery.