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City of Tucker rescheduling nondiscrimination ordinance town hall

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City of Tucker rescheduling nondiscrimination ordinance town hall

Mayor Frank Auman and First Lady Gaye Auman check out the cars during the Tucker Cruise-In on Saturday, May 8, 2021. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Tucker, GA — Tucker Mayor Frank Auman was set to hold a town hall on May 25 to discuss the city’s proposed nondiscrimination ordinance. The town hall has been cancelled and will be rescheduled, a spokesperson for the city said on Thursday morning.

“The mayor’s wife Gaye has been hospitalized, and he will be by her side for the next several days. On behalf of the Auman family, we are grateful for your prayers,” the spokesperson said.

The city has not yet said when the town hall will take place.

Auman — who has long opposed the ordinance — was giving away free tickets to the event in what seemed to be a crowd control effort.

According to the city, capacity at city meetings is limited to 100 people. At a May 8 meeting where a first reading of the ordinance was held, people stood out in the lobby due to seating limitations.

In an email sent to the council, which was provided to Decaturish, Auman announced, “I am distributing tickets for most of those 100 seats … I will leave an envelope for each of you at city hall with eight tickets inside. Each will allow one person admission if they arrive by 6:45 p.m. They can just show the ticket and walk in.”

He added that at 6:45 p.m., the city planned to begin admitting people to the town hall, fill the room to 100, and any additional attendees would be cut off, including anyone who arrived with a ticket after 6:45 p.m. According to a Facebook post from Auman, Tucker residents would have to contact a city council member to get a ticket.

The post didn’t provide instructions about how to do that, so to find email addresses for city council members, click here. Each council member was given an allotment of tickets.

A spokesperson for the city said the media will be able to attend without a ticket.

Councilmember Anne Lerner announced a nondiscrimination ordinance working group back in April 2022 to craft the new ordinance. That came six months after Mayor Auman and city council members supported a resolution for an “inclusive, fair and welcoming city.” Supporters of the ordinance said that the resolution was not legally enforceable.

The ordinance itself creates legal definitions in the city code for age, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and veteran. It declares that people have a right to be free from discrimination regarding seeking or keeping employment, enjoying public accommodations, obtaining housing, and being free from retaliation for exercising those rights.

The ordinance does carve out 10 exceptions, some of which cover religious organizations. It also provides a process for enforcing the ordinance.

To read a draft of the ordinance, click here.

Auman previously emphasized that his May 25 town hall would not be a city council meeting, but said he hoped that it would be an opportunity for dialogue before the ordinance is ultimately read a second time and voted on.

“We’ll have a second read. I can’t tell you when it’ll be or what form the meeting will take or what the ordinance will look like by the time we get there, but that’s the process. That’s what we’re doing,” Auman said.

To read our earlier story about the town hall, click here.

Dan Whisenhunt, Sara Amis and Logan C. Ritchie contributed to this story. 

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