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Judge orders mayor, AG into mediation
Case stems from incident in 2012
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Forsyth County News

A judge has ordered the two parties involved in an open meetings dispute to enter mediation.

Senior Superior Court Judge Robert Adamson on Thursday signed off on an order to compel mediation in the case that involves Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt and Georgia’s Attorney General Sam Olens.

The dispute arose after an incident on April 17, 2012, when Gravitt asked that the camera of Roswell resident Nydia Tisdale be removed from a Cumming City Council meeting.

Tisdale, in a separate federal suit that was filed after that of Olens, has maintained that she was forcibly removed on Gravitt’s orders by Cumming Police Chief Casey Tatum and, after returning to the meeting, was asked by another Cumming police officer to stop recording on her still camera.

Olens has said Gravitt’s action was a violation of the amended Georgia Open Meetings Act, which ironically had been signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal earlier that same day.

On July 25, Adamson heard oral arguments in the case, but did not make a decision on the matter. Rather, he asked both parties to attempt to reach a resolution on their own.

They were unable to do so, and Adamson then ordered them to submit supplemental briefs in the case by Aug. 30. Since that time, both sides have been awaiting word from the judge.

In the motion to compel, Adamson has ordered both parties to attend mediation on or before Nov. 30.

The order goes on to state that Olens and Gravitt “shall attend the mediation session. If a settlement is reached, the parties shall report the same to the court within 10 days of the mediation.”