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Mediation unable to resolve matter
AG, mayor of Cumming waiting to hear from judge
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Forsyth County News

Looks like it’s back to the drawing board for the parties involved in an open meetings dispute.

Dana Miles, an attorney who represents the city of Cumming, said no resolution was reached during a recent mediation session involving Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens.

The mediation, which was held last month in Atlanta, had been ordered by Senior Superior Court Judge Robert Adamson in October after he heard oral arguments on the case in July.

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.

Tisdale also contends that upon returning to the meeting, she was asked by another Cumming police officer to stop recording on her still camera.

Olens has maintained that 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.

After oral arguments in July, Adamson made no decision in the matter, but rather asked both parties to attempt to reach a resolution on their own.

After being unable to do so, Adamson signed off on an order to compel mediation in October, giving the parties until Nov. 30 to conduct mediation together.

Miles said the parties came together Nov. 15, along with Tisdale and her attorney, to try to reach some resolution in her federal suit as well.

But after several hours of mediation, which was closed to everyone except the involved parties, no resolution was reached, Miles said.

All parties await further word from Adamson as to next steps in the case.