Columbus city manager, school board member engage in public dispute

Columbus City Manager, school board member engage in public dispute

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A controversy is brewing between Columbus' City Manager and a Muscogee County School District board member. The dispute, according to Hugley, began with allegations surrounding unauthorized access to a personal savings account.

The controversy grew larger Tuesday afternoon when Columbus City Manager Isaiah Hugley addressed a local campaign volunteer about comments he made about him online.

"Because of the unorthodox kind of behavior of this person using social media and having issues with me," Hugley said, "I was now concerned that they were now an employee of Kinetic credit union."

Hugley said he felt that volunteer, Nathan Smith, may have had unauthorized access to his financial information.

"I called Kinetic Credit Union to inquire as to whether that person has access to my savings account," stated Hugley. 

Smith took issue with Hugley, who he believed tried to get him fired. Both men met outside of the Columbus Public Library, while several candidates spoke during a local election forum hosted by the NAACP. 

That's when Smith's close friend, Muscogee County School Board Member Frank Myers, said he took exception to Hugley's interaction. 

"Let's be clear about this," Myers said. "The city manager has tried to cost Nathan Smith his job. That is the bottom line," he said.

After the interaction between the city manager and Smith, Myers texted Hugley Tuesday night, letting him know he would not stand for this action. 

Now, Hugley said, he wants to call out Myers for what he calls "bullying tactics."

"I did not take that threat kindly or lightly," Hugley said. 

"I responded to Frank Myers and let him know of my serious concern with his threatening text messages," he said. 

Myers, however, said he believes this is part of the political process, as Hugley's sister, Pat Hugley-Green, continues her campaign for re-election against candidates Myers admittedly supports. 

"What the city manager is calling a threat," Myers said, "is political free speech."

WTVM reached out to Nathan Smith for his take on the matter, but Smith declined to comment. 

Myers told WTVM he has called for Hugley to take a lie detector test to determine who's telling the truth in the dispute.  

Hugley has not responded to that request, and there's no word on when or if the two parties will resolve this issue.

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