Cordele Commission meeting turns to chaos

Published 10:42 am Wednesday, April 6, 2022

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Cordele Commission Chair Joshua Antwan Deriso angrily defended his qualifications to be the chair. Photo by Neil McGahee.

Citizen Trae Sims challenged Deriso’s authority and was quickly ushered out of the meeting. Photo by Neil McGahee.


By Neil McGahee

Managing Editor

As is becoming a frequent pattern, a citizen attempted to question Cordele City Commission Chairman Joshua Antwan Deriso’s qualifications to hold his seat.

After reciting the oath of office that every City Commissioner takes, Trae Sims urged the other commissioners — Owens, Shepherd and Rainey —to help him remove Deriso from office.

“Commissioners Owens, Shepherd and Rainey each one of you took this oath before you were seated.” Sims said. “Now is the time to stand and act upon the oath you swore.

“Mr. Deriso has violated multiple sections of…”

Sims speech was interrupted by several sharp raps of Deriso’s gavel.

“That’s libelous,” Deriso said. ”You don’t have no facts. You will not slander me up here.”

“You want facts, let’s get facts,” Sims replied quickly pulling papers from his briefcase.

“No, no, no,” Deriso said, his voice getting louder. “You can speak, but you can’t speak against me! The rules don’t allow slanderous or libelous lies.”

“What facts don’t I have,” Sims retorted. “The video of you taking the picture from the police department.”

“You said you were going to speak on Section 5.16, but you will not speak against me,” Deriso said.

“Section 5.16 deals with Title 45,” Sims said.

Again Deriso interrupted him saying he could speak on Section 5.16, but he (Sims) couldn’t say Deriso’s name.

“Well, speak of that, speak of that,” Deriso yelled.

“I am, I am,” Sims said. “You have violated the law multiple times.”

At that point the two men’s “conversation” became unintelligible, but Deriso could be plainly heard saying, “You can speak for your five minutes but if you speak of me, you will be removed.”

“I am not speaking against you,” Sims said. “You want to remove me, you come down here and do it!”

“Remove him,” Deriso said to police officers standing in the back of the room.

Interim Chief Jalon Heard came and removed Sims who was still loudly voicing his opinions.

“Have a good one,” Deriso said.”