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City Council meets after Alma mayor's alleged illegal surveillance

Ty Thompson
Press Argus-Courier
Alma Mayor Jerry Martin, a former Alma City Council member, was elected to office in 2018.

Alma City Officials prohibited the public recently from hearing discussions in a specially called meeting believed to be about Alma Mayor Jerry Martin.

The city council called the special meeting Thursday, Feb. 4 to review a "personnel" issue, but did not list the mayor as the subject. Citizens have posted complaints on social media channels about the mayor's alleged illegal surveillance.

A Jan. 27 Alma Police report states that an Alma woman, Kylee Jacobs, was notified by a neighbor on Jan. 14 about a Facebook messager allegedly sent by Martin asking someone to "keep an eye" out for an older black Chevy truck. The Facebook messager allegedly identified as Martin then asked the person to take a picture of the tag or write down the tag number.

The woman's mother Alisha Jacobs states in the police report they have witnessed Martin "walking late at night in their neighborhood, driving through their neighborhood, and parking at a neighboring church." 

On the night of the Facebook message, Jacobs reported that Martin was following her and her boyfriend through town. Jacobs' boyfriend, Ethan Rogers, owns the truck described in the message.

Alma Police Chief Jeff Pointer says that there is no investigation required as everyone involved has been identified. Jacobs was referred to the prosecuting attorney if they wished to pursue anything further. 

Patricia Dukes of Alma appeared at the Feb. 4 city council meeting because she was concerned about Martin's actions.

"I have a daughter that lives here in Alma, and she has friends that live in the same area, and I'm very concerned about that," said Dukes.

In October 2020, two police reports were filed regarding Martin.

On. Oct. 24 a domestic disturbance report stated that Alma police officer Austin Wilkins was dispatched to the 1700 block of Daisy Lane in Alma. Martin was in the process of moving some of his belongings out of the residence after his recent divorce. 

Martin stated during the police officer’s Oct. 24 visit that he needed to get the television off of the wall. At this point, his wife walked into the garage and advised that he could not do that per an agreement between their attorneys.

No charges were pursued against Martin. 

On Oct. 27, Donna Martin filed an incident report with the Alma police when a GPS tracking device was found on her vehicle. Donna Martin, who was told by a friend she may be being tracked, had her son use a mirror to look under the vehicle. He found a magnetic tracking device fixed to the undercarriage.

"What happened between them is on them," said Dukes. "But he is the foreman of our city. Alma is a wonderful city. We have perfect schools, we have a good community that comes together when people need it, and we do not need someone like that as the face of our city."

Dukes said that she hopes that the mayor resigns, and if not, she hopes that the council relieves him of his duty. 

Prior to the meeting, a Facebook post was shared by Alma residents asking them to appear at city hall and voice their opposition of Martin.

"All eligible Alma residents need to show up, and voice your opposition for Mayor Jerry Martin, asking for the resignation of his seat in office due to the recent, and past history of abuse of office," the Facebook post stated. 

City council members could not comment on what was discussed during the meeting. 

"I have no comment. There has been no illegal or immoral activity, arrests or charges filed," said Martin.

Petition to remove Mayor Martin

A study session was held on Feb. 8, and community members who were present at the special meeting got a chance to speak to the council. Alma local Ramona Nelson spoke on behalf of the citizens.

"I know that the council cannot remove Jerry unless charges are filed and he is found guilty," said Nelson. "We are not going to back down. We are going to show up at every meeting." 

Nelson says that she is currently working on a petition for the removal of Martin. In order for the petition to be certified by the county clerk to the county board of election commissioners, it must be signed by a number of qualified electors equal to 25%. 

According to Nelson, there were 1,412 votes cast in the election which means they will need 353 signatures