STATE OF GEORGIA
COUNTY OF Henry
The Henry County Board of Commissioners held a Regular Public Meeting on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 at 6:30 P.M. in the Community Room of the County Administration Building, 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough, Georgia. Notice of this meeting was posted on the bulletin board of the County Administration Building. The Daily Herald was notified of this meeting. Representing Henry County were:
Leland Maddox, Chairman (presiding)
Lee Holman, Vice-Chairman, District V Commissioner
Warren E. Holder, Commissioner, District I
Gary M. Freedman, Commissioner, District II
Jason T. Harper, Commissioner, District III
Gerry Adams, Commissioner, District IV
Also attending were Patrick Jaugstetter, County Attorney; Linda Angus, County Manager; Susan Craig, County Clerk; Rob Magnaghi, Public Safety Division Director and Deputy County Manager; Peggy L. Malcolm, Deputy County Clerk; Tom Couch, Assistant to the County Manager-Special Projects; Michael Harris, Public Works Director; Danny Taylor, Economic Development Director; Michael Sabine, Human Services Director; and several others.
Chairman Maddox called the meeting to order and asked for an Acceptance of the Agenda. Commissioner Holman made a motion to amend the Agenda as follows:
Commissioner Freedman said he wanted to amend the Agenda, Item XI (Consent Agenda) A-5 – regarding the request for the grading of four soccer fields at North Mt. Carmel Park. He said he wanted to postpone this to the February 3, 2004 Board of Commissioners Regular Meeting at the request of the Recreation Department.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to accept the amended Agenda; Commissioner Freedman seconded; the motion carried 6-0-0 with Chairman Maddox, Commissioners Holman, Holder, Harper, Adams and Freedman in favor of the motion.
Public Comments – Chairman Maddox stated there were more people than allowed who had signed up to speak; there were seven or eight and the maximum was six. Ms. Lynn Wenner read the resolution to the Board which stated, “there shall be a maximum of thirty (30) minutes allocated to each topic addressed in the Public Comment of the Meeting, and each member of the public wishing to address the Board shall have five (5) minutes to offer public comment. If a person is placed on the regular agenda, he shall be given fifteen (15) minutes to address the Board.”
Commissioner Holman said the resolution had been amended since the one just read. Ms. Angus, County Manager, left the room to obtain a copy of the amended resolution from the Clerk’s Office.
Chairman Maddox stated while this was being researched, the Board would move on to the next speaker, Ms. LaShawn Robinson regarding the Land Use Map. She said, based on the October 16, 2003 and November 3, 2003 Minutes, the Board mentioned emerging commercial areas as well as amending the Future Land Use Map. She wanted to know how the Board voted or what was approved, because the Minutes (Item XV of the October 16th Minutes) did not reflect a motion granted on this item. Referring to the November 3rd Minutes on the same issue, she said on page 14 there is reference to some emerging areas that have not been officially adopted, but in the end, the only thing discussed was the amending of the zoning amendments. She asked for clarification and questioned if an approval was made of the Future Land Use Map amendments or was the Future Land Use amendments and the emerging areas approved.
Mr. Danny Taylor, Economic Development Division Director, said, “when we started this project, we wanted to bring our existing Future Land Use Map up to date. We wanted to look at the zoning changes made that were not consistent, and we also wanted to look at any areas that had been changed. I asked the staff to bring all of this forward, and it was presented at the October Meeting in the form of a map showing emerging commercial areas. Then it was brought back in November showing emerging commercial areas, but when I reviewed the Minutes from the November Meeting, where the Board took action, there was no distinction from what I could tell. So the Board approved the map that was presented, and that is what we have relied upon. When this comes before the Board in the next meeting for public hearing, the Board has the option to change it.”
Chairman Maddox asked if the Board wanted to proceed to the next item on the Agenda or did they prefer to complete the Public Comment portion.
Commissioner Freedman suggested presenting the Proclamation to Mr. S. Howell Gardner, Jr., and the Board agreed.
Commissioner Holder made the presentation and stated, “tonight we will honor a person and acknowledge a career that has spanned over 40 years. This person has been a pillar of our community by serving as a City Councilman in Locust Grove, as County Commissioner for Henry County, and on the Water Authority for a number of years. This person has been known as the stabilizing force on the Water Authority; the person who kept things together, but at the same time wants no recognition. We had a hard time getting him here tonight. But I think when you see the people who are here tonight in support of this individual, you will see just how much this person has meant to this community and the lives he has touched over these long years. This person ran the local hardware store, and now that we have Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe’s, it had a way of putting the little man out. But he was the one to open the store on Sunday if you did not have water because in the area of the County he came from, there was not much public water. He was that kind of person to go that extra mile and did not mind it. We also need to honor the commitment made by his family to allow him to do this. The point I am making tonight is we are honoring quite a man. Even though his tenure as a public servant in the positions he has held will basically be over officially, his contributions will be long remembered. With that, I would like to ask Howell Gardner and his family to come forward.”
Commissioner Holder began reading the Proclamation presented to Mr. Gardner:
“WHEREAS, the citizens of Henry County will long remember the 43 years (1961-2003) of selfless public service which has been rendered by Mr. S. H. Gardner, Jr., which includes being appointed as one of the original 16-member board members under the Water Authority’s enabling legislation; Chairman of the Authority (1971-2003); and County Commissioner (1965-1968);
WHEREAS, this native son of Locust Grove and Henry County graduated from McDonough High School in 1944, served his Country in both the U.S. Army and Air Force, graduated from the University of Georgia in 1951, owned and operated the family hardware business, and Gardner Farms until retirement in 1991, has been married for 52 years to Ms. Ann Gardner, and raised a family;
WHEREAS, his significant organizational and leadership talents, his remarkable patience and diplomacy, his keen sense of vision, and his sensitivity to the needs of the citizens of his County have earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and associates;
WHEREAS, in his pursuit of the public good, his steady demeanor, fair treatment of his fellow man, and judicious decision making have made him a truly worthy object of this County’s appreciation and gratitude; and
WHEREAS, it is abundantly fitting and proper that a citizen who has demonstrated such unselfish commitment to his County be appropriately recognized.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF HENRY COUNTY, that the members of this Board heartily and gratefully commend Mr. S. H. Gardner, Jr., for his five decades of outstanding public service and his unparalleled commitment of his time, talents and energy to citizens of Henry County and the State of Georgia. This 20th day of January, 2004.”
Mr. Gardner said he would like to comment. “I appreciate this honor very much. It has been my pleasure to do all of these things in Henry County that have been mentioned. A person can only accomplish as much as or is as good as the people around him. We were lucky on the Water Authority to have the fine Board of the thirty-eight (38) members who were business people and a real joy to work with. Mr. Farmer who built the system, the workers who operate the system and Mr. Welch, our most trusted advisor, have done many things for the Authority that I could make a speech on. It has been my pleasure to do what I have done, and I appreciate your applause. I want to thank Commissioner Holder for his trust and his friendship. Thank you.”
Commissioner Holder said he failed to mention the fact one man can serve under as many commissioners as he has, and still survive.
(Pictures were made of Mr. Gardner and the Water Authority representatives and the Board of Commissioners.)
Chairman Maddox addressed Ms. Lynn Wenner and explained she would be given thirty minutes (five minutes per person) to speak on the Senior Center topic. If the first six (6) people with her take up the full thirty minutes, then the seventh (7th) person will not be able to speak.
Ms. Lynn Wenner said she represented the Senior Watchdog Committee. She said they were told one of the reasons Ms. Sandy Craig was relieved of her duties was because Ms. Craig closed the Senior Center operations for 2.5 days without approval. This is erroneous! The “closed” days were posted on the County’s website, and it appears in the senior newsletter. She said the staff writes the newsletter, but Mr. Michael Sabine must approve everything in the newspaper before it is published, which is true of the website. Mr. Sabine was aware of the closing, but she did not know whether Mr. Sabine made Ms. Angus aware of this. She said the second charge against Ms. Craig was she failed to control the Watchdog Committee. Ms. Wenner said at no time did Ms. Craig ask her group to go to the Board with any recommendations. She said the public use of the centers came from her (Ms. Wenner) when she read the Minutes of the meetings on this subject. Ms. Wenner stated volunteers called her because they could not get in touch with the supervisor of the center due to a lack of voice mail.
Ms. Wenner said the topic on transit was studied because some of the elderly riders called her group to a meeting at Fairview Center and asked if they could represent views to the Board. She stated they are a group of concerned citizens with every right to go to the Commission with concerns and they will continue to do so. Look at your motto, “Citizen Participation and Involvement;” she said, “you have it now; you should be delighted.”
Ms. Wenner submitted to the Board a petition from the Senior Centers stating, “we the undersigned citizens, taxpayers and voters do hereby express our complete disagreement with the County Manager’s action to transfer Ms. Sandy Craig from her position as Director of Senior Services to a so-called parallel position of Grant Writer. We feel this is an injustice against one of our most valued employees and is simply a power play on the part of Ms. Angus. Ms. Craig has brought our senior program from nothing to a program which is considered one of the best in the State. Who else would be more qualified to advance it to a higher level? We ask you, the Henry County Board of Commissioners, to reinstate Ms. Craig to her former position.”
Ms. Marinelle Simpson of McDonough, Georgia said on this particular issue she believed she was well versed to address the Board; she stated she had obtained a Doctorate in Administration and Supervision from the University of Georgia. Ms. Simpson said, “I have been through some of the same things that Ms. Sandy Craig has been through in dealing with different Boards in the past. She has, like Mr. Gardner, dealt with changes in our County from the early ‘80’s. We think she deserves to be the director of our center, and I would like to offer you an alternative to what has been chosen. She is involved with the County-wide youth/sports program, and in 1986 she began the County’s Special Olympic Program in the Recreation Department. In October, 1989 she became Program Coordinator for the First Senior Service Program, and the McIntosh Trail Planning Commission transferred $9,000 for the Meals-On-Wheels Program. Ms. Craig was able to acquire one van and a part-time driver to transport seniors to the Center. Her direction of the Senior Service Program began to grow, grant funding was sought and received, and we do not lessen the value of her skill as a Grant Writer. But we think her skills extend far beyond that. She is a peoples’ person; one that has integrated the work of many things, such as assisting in the growth to include the second Center, more funding, in-home services added, nutritional supplement programs, and the need of an expanded transportation system. Thus, her experience is wide-spread.”
“I see in this program a conflict between autocratic leadership and supportive leadership. Supportive leadership is the kind of thing that Mr. Gardner spent 40 years in Henry County doing. I do not think I ever saw him use a hatchet to cut someone who is good from doing the job that they were doing. This seems to be the plan of this administration in a number of instances. These centers have been less used in the last six months since we feel and have observed changes in what Ms. Craig has been allowed to do. I ask you to reconsider and split the job into being a Director of Human Services for seniors (including grant writing) and a Director of Personnel which could be a parallel level. There would be no additional salary and, therefore, keeping her in her present position where she would be the ‘thought person’ and the ‘inspiring person.’ Ms. Craig has taken the program from nothing in the mid-‘80’s to what it is today. I have had the opportunity to visit senior service centers throughout Georgia, as President of Georgia Retired Educators, and no one has anything to compare to what Henry County has. Please do not shake the boat, and I urge you to keep it like it is with some alterations and re-writing of some assignments. Thank You, sirs.”
Ms. Fannie Crawford, Chairperson of the Henry County Council on Aging, read:
“The Henry County Council on Aging wishes to go on record to make the following statement. We unanimously and wholeheartedly support the reinstatement of Sandy Craig to the position of Director of the Henry County Senior Citizens Service. We sincerely believe that the County Manager, Linda Angus, and the Human Service Division Director, Michael Sabine, have not been supportive of Sandy Craig’s effort to provide senior services. Sandy has been an employee for the County for 19 years, and has brought many needed services to and for our community. Therefore, the primary charges against Sandy appear to be ‘trumped up.’ They are as follows:
Referring to the first charge, how does one control a group that is wise and unchallenged in their positions? How do we really control adults?
In reference to the last charge, we all who know Ms. Craig recognize she will not close down an entire operation on her own recognizant. She has requested permission in the past; why would she omit to discuss and request for something as big as this now? The senior newsletter was approved by Michael Sabine prior to printing, and the closing of the Center was included and listed on the website. We feel that Sandy did no wrong. Therefore, we are requesting your support in our efforts to reinstate Ms. Craig as Director of the Henry County Senior Citizens Services. Thank you for your vote of confidence in Sandy Craig.”
Mrs. Frances Wilkerson said, “I have known Sandy Craig since the day she was born. She was raised in Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church and grew up to be a fine lady. My husband and I were counselors of MYF, and Sandy was in our group. We never had a moments trouble with Sandy and she was very cooperative. My husband and I have been members of Council on Aging for 12 years. We have watched Ms. Craig work faithfully to do her job; she has taken nothing and developed it into two of the greatest Centers in the State of Georgia. She had a great vision when she came into that job, and she worked very hard to implement those visions she saw. Sandy has compassion for senior citizens of Henry County. She has never mistreated anyone, and she wants the best for her senior citizens. She is well known in the neighboring counties which is a great asset to the job at the Center. Her knowledge should continue to be used, and my husband and I feel Sandy should be reinstated as Director of Henry County’s Senior Services.” Ms. Wilkerson asked those who represented Ms. Craig in the audience to stand.
Ms. Gloria Quattlebaum, a member of the Henry County Senior Citizens’ Watchdog Committee and a representative of the Henry County Retired Educators Association, who voted to sanction and support the Watchdog Committee, said she was here to speak only for herself. She began reading what the County Manager said which was directly quoted from the newspaper:
“We will begin a search across the southeast within a week to fill this vacancy which is more of a day to day operation position. Our goal is to hire not only the most talented person for the job, but also to ensure that anyone hired demonstrates genuine concern for the lives touched by our senior programs on a daily basis.”
“Gentlemen, who better does that describe than Sandy Craig? Give her back the job; she was doing well before she was moved. The rumors I have heard and the information we have been given as to her removal just do not ring true. Please make us understand; if you have reasons for her removal, help us understand why you arbitrarily allowed her removal. Please make us feel good about it. Thank you.”
Ms. Carol Bloodworth, Co-Chairperson for the Watchdog Committee, thanked Chairman Maddox and the Board of Commissioners for the opportunity to speak openly and publicly about the senior citizens’ concerns. Ms. Bloodworth said they were seeking the Board’s help, because this cannot be accomplished without the assistance of the Board. She stated Ms. Craig has brought the Senior Centers from the ground up, and said the citizens of Henry County were very proud of these services. She said Sandy Craig has a heart for seniors and the best person for the position as Director. Ms. Bloodworth asked for Sandy Craig to be reinstated in her position.
Mr. Dick Morris requests to address the Board of Commissioners regarding the Commissioners’ and Sheriff’s salaries. Mr. Morris started by informing the Commissioners that the sound system was not adequate because people in the audience could not hear. (There was applause from the audience.)
“My name is Dick Morris and I live in McDonough. I served in the Army, served in the infantry, and retired after 21 years. After I left the Army, I joined the Police Department and served 27 years. Some of the things that I am going to say, you will not agree with. I know if I was sitting on your side, I would not agree with it either. But I would like to say if your staff members or the County Attorney have any comments, please feel free to direct them to me. To better understand this process of salary increases, I sent e-mails and asked for information from other counties for a comparison. First, the Henry County Sheriff’s salary increased $30,000. Second, the Commissioners received at least a $10,000 increase, but the employees of Henry County received 3%. The individuals I contacted with Henry County government have been more than gracious and helpful.”
“I would like to come back at a later date and talk about what the Henry County judges are now making.”
“Regarding salary increases, was there a study made of what the Board was to receive? I would like to state what I think went on. My concern is presently you are the highest paid Board of Commissioners and Sheriff out of 159 counties in the State of Georgia. Evidently, we are No. 1. Looking at Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, Bibb and Hall Counties, all these counties have a higher population than Henry County. For example, Fulton County’s population in Atlanta is 825,000 people. Jackie Barrett who is the Sheriff of Fulton County is the exception; she makes $135,000. But she is serving a county three or four times the population of Henry County.”
“Cobb County has 650,000 people; the Chairman makes $106,000, but they are under a different form of government. They do not have a County Manager who usually does the ‘leg work.’ The Cobb County Commissioners make $35,000. When I said we are No. 1; we are really No.1! The Sheriff of Cobb County is paid $110,000; our Sheriff makes $121,000. I do not understand how that happened.”
“Gwinnett County has 650,000 people since the last census in 2000. The Chairman of the Board of Commissioners makes $54,184; Chairman Maddox in Henry County makes $58,000. The Commissioners in Cobb County make $14,000 and their Sheriff makes $116,000.”
“Bibb County has 154,000 people. The Chairman of the Board of Commissioners makes $97,000, but this County like Cobb County, has a different form of government. The Chairman is the top official; they also do not have a County Manager.”
Chairman Maddox informed Mr. Morris that his time was almost up. Mr. Morris thanked the Board for their time, and said he would be back at the next meeting to continue his speech. He asked again if the Board would take a look at the sound system. Mr. Morris thanked Staff for their assistance in gathering information.
Commissioner Holder said Mr. Morris had done timely research into the pay increase. The Commissioner stated in the newspaper articles referred to, the press never interviewed him. He said, “you never saw my name in the articles except I voted for the pay adjust plan.” Commissioner Holder said the record shows that he voted for the pay adjustment, as presented by staff, which would bring the County to market in pay increase. As far as the Commissioners’ pay, “the record will show by checking with the Finance Department, I would not accept the increase, and I have not accepted the increase, and I will not accept the increase.” The Commissioner said the paper never interviewed him to make that comment. He stated there are many things out there, and Mr. Morris needs to go further in his investigation.
Mr. Morris questioned whether the Board realizes this Commission is the only County Commission in the State whose pay is based on the Sheriff’s salary?
Commissioner Harper said he was the Commissioner mentioned in the newspaper who refused the pay raise. “I did not accept it; and for the record to show at the time the pay increase went into effect, I was making $35,000 a year as Vice-Chairman. I have gone backwards to $30,000. I took a $5,900 pay cut; I have kept the District Commissioner’s salary for the previous term.” He said he would not accept the raise.
Commissioner Freedman encouraged Mr. Morris to stay for the entirety of the meeting because he had a resolution he was going to ask the Board to pass. He said he was going to ask them to submit legislation that the Commissioners do not have their pay tied to the Sheriff, but that it gets tied to the State Court Judge, which is a static pay (which does not fluctuate like the Sheriff, based on population).
Mr. Morris said he would be delighted to stay, “but the President is speaking tonight, and I forgot to set my VCR, so I am going to have to rush home.”
Mr. Leon A. Forrer requests to address the Board of Commissioners regarding Stormwater and Greenspace. Mr. Forrer addressed the Chairman saying he would like to pass. The Chairman granted his request.
Ordinances – Public Hearings:
An Ordinance for the purpose of amending Article V, Chapter 3-2 of the code of Henry County, Georgia; and for other purposes – Code Enforcement Board.
Chairman Maddox said this is an Ordinance the County Attorney was asked to prepare. This is an Ordinance for the purpose of amending Article V within Chapter 3-2 of the Henry County Code of Ordinances adopted May 1, 1984, as amended, by creating Sections 3-2-57 through 3-2-69 establishing a Board of Code Enforcement; and for other purposes.
WHEREAS, state law provides for the creation of local Code Enforcement Boards; and
WHEREAS, such Boards may provide a fair and impartial tribunal for resolving violations of county codes and ordinances; and
WHEREAS, Henry County has an interest in insuring that both the letter and spirit of its laws are enforced; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners finds that creation of a local Code Enforcement Board would be in the best interest of the public;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF HENRY COUNTY, GEORGIA, AND IT IS HEREBY ORDAINED BY THE AUTHORITY OF SAME that the Henry County Code of Ordinances adopted May 1, 1984, as amended, is hereby amended by creating Sections 3-2-57 through 3-2-69 establishing a Board of Code Enforcement.
Chairman Maddox asked the Board to turn to page 3 in this Ordinance under the entitled, ‘Membership,’ and noted a change.
“Each Commissioner, excluding the Chairman, shall nominate one member to the Board of Code Enforcement and a panel of potential qualified members to be established by County Staff and Commissioners.”
Commissioner Holman asked if the intention was for the nominee to be selected from a Commissioner’s District.
Commissioner Freedman said he would think so.
Chairman Maddox responded, “if there are going to be other qualified members to be established by the County Staff, how are you going to enforce that? You could have all the members coming from one section of the County if you do not do something on that order.”
The County Attorney, Patrick Jaugstetter, said the last time it was discussed his recollection was the Board decided not to make the appointments per district. He said it could be done either way. The thinking on the draft you have now is you may find more qualified people not evenly spread out in the districts. Mr. Jaugstetter said the representation from the district comes by virtue of each District Commissioner making one nomination. What this calls for is the Staff and the Board to create a list of potential Code Enforcement Board Members.
Chairman Maddox said it has been discussed to select the most qualified from a pool.
Commissioner Holman offered a suggestion that if the Commissioners make a nomination and present it to Staff, Staff then can determine if that nominee is qualified to serve on the Board. If he/she is, the Board of Commissioners could ratify that nominee.
Mr. Jaugstetter said State Law allows us to create this Board and specifically says one or more of the members should have training, education, experience and expertise either in County Code Enforcement, property management, engineering, construction, or law. He said we want to make sure the people appointed meet that requirement.
Commissioner Holman made a recommendation each Commissioner should select a person from their district who will represent the County uniformly, and submit to Staff for investigation to meet the criteria. If the individual does not qualify, then select another nominee.
Commissioner Harper said he and Commissioner Holder had discussed the Hospital Authority and how it is set up. He said we would all agree the Hospital Authority is an immensely important Board, and the Authority and the State Law actually setting the Hospital Authorities for the entire State of Georgia says, “if you meet the requirements to serve on that Board, you simply must come from within the confines of that County.” He said what this means is, it is an ‘at large’ appointment.
Commissioner Holder said this Board of Commissioners will probably adopt this Code Enforcement Board. But he said he would caution this Board. “What we are doing is creating a Board to circumvent the judicial system that is currently in place in this County and has been for many years. We talk about taking politics out; if we make the appointments, we are having a politically motivated Board. I have a problem with it, and I will not support this Board of Code Enforcement.” He said he was expressing his concern at this point. Commissioner Holder said this is a bigger issue than any of us realize because of the fallout that can come from creating this Board, and it will outweigh what some of their potentials as Board Members are.
Chairman Maddox said according to the Ordinance, “whereas the State Law provides for the creation of a local Code Enforcement Board.” He said he did not think the Board is stepping beyond its means, if we go by what the State has passed.
Commissioner Holder stated, “we currently have a judicial system in place, a step away from the political structure of the Board of Commissioners to handle the violations of our various ordinances and codes. I would ask this Board to look hard, and if the Board has a problem with the judicial system, we need to work that out with the judicial system and not create a Board or another ‘court’ to be in competition with the existing judicial system that will handle these same cases.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “a year and a half ago the County Attorney brought me a list of issues that had been taken before the Courts on silt fence violations, polluting our streams, and stealing water. The resolution of the Courts was minimal, and we have repeat offenders maybe because of that. The County Attorney, at that time, suggested we needed to get some control over these environmental violations. Destroying the environment is not a lightly taken subject. We need to take it seriously because we are getting our trees cut and our streams violated and our water polluted.”
Commissioner Holman said he had spent the day with the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. He said he had six (6) ordinances in his hand, and the Stormwater Management Group “recommends we do exactly what we are doing here.” He said they discourage sending violations of codes to the Magistrate Court because there is a fine that amounts to ‘nothing.’ He said we are going to undertake additional ordinance enforcement when we roll out our Stormwater Management. We will have an ordinance to prevent flood damage, open space development, and illegal discharge and illegal connection ordinance. We will also have a litter control ordinance, all underneath the name of Stormwater Management. Commissioner Holman said this is the perfect mechanism to enforce environmental and code violations.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to adopt this Ordinance that will amend the Sections 3-2-57 through 3-2-69, also known as the Board of Code Enforcement. Commissioner Adams seconded.
Commissioner Freedman said in 3-2-59 – Membership, we should say, “the Board should consists of five (5) members appointed from each Commission District and approved by Staff background research.”
Commissioner Holman amended his motion to include those amendments discussed and asked the County Attorney to correct to reflect the nominees are selected from a Commission District and those names are delivered to Staff, and they will determine if that nominee is qualified to sit on the Board. The sections Commissioner Freedman made reference to in the appropriate sections (the how and where to pay), the fines and the clarification language on the remittance should be included. Commissioner Adams amended his second.
Commissioner Holder said this entire Board is a one party affiliation. He said that form of government calls for smaller government, less governmental control. He said, “what we have done tonight increases the size of government because we have created another form of enforcement running parallel with the Magistrate Court. Every time we create an ordinance for whatever reason, we have taken a little bit more freedom away from our citizens. Like it or don’t like it; that’s just the way it is. Smaller government, less governmental control; we have gone exactly opposite to what those platforms are when we do this tonight.”
Commissioner Adams said he agreed with Commissioner Holder in that you do lose a little bit of freedom with laws, but if you did not have laws, you would have an anarchy. He said because things were not getting done at the judicial level, the Board has got to take other action.
The Chairman asked if there was any opposition in the audience before the vote was taken.
Mr. Carey Bunn came forth and stated, “I cannot believe this Board is going to appoint a vigilante committee, but if you are going to appoint one, can I get on the committee? There are several people I would like to nail to the wall, and then I would get off. I cannot believe the Board is seriously considering taking five ‘yahoos’ like me and making them a judge, jury and hangman. What in the world are we thinking about? You can do this if you want to; I have never received a citation in my life, but I will never appear before them. The Sheriff, who just received his big pay raise, would have to come get me. I will not honor this; I do not care what the State says. The State does not run a perfect program for us to say, ‘we can do this because the State says we can.’ That is a poor excuse to do something. I cannot believe this is being considered! I thought it was a joke, and I am not about to change my opinion of it.”
Commissioner Freedman responded to Mr. Bunn by saying this Code Enforcement Board is not writing the citations; these are the same citations that are being written by Code Enforcement. They are just going to a different place. They have not created any new laws and this is not a kangaroo court. This is a way to expedite and enforce the code enforcement violations being written. The Commissioner said if you have never had one in the past nor in the future, this will not affect you. He said it was very unfair for Mr. Bunn to call this a vigilante committee. This is just a better way of ensuring the law is being followed. Commissioner Freedman said he would feel quite confident that the citizens of the County who care what is going on out there would make a valid decision.
Mr. Lavon Dickey said he agreed with Carey Bunn. He said he had to cover thirteen (13) counties in the metropolitan area and see code violations every day, and Henry County is no exception. Mr. Dickey said we have ordinances, in his opinion, that discriminate, and this Board would be an ideal situation to discriminate. He said there is a tree ordinance, a soil erosion ordinance and others, and the Commissioners should get out and ride their districts and follow behind their County employees. Mr. Dickey said he thought we have courts that are capable of handling this situation, and he said he was disappointed the Board was considering this. He said this is not a mandate; it is a volunteer thing. He respectfully asked for the Board to table this and give more thought to it for more public discussion.
Chairman Maddox said, “we had a public meeting on this issue, and it was advertised in the newspaper. When you are sitting here on the Board, you are looking at a different situation. I wish you could see some of the paperwork that crosses my desk about some of the code violations our employees are writing and what happens to them at the end. Lavon, I think you or anyone else would have a different outlook if you could see what we see.”
Mr. Dickey responded, “basically what you are saying is the violations are being written and citations are issued, and the courts are not doing their job.
Chairman Maddox said that is not what he is saying.
Commissioner Holman reminded the Board that this will become effective April 1, 2004, and we need to get our nominees into staff so they can begin their screening process. He asked the Chairman to give the Board a deadline.
Chairman Maddox said he had a discussion with the County Attorney during the week and said this may not happen on April 1st.
Commissioner Harper asked what is the solution if such a Board is created? Do they all need to be lawyers to create a formal court? He asked Mr. Dickey if he disagreed with the qualifications to become a member of the Board.
Mr. Dickey said, “yes.”
Commissioner Harper asked what he thought the qualifications should be. Commissioner Harper offered to read the existing qualifications. “you should appoint somebody with experience or expertise relevant to County codes under the jurisdiction of this Board such as property management, engineering, construction, and/or law.”
Mr. Dickey said he thought there should be a representative from each of the fields; he did not feel they should be all lawyers, or all engineers, etc.
Since the motion had been made, Chairman Maddox asked for a vote; the motion carried 4-1-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Harper, Adams and Holman voting for the motion and Commissioner Holder voting against.
Mr. G. Michael Chamlee (RZ-03-50) has applied for a rezoning from RM (Multiple Family Residence) to C-2 (General Commercial) for the retail commercial development, located on Parcel Number 068D-03021000; for property located on State Route 42, in Land Lots 33 of the 12th District. The property contains 2.28+/- acres and the request is for the development of a retail shopping center. The Municipal Planning Commission reviewed and recommended approval of the request with the following conditions:
There was no opposition to this request.
Commissioner Adams asked Mr. Chamlee if he was aware of the sewer moratorium. He asked if he was planning to put this on septic. Mr. Chamlee said he was planning to have septic.
Mr. Chamlee said this construction was for a Dollar General Store. Commissioner Adams said he would like to add a condition #9 to state this was to be used for a retail store.
Chairman Maddox said in condition #1 he would like for it to read, “brick, stone, or glass or any combination thereof.” He wanted to remove the word, “stucco.”
Commissioner Holman said he was not happy with the septic tank, but he would like for condition #1 to read “all sides will be constructed of brick, stone, glass or any combination thereof.”
Commissioner Holman asked if Mr. Chamlee was familiar with the term “reciprocal parking.” He said Mr. Chamlee’s property adjoins property that is presently vacant. The Commissioner said when that develops, let’s assume commercial, you will have the parking lots connect to each other so if a patron pulls into your establishment and wants to shop next door, he/she will not have to get back on Highway 42; they can just go from one parking lot to the next. Commissioner Holman asked if he would agree for this to be a condition. Mr. Chamlee said, “no;” he did not see it as a problem.
Commissioner Freedman stated there is an issue called LCI which is the Livable Communities Initiative. He noted the Board is trying to follow this, because he did not know if we had required reciprocal parking, but we have certainly required connectivity.
Commissioner Adams said he wanted to make a change to condition #8 to protect the applicant. “Sewer or operational septic system to be installed on-site prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy.” Also, Commissioner Adams restated that condition #9 would state this will be a retail store.
Commissioner Adams said there would be a condition #10 adding connectivity parking.
Commissioner Adams made a motion to approve the resolution for a rezoning for the retail commercial development with the ten (10) conditions; Commissioner Harper seconded; the motion carried 5-0-0, with Commissioners Holder, Holman, Freedman, Harper and Adams voting in favor.
Commissioner Harper made a motion to approve Item XI-A, B, & C the Consent Agenda for all committees; Commissioner Holder seconded. Commissioner Freedman reminded the Board Item A-5 and B-2 have been removed.
Chairman Maddox referenced Item A-2, “request approval to execute a memorandum of understanding with the City of Hampton for the County to perform certain services with regard to the Phase II NPDES General Stormwater Permit.” He said he would like the Board to consider this to be a part of House Bill 489. Chairman Maddox stated he would like this to be removed until House Bill 489 has been negotiated.
Commissioner Holman agreed and said he would ask Commissioner Harper to revise this amendment.
A. Public Works:
1. Request approval for payment of fee agreement between Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District and Henry County (Exhibit #6)
2. Request approval to execute a memorandum of understanding with the City of Hampton for the County to perform certain services with regard to the Phase II NPDES General Stormwater Permit (Exhibit #7) – Removed.
3. Request approval to modify the current DOT District Priority List by moving the resurfacing of Manderly Drive up on the list (Exhibit #8)
4. Request approval to reallocate funds for park improvements to South Cedar Park from a football storage building to the correction of drainage problems on the existing baseball fields, additional paving and landscaping (Exhibit #9)
5. Request approval for the grading of four soccer fields at North Mt. Carmel Park to Lambert Sand and Gravel Co., Inc. (Exhibit #10) – Removed.
6. Request approval to execute an agreement with the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for Reimbursement of post-closure landfill activities (Exhibit #11)
7. Request approval to modify the DOT District III Priority List by removing two improvements and replacing them with other projects (Exhibit #12)
B. Human & Community Services:
1. Request approval of an amendment to the Georgia Department of Human Resources contract for Transportation Operating Assistance for Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Grant (5310) (Exhibit #13)
2. Request approval to purchase four (4) defibrillator units to be placed at the Senior Centers (Exhibit #14) – Removed.
3. Request from the Flint Council on Violence for support from the 5% Victims/Witness Assistance Fund (Exhibit #15)
C. Economic Development: (The Economic Development Committee will meet on Thursday and any items submitted to the Board will be delivered to you on Friday.) There were no items under C.
Commissioner Holder said Item A-2 was discussed in the Public Works Committee Meeting and this was a prime example why the committee structure leaves at least three (3) of the Commissioners out of every loop on everything that is done. It was discussed and Hampton is willing to do all except two steps, one being education which is some of the preliminary steps to Stormwater Management.
Commissioner Harper said he did not attend the Public Works Committee Meeting, but these are two small items they are paying a fee for. The County Manager said it was insignificant; they will pay the fee and we are already doing the service. He thought we should work with the cities and try to start a new relationship with them.
Commissioner Holman asked to be enlightened on the intentions of the City of Hampton to meet their Stormwater Management.
Commissioner Harper said they are doing everything except these two items. He assumes they are taking over the NPDES. He said it was his understanding they needed help on these two items, and if they will pay us to do it, he is not going to worry about the City of Hampton’s business.
Commissioner Freeman said he was taking the positive side; “we should be doing this as unified government, not that the cities do this separately from the counties. We should do this uniformly with unity rather than Hampton saying they are going to do their Stormwater Management themselves. We should reach out to McDonough, Locust Grove and others and say, ‘let’s do this together.’ This is the positive approach. Why are we doing two things for them; why aren’t we doing more?” He said we could do this as a joint operation.
Commissioner Holder said in the last year, the City of Hampton has asked to do their own planning and zoning; the City of Locust Grove is in the process of doing theirs. He said we sit here as a Board and wonder why the cities do not want to be in with us. There is a reason and we have all heard it – annexations. Commissioner Holder said, “every city was given an opportunity when we were discussing Stormwater a year ago to participate with the County in having a unified Stormwater Management Plan. But when we got stalled with the Water Authority, the cities went their own way. At that time, everything failed.”
Chairman Maddox asked for a vote on the motion. The motion carried 4-1-0, with Commissioners Harper, Holder, Freedman and Adams voting in favor; Commissioner Holman voted against.
Board of Commissioners:
Commissioners(s) Comments – Chairman Maddox recognized Commissioner Freedman and said after he reads his Pay Plan Resolution, before the Board can vote on it, it will have to go back to the Administration and Finance Committee.
Commissioner Freedman read his comments regarding the Pay/Compensation Plan: “In December of 2003, the Henry County Board of Commissioners approved a new Pay/Compensation Plan for employees and elected officials of Henry County.”
“The new Compensation Plan was based on an extensive and comprehensive pay study done by our County Manager, Finance Director and Staff. The study took approximately 6 months to complete, and relied on comparative salary data from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), and 20 counties and cities throughout Georgia.”
“Based on Staff recommendations, the Pay/Compensation Plan was approved. Inherent in the new plan was a pay raise for the County Sheriff, based on population, longevity, and state-wide comparisons. By law, Henry County Commissioners’ salary is based on compensation paid the sheriff: in this case, the County Chairman receives 40% of the Sheriff’s compensation, the Vice-Chairman 45%, and the remaining Commissioners 30%. In fact, no Commissioner could determine his own compensation, since it is prescribed by law.”
“Soon after the new Pay/Compensation Plan was approved, the Board of Commissioners learned that their new pay scale was among the highest in the Metro Area. This was not our intent, our desire, nor our choosing.”
“Any elected officials’ job is difficult at best, and unrewarding at the worst. But none of our Commissioners sought or holds his position for the pay.”
“However, in clear conscience and in budget-minded times, I feel we need to re-examine and revise the Commissioners’ compensation.”
“Tonight, I am asking our Board of Commissioners to approve a resolution, which I will read shortly, requesting our state local legislative delegation to draw legislation realigning the Henry County Board of Commissioners’ compensation to be based on the state-established salary of the Superior Court Judges, excluding any local supplement(s), rather than the County Sheriff.”
“The result of this will be as follows:
“This issue is an important one. Commissioner Adams and I each received three (3) negative e-mails regarding the new Pay Plan, one of which the sender sent us a follow-up e-mail apologizing for the earlier one. This does not reflect an overwhelming opposition or outcry, considering we have approximately 155,000 residents in the County. But it is, nonetheless, an important issue because of the message it sends our citizens.”
“This action, if approved by our Board of Commissioners, will show that we recognize the importance of being fair-minded and are willing to un-do something we feel was, on second look, an idea and an action that needed correcting. Tonight we are taking that action.”
RESOLUTION NO. _________
A RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
REQUESTING HENRY COUNTY’S LOCAL LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION
TO PROPOSE LEGISLATION CHANGING THE COMPENSATION OF
THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF HENRY COUNTY, GEORGIA
WHEREAS, on December 4, 2003 the Board of Commissioners adopted a comprehensive pay plan affecting the salaries paid to County employees and elected officials; and
WHEREAS, as a result of the pay plan, the salaries of the Board of Commissioners increased by a large percentage; and
WHEREAS, this increase was an unintended result of the pay plan; and
WHEREAS, the Commissioners’ salaries were established by a Local Act of the Georgia Legislature in 1990; and
WHEREAS, this Local Act links the salaries of the Commissioners to the total salary of the Sheriff of Henry County, Georgia; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners finds that linking the Commissioners’ salaries to the salary of the Sheriff could result in unintended fluctuations in the salaries paid to Commissioners; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners of Henry County, Georgia, desires to establish a fair, consistent and equitable salary schedule for the members of the Board of Commissioners; and
WHEREAS, linking the Commissioners’ salaries to the state-paid salary of a Judge of the Superior Court of Henry County, Georgia would provide a more consistent system for establishing the Commissioners’ salaries.
NOW THEREFORE, be it and it is hereby RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners of Henry County, Georgia, that the local legislative delegation of Henry County, Georgia is called upon and requested to present local legislation that would change the salaries to be paid to the members of the Board of Commissioners of Henry County, Georgia as follows:
The Chairman of the Board shall receive an annual salary in an amount equal to forty (40) percent of the annual base salary paid by the State of Georgia to the Judges of the Superior Court of Henry County, Georgia. The Vice-Chairman of the Board shall receive an annual salary in an amount equal to thirty-five (35) percent of the annual base salary paid by the State of Georgia to the Judges of the Superior Court of Henry County, Georgia. The other members of the Board shall receive an annual salary equal to thirty (30) percent of the annual base salary paid by the State of Georgia to the Judges of the Superior Court of Henry County, Georgia. Said salaries shall be payable in equal monthly installments out of the general funds of Henry County. The Chairman and each other member of the Board shall also receive an expense allowance for in-county travel of two thousand four hundred dollars ($2,400.00) per annum, payable in equal monthly installments out of the funds of Henry County.
SO RESOLVED, this _____ day of ______________________, 2004.
Commissioner Freedman asked his fellow Commissioners to support this. He said he thought it was the right way to go. He said, “if it has to go to the Committee, I will accept that.”
Commissioner Holman made a motion to send the above resolution to the Administrative and Finance Committee for approval before it comes before the full Board. Commissioner Adams seconded.
Commissioner Harper said, “I chair the Administration and Finance Committee and the argument is I objected to things not going to Committee before, but since it is something I feel we should address, we do not have to go to Committee on it. I totally disagree with that logic. Beyond that, the person making the motion to alter (not rescind) the pay raise is the person who made the motion to grant it to begin with.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “point out of order.”
Commissioner Harper addressed the Chairman and said he had the floor.
Commissioner Freedman said, “we do not attack other Commissioners; that’s in our resolution.”
Commissioner Harper continued saying the pre-prepared statement read, “no Commissioner could have determined his own compensations; it is prescribed by law. We could have determined it before it was adopted and it was pre-printed on page 1 of the Compensation Plan with the Commissioners listed at the top. I knew it was going to be the largest in the Metro Area. We should not have adopted it to begin with, if this is the feelings of the Board. I would totally be in favor of redoing it. Now we are going to get a salary and a $2,400 per year expense account for traveling the County. What I do now is go to the gas station and pay for my own gas and I drive around my district, and that is what I will continue to do. I do not need a $2,400 a year expense account for in-County travel. We should go back to the way things were.”
Commissioner Freedman responded, “you are getting that allowance right now in your salary so you better check your pay stubs.”
Commissioner Holder agreed to keep things in the proper perspective, the resolution should go before the Committee. He said if there is a change, the decision should be forwarded quickly to the Legislature.
Chairman Maddox asked for a vote on the motion to send the resolution to the Administrative and Finance Committee; the motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Harper, Holman and Adams voting in favor.
Request approval of a resolution in support of SPLOST Projects shared with the Cities to the Legislature for the current Legislative Session. Commissioner Holman made a motion to approve the resolution; Commissioner Holder seconded.
Commissioner Holder said this came from Public Works and was submitted to us by the ACCG. It encouraged us to contact our legislators to show what projects in our County the cities have benefited from in the SPLOST Program. He said every city in this County has benefited from some project in SPLOST. Commissioner Holder said this is a time sensitive issue that needs to get to the legislators.
The vote was taken on the motion to approve the resolution; the motion carried 4-0-1, with Commissioners Harper, Holder, Adams and Holman voting in favor of the motion; Commissioner Freedman abstaining.
Request Approval of a Resolution Adopting a Schedule of Meetings to Review and Discuss the Proposed United Development Code. Henry County has contracted with HDR and Gail Easley to prepare a Unified Development Code for Henry County. Special meetings of the Committee of the Whole of the Board of Commissioners shall be held on the following dates in Conference Room B of the Henry County Administration Building, 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough, Georgia 30253 for the purpose of reviewing and discussing the draft Unified Development Code:
January 26, 2004 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
January 27, 2004 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
February 23, 2004 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
February 24, 2004 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
March 15, 2004 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
March 16, 2004 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
April 19, 2004 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
April 20, 2004 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
May 17, 2004 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
May 18, 2004 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Commissioner Harper moved to adopt the resolution approving the dates. Commissioner Adams seconded. The vote was taken on the motion to adopt the resolution; the motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Harper, Freedman, Holman, Adams and Holder voting in favor.
Approval of Minutes for the January 6th Regular BOC Meeting. Commissioner Harper moved to approve the Minutes for January 6, 2004; Commissioner Holder seconded; the motion carried 5-0-0 with Commissioners Harper, Freedman, Holman, Adams and Holder voting to approve.
District IV Appointment to the Library Board. Chairman Maddox stated this item was tabled at the January 6th Meeting. Commissioner Adams said this item was tabled for thirty (30) days, and it has not been thirty (30) days yet. The Commissioner stated this should have been taken off the Agenda. Commissioner Adams made a motion to table this item for thirty (30) more days; the motion carried 5-0-0, with Commissioners Harper, Freedman, Holman, Adams and Holder voting to approve.
Board of Commissioners’ nominations for the Hospital Authority Board for District I, District II and an At Large position was removed from the Agenda.
Upcoming Meetings: Chairman Maddox announced an addition to the listed upcoming meetings on the Agenda. He stated the Board of Education and Board of Commissioners have a scheduled meeting on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 at 6:30 p.m. in Conference Room B at the Henry County Administration Building, 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough, Georgia 30253.
A. Upcoming Meetings:
1. 1/27/04 (Tuesday) – 9:00 a.m. Public Safety Committee Meeting
2. 2/3/04 (Tuesday) – 9:00 a.m. Regular BOC Meeting
3. 2/5/04 (Thursday) – 9:00 a.m. Public Works Committee Meeting
4. 2/10/04 (Tuesday) – 9:00 a.m. Human & Community Service Committee Meeting
5. 2/12/04 (Thursday) – 9:00 a.m. Administration & Finance Committee Meeting
6. 2/17/04 (Tuesday) – 6:30 p.m. Regular BOC Meeting
Commissioner Holder made a motion to convene into Executive Session in accordance with the provisions of O.C.G.A. and pursuant to the advice of the County Attorney, Patrick Jaugstetter, to discuss the acquisition of real estate, personnel, and matters of litigation; Commissioner Adams seconded; the motion passed 5-0-0 with Commissioners Harper, Freedman, Holman, Adams and Holder voting in favor.
Peggy L. Malcolm
Deputy County Clerk
Copyright © 2004 Henry County Board of Commissioners