Citizens can attend this open meeting to hear about that flooding study, traffic cameras, compensation, and other issues, even though it’s inconveniently located in another county, almost as if the Valdosta City Council didn’t want you to see what they’re doing. If City Hall wouldn’t do, why not the Convention Center? It has its own chef. Like the VDT editorialized, there was no need to go to a out-of-town fancy resort.
Joe Adgie wrote for the VDT 8 January 2014, Valdosta City Council retreating in Moultrie,
The two-day event will feature discussion of issues that Mayor John Gayle and the City Council want to focus on in the coming year, as well as priorities for the legislative delegation and the Georgia Department of Transportation.
In addition, the results of a city employee compensation study will be released and discussed at the retreat.
The number one issue listed by the council for the current year involves funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for a levee and pump proposal.
According to the city, USACE has recommended a levee to handle the city’s flooding problems that follow heavy rains.
These levees would not prevent floods, but would reduce the “depth and duration” of floods, according to the city and USACE.
Lots more in that story about red light cameras, a traffic roundabout, employee compensation, and other items. And this:
Friday and Saturday, with the Friday event starting at 9 a.m. with a breakfast and concluding at 8 p.m. with dinner, and the Saturday event starting at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast and concluding at 5 p.m. after a closed door executive session with the mayor and council.
Where: Sundown Farms Plantation, 894 Mack Dekle Road, Moultrie, GA 31768, Phone:(229) 985-0652. That’s half way between Moultrie and Coolidge on US 319.
That location has to be almost directly in the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline path, but nothing about that seems to be on the agenda. Too bad; they could follow up their their excellent resolution with an ordinance with teeth.
The VDT thanked Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson for hand-delivering a notice about the retreat, and added, in an editorial whose very headline hinted at lavish expenses, Public’s business going out of town: Lodge for Valdosta city government retreat offers ‘amenities second to none’
It is unfortunate, however, that once again and despite previous urging the mayor and City Council are choosing to take the public’s business out of town.
They are taking your business to Moultrie, to be exact, and will be spending two days at the Sundown Farms Plantation.
The resort is marketed as a 7,000-square-foot lodge that “offers amenities that are second to none.”
The purpose of a local government retreat is to get together and discuss plans and legislative agendas for the coming year.
The city gave public notice and the public is welcome to attend, but the public should not merely be allowed to attend, it should be easy for them to attend any meeting of their own local governmental body.
The practice of many city and county governments of holding out-of-town retreats is not illegal.
However, it is very poor public service to discuss the people’s business in another city.
The editorial goes on for some time like that, using terms like “violation of the public trust” and “The entire mindset of our elected officials needs to change.” Welcome to the club, VDT!
City Council Tim Carroll sent his subscribers a message that included:
We have 44 items on the list. As always, we will receive mid-fiscal year updates on the budget, revenues and projects.
I received several replies from my November email about retreat and have included some on my list.
Retreat focuses mainly on big picture items/issues. At the conclusion we will decide which items should be listed as goals for the upcoming year.
As I have been doing since my first year in office, I will report back to you early next week on the outcome of our retreat and the goals we have established.
That report should be interesting.