Category Archives: LCC 2011-06-28

Ashley Paulk’s Greatest Hits!

No, not every intemperate outburst! We can’t be everywhere. Just the outstanding ones from the podium as chairman in County Commission meetings.

Ashley Paulk is code enforcement

Citizens were opposing a rezoning on Old Pine Road, 8 June 2010. A Mr. Mulligan of Bemiss Road wanted to know who does code enforcement. Chairman Paulk responded:
You’re looking at him. Me.

I locked up some of my best friends!

While he was interrogating Dr. Noll 12 January 2011 who had the temerity to come to invite the Commission to a meeting, Ashley Paulk remarked:
“I was the sheriff sixteen years; I locked up some of my best friends; that’s the way I operate.”
This was shortly after he said: Continue reading

There are problems at the animal shelter. They have not been resolved.

I think it’s time to ask: what did they know, and when did they know it?

Let’s construct a timeline:

  • 2011-05-20 euthanasia violation
  • 2011-05-20 statement from Heather Terry
  • 2011-05-23 County Manager Joe Pritchard tells the Commission and the public:
    “We were not able to substantiate … accusations other than that … castration of pig.”
    That was even though WCTV already reported there had been several euthanasia violations last year.

    Pritchard also said they (the county in its previous investigation, presumably the one of 2010) examined the character of those testifying for the complaints and he said they found biases.

  • 2011-05-24 County Commission Chairman Ashley Paulk tells the Commission and the public:
    “Whatever problems there are, they’re going to be resolved.”
  • 2011-05-24 The VDT quotes County Manager Joe Pritchard as saying:
    “It’s no longer a case of an individual making a claim, as it will be evident by the physical evidence provided by the security cameras.”
    “You take that policy, coupled with the updated standard operating procedures, added to the technical verification and I think that addresses the issues. My purpose is to eliminate any problem or potential problem.”
  • 2011-05-31 statement by Director Linda Patelski saying two people fired for euthanasia violation of 20 May 2011
Continue reading

Arrests for speaking in an Arizona town

Something seems familiar about this story of a couple of people being arrested at small town council meetings for speaking up.

Ben Popken wrote for the Consumerist 15 July 2011, Small Arizona Town In Furor After 2nd Citizen Arrested For Speaking At Town Meeting:

The town of Quartzsite, AZ, population 3,466, is in disarray after a video showing police hauling away a citizen for speaking at the town meeting podium went viral. The woman was saying that the town council had been violating open meeting laws.

It was the second citizen arrested at a Quartzsite town meeting in two weeks.

What’s all this about? Continue reading

Timing confusion —John S. Quarterman

Sent to all four Commissioners and the County Clerk Sunday evening:
Dear Commissioners,

There seems to be confusion as to how long citizens get to be heard. The policy says five minutes. Yet in at least a couple of recent examples, citizens were cut off at less than that,

4 and a half minutes for me on 28 June 2011

4 minutes 39 seconds for Jessica Bryan Hughes on 24 May 2011

You can see the times on the YouTube videos.

This timing confusion may be because

Continue reading

we are to go home, never ask questions —Barbara Stratton

This morning on Lowndes County has transparency issues:
This is typical of all elected & appointed government bodies locally. The common opinion is citizens are only valuable for voting. After we vote we are to go home, never ask questions, never complain, & never comment until it is time to vote again. The common consensus is we are not capable of understanding what our elected/appointed officials are doing so we need to stay out of the process totally. This is nanny state government via local venues. We the people are reduced to you the unendowed & unimportant. John – Our political views are usually polar opposites, but we are always 100% agreed on shinning the light on government black-outs. Keep up the good work.

-Barbara Stratton

Deaf, dumb, and blind –George Boston Rhynes

A comment Monday on Budget Hearing wrapup: no questions were entertained from citizens -jsq:
Soon the people of South Georgia Will see that the old 1860 Valdosta City Chater Mentality is still in force but has been extended to all citiens. That is to keep all citizens deaf; dumb; and blind to what is really going on in South Georgia. But in the end truth, right and equal justice will most certainly win in the end as history always records!

-George Boston Rhynes

Lowndes County has transparency issues —John S. Quarterman @ LCC 28 June 2011

No unfinished drafts will be published while Ashley Paulk is chairman, or so he told us.

I asked him how he recommended citizens provide input to the budget process? He said at every meeting.

So I said I wondered why the county attorney seemed to be overbudget. No response.

Then I got to my main point, which was that the county seems to have a number of transparency issues, such as the missing ordinances he’d just heard about, or Vince Schneider’s Foxborough McDonald’s issues, or the animal shelter issues, or the T-SPLOST list that the Commission approved on the basis of a one page list of one-liner with no details that turns out to include things like $10 million to widen New Bethel Road to Lanier County.

I said I would like to compare the county’s submissions for T-SPLOST funding to the county’s Thoroughfare Plan and the Comprehensive Plan; if I could find those plans online. The Chairman said my five minutes were up. I said “Alrighty” and moseyed back to my seat. As you can see for yourself, it was actually 4 and a half minutes.


Here’s the video: Continue reading

Keep the business of our county in order —Gretchen Quarterman @ LCC 28 June 2011

Should it take more than six months to find the county ordinances that code enforcement needs?

Gretchen Quarterman thanked County Clerk Paige Dukes for helping her in the “neverending answering to my list of questions.” She noted that:

The chairman thinks I’m badgering, but really I’m not. This body makes ordinances, and some of the ordinances are on the website. If you go to the state website, and find out where all the laws of the state are; go to the city of Valdosta’s website, and find out where all the laws of Valdosta are. Go to our website and only find out some of the ordinances.

Paige says she has been diligently working on this and I absolutely positively believe her. And I know it’s very complicated But I really encourage y’all as a body — I’m not trying to tell you how to do your job — but to keep the business of our county in order. Thank you.

She’s been trying to get public access to all the ordinances since December. The county doesn’t even have a list of all the ordinances.

Should it take more than six months to find the local laws that code enforcement needs? Chairman Ashley Paulk and 2 of 3 voting Commissioners, Crawford Powell and Richard Raines, are businessmen. Could they run a business when resolutions of the board were nowhere to be found?


Here’s the video: Continue reading

Budget Hearing wrapup: no questions were entertained from citizens

Paulk and Pritchard wrapped up the budget hearing, quite well, except at the very end, when about 2 seconds were allowed for citizens to say they wanted to speak before the hearing was ended. So that’s two budget hearings with no citizen input: the first one nobody knew about, and this one where nobody was permitted to speak.

Chairman Ashley Paulk thanked county employees for their cooperation. He noted that even the constitutional officers, who could appeal their budgets, had not. He noted the jail accounted for about half the sheriff’s budget, calling it an expensive operation. He said that his office had accounted for 3 of the 8 layoffs last time, and fortunately there were no more this time. He said: Continue reading

Budget presentation —Stephanie Black @ LCC 28 June 2011

More than half of Lowndes County expenditures go to law enforcement, including sheriff, courts, and the jail.

At Tuesday’s budget hearing, Lowndes County Finance Director Stephanie Black presented the proposed 2012 budget to the Commission.

Here are the details of the budget, as photographed by Gretchen from the single copy provided for the public to see by the county clerk.

Here are photographs of her slides.

Here’s a playlist of the videos.

A couple more videos of this hearing to come of remarks by Chairman Ashley Paulk and County Manager Joe Pritchard in this budget hearing, plus a related video from the Citizens Wishing to be Heard later that same day.