Those who follow and attend BOC meetings deplore the vote of Nov. 18th to move citizen comments to the end of each meeting. That means the commissioners won’t hear from the public until after votes are taken on agenda items. This clearly says the majority of the BOC doesn’t care what citizens have to say or think. But wait until the next election. Listen now or listen then.
Of course, the agenda itself is a moving target, free form and unpredictable despite what is handed out in advance.
Frequently in recent months, all it takes is a motion from a district commissioner and a majority vote to add unplanned items to the agenda. County ordinances do not permit an agenda change except by written request to the chair on the day before each meeting. Last minute agenda changes don’t permit sufficient public notice of a topic to be discussed and therefore sidestep the possibility of legitimate research and comment by the public before an action is taken. Apparently the county attorney approves illegal agenda additions because he doesn’t say otherwise.
But then again, commission action can be easily erased as if it never occurred. All it takes is for the county attorney to take a shower. At the Sept. 16th meeting, Tommy Craig reported that in the shower one day he decided that board action he approved on Sept. 2nd to remove District Commissioner J.C. Henderson from fiduciary positions was actually illegal. In order to correct the now “illegal” censure, District Commissioner John Douglas moved to strike from the minutes of the previous meeting the vote to deny Henderson his positions of fiscal responsibility. What should have followed was a vote to restore Henderson’s positions, but no, simply erasing minutes was deemed legal and sufficient to restore Henderson. Both the Georgia First Amendment Foundation and the Association County Commissioners of Georgia deem the erasure of minutes to be illegal. But the county attorney approved it.
To the Chair and the BOC: check that legal advice and what we pay for it. We’re paying for the best there is, but is it always wise - and legal?