Commissioner Walks Out of Work Session During GMA Conference Discussion
A discussion between the mayor and commission regarding the possibility of being able to travel the day before to the upcoming Annual GMA Conference caused one of the commissioners to walk out of the work session this past Monday.
The City of Douglas adopted an Elected Travel Policy in 2018 after some of the charges made by the commission were released by the media. In the policy, it states if classes or meetings exceed 100 miles and start before 9:30 a.m., a commissioner may travel the day prior. The policy also states if the conference exceeds 100 miles and ends after 4:30 p.m., the commissioner may travel back home the next day.
This particular conference, which will take place June 21, 2019, though June 25, 2019, will begin at 1:30 p.m., and by the adopted policy, hotel check in cannot take place until June 21.
All of the commissioners present at the meeting were on board except for Commissioner Olivia Pearson. (Commissioner Kentaiwon Durham was absent from the meeting.)
Pearson stated she felt that since she was “disabled,” she should be allowed to arrive at the hotel the day before and leave the day after the conference was over. However, other commissioners disagreed, stating that the commission has had several other disabled commissioners before who had never requested this particular privilege. Commissioner Taylor told Commissioner Pearson that the commission needed to be good stewards of the citizens’ money. While the issue was being discussed, Commissioner Pearson walked out of the work session until the discussion was over.
The commission ultimately decided to uphold their policy and felt there was plenty of time for everyone traveling to arrive at the hotel before the conference started. All commissioners voted to approve this item except Commissioner Pearson.
The commission approved a bid from Dixie Fence & Kennel Inc. of Douglas and engineer Michael Baker, Inc. in the amount of $127,356.61 for contracted services to install the airfield security fencing at the Douglas Municipal Airport. The project was approved in the Capital Improvement Plan for the Douglas Municipal Airport and will serve a purpose to increase security of the airport by installing a fence along the front entrance tying into the existing perimeter fencing. The project scope will include the installation of the fence, a swing gate, and pedestrian gate.
The commission approved a new event called Southside Saturday at Paulk Plaza in order to attract visitors and shoppers to the business district. Mayor Tony Paulk is the owner and developer of Paulk Plaza, and he stated Southside Saturday would be similar to the current monthly downtown event First Fridays. Southside Saturdays will include music, food, amusement activities, and entertainment.
West Peachtree Street, West Gordon Street, North Daughtry Avenue, and North Wheeler Avenue will be closed from noon until 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, after the commissioners voted to approve the closure for the Pedal4Peace, Stop All Violence event.
The event will feature motivational speakers, disk jockeys, and a bike ride for peace. The participants in the bike ride will ride around Wheeler Park on the city street.
The commission approved a low bid in the combined total amount of $25,088.62 for water/wastewater supplies. The items will be purchased as warehouse stock for the Water/Wastewater departments and used on an as needed basis. These items will be ordered throughout a one-year period as needed if the vendor can hold their low bid prices.
Low bids for the Electrical Department in the total combined amount of $91,263.16 were also approved for warehouse stock. These items will also be ordered throughout a one-year period as needed if the vendor can hold their low bid prices.
The 2019 annual baseball, softball, and swim equipment bid was approved for a grand total of $32,256.28. The equipment will be used for the Recreation Department 2019 Athletic Program and will be ordered on an as needed basis.
Lastly, the second reading took place for the rezoning application for 786 Thompson Drive and was followed by approval from all commissioners. Todd Winkler previously requested the rezoning from M-2, Industrial (Heavy) Zoning District to the M-1, (Light) Zoning District for the property. The subject is a 1.02 tract of land with an existing industrialized building, which he plans to turn into a used car lot.
The next meeting of the city commission will take place on March 25, 2019, at City Hall beginning at 7 p.m.