In nearby Brooks Georgia, the Community will have a school again in the 2016-17 school year. The difference is that the former elementary school will open as Liberty Tech, Fayette Countys’ first state chartered public school . The Fayette Board of Education on January 19 th approved a three year lese of the former Brooks Elementary School. The Liberty Tech board said they are thrilled and humbled at the level of confidence of the Fayette County Board of Education . This is not some after thought, but the result of months of negotiations. If you are interested in having your child attend the new liberty Tech Charter School in Brooks you can visit www.libertytech-chater.org for registration details about the school. Registration will be open until February 15th with a lottery to be held on February 20 th. The inaugural year will include 283 children in grades 3 thru 8,The School will add one grade each year until it reaches grades K-12 with a capacity of 632 students. The school will serve the south metro area, and will include a 210 day school year, the educational model is a merger between Classical Education and Science, Technology , Engineering, and Math.
As Chairman of the Defense & Veterans Affairs Committee I had the high honor of presiding over the annual welcoming of our Georgia National Guard. The United States has never depended on a large standing army. We have depended on National Guard Units throughout the country who train once a month and for a week or so during the summer. We also depend on a draft when a war starts.
I served in a famous unit in WWII; the 35th Infantry Division which consisted of a regiment from each of these states’ Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. I joined them as their Liaison Pilot before they were sent to Europe in WWII.
The Commanding Generals presented a program which included me presiding over the swearing in of a new army recruit joining the unit. During the week my Motor Vehicles Committee and the House Appropriations Committee met and we had a meeting of the House Republican Caucus. After meeting to make final adjustments to the present year’s budget we passed it out of the House and to the State Senate for their approval. When we come back next week we will start hearings on the new budget which will cover the period from July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017.
We have also had a joint session of the House and Senate where the Judiciary covered their budget requests.
If you would like to talk to me about the budget or any item of government; I can be reached in my office at Room 217 State Capitol each day at (404) 656-5126 and I can also be reached before 8:00PM at my home at (770) 227-1474. I can also be reached by email John.Yates@house.ga.gov
The Griffin Police Department would like to ease the public’s concern over the recent social media post on the Spalding County Discussion Page. The subject holds no threat to the citizens of Griffin-Spalding County at this time. He has been identified and resides in another jurisdiction. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Griffin Police Department at 770-229-6450.
The Griffin City Commissioners Met Tuesday night January 26th at the city offices downtown.
During the meeting the Commissioners received Certifies of Appreciation to each City Commissioner for their help with the Honor of our KIA from Mr. Quimby Melton Jr. chairman for 2016 of the KIA Committee for their help with this past year when a total of twenty fallen local heroes were honored with oral histories, news stories, and plaques placed on downtown buildings.
The Commissioners recognize Rita Bagwell, with the Customer Service Department, as 2015’s “Strongest Link” Award recipient.
The commissioners then opened the meeting for Citizen Comments. The meeting room was almost filled. The majority of those present were there questioning the hiring of the new police chief. Eight individuals addressed the commissioners expressing their concerns.
Robert L. Taylor Jr
Jeffery Benoit Activist with National Action Network (from Rex Ga)
Prior to the statements City Manager Kenny Smith explained the process by which the police chief was chosen and the selection committee that was made up from local individuals to include Mrs Jewel Walker Harps president of the Griffin Chapter of the NAACP and other community leaders that all voted their approval of the selection of the new Chief following the guidelines of fair hiring practices established throughout the state by many other agencies that have used the same criteria to select a Chief for their agencies. The vote by the committee was unanimous.
The Commissioners approved on second reading an update to the City of Griffin’s Sewer Use Ordinance to comply the City of Griffin’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits.
From time to time the Sewer Use Ordinance is reviewed and amended for compliance with NPDES Permit Conditions.
Also approved was the purchase of a new 100 foot Mid-Mount Platform aerial fire truck from Williams Fire Apparatus for the fire department for the quoted amount of $1,098,963.00 from 2016 SPLOST funds, authorize prepayment to allow for cost savings, and amend the budget accordingly. This purchase is one of the two projects for the fire department that are to be paid for by General Obligation Sales Tax bonds. By making this purchase now and using the prepay option, the savings are approximately $21,273.13 for prepayment and $22,404.00 before a price increase, totaling approximately $43,000.00 in savings.
The Commissioners approved the purchase of a Caterpillar Olympian 50kW Natural Gas Generator set and installation from Yancey Power Systems under the NJPA contract in the amount of $26,424.00. The current generator is over 50 years old and is not able to be repaired. A generator is required to sustain operations in the event of a power outage. It is also a requirement for the city’s ISO rating.
Also the Commissioners approved the purchase of the Openway meter reading infrastructure to replace the Smart Synch AMI system in the amount of $1,461,266.47, using funds from the Municipal Competitive Trust Short Term Flexible Operating account.
Due to the turn down of 2g communication by AT&T, the Smart Synch system will soon be obsolete. Through negotiations the proposed price was discounted $1.6 million to compensate for impact on City Of Griffin. Normal cost for this system would have excess of $3 million dollars.
Approved an amendment to the FY 15-16 Electric Department budget appropriating $13,020.00 towards Tools and Small Equipment ($4,980.00 – Line Construction, $3,390.00 – System Operations, and $4,650.00 – Marketing, to be transferred from Scrap Metal Sales cash account to purchase office equipment and furniture for administration and wellness equipment for the operations center.
Approved a Resolution to amend the City of Griffin Fiscal Year 2016 Operating and Capital budget in the amount of $60,564.41 in the General Fund for Cemetery Operations ($8,240.00 to replace the air condition and furnace at the cemetery office complex; and $20,000.00 to replace broken sidewalks and install an irrigation system at Memorial Park and recognize a $5,000.00 donation from the Military Affairs Committee.
Approved to deny “Ante Litem” Notice, received December 18, 2015, from attorney LaQuetta S. Pearson, on behalf of Ms. Vaura Henley, 828 Ray Street, Griffin, Georgia, for alleged physical and mental anguish incurred on July 11, 2015 at approximately 2:30 p.m. when officers of the Griffin Police Department mistakenly served an “no knock” search warrant at her residence. Denial of the Claim is recommended as the female claimant was not physically harmed and no property damage resulted. The mistake was caught quickly before officer undertook to search the house. Georgia law provides no action for Mental Anguish in the absence of physical injury. This claim has been turned over to GIRMA for investigation and adjustment, if warranted, subject to the City’s “per claim” deductible of $25,000 per occurrence. Maximum liability coverage per occurrence is $1,000.000.00.
Approved: to deny “ante litem” notice received on December 22, 2015, from Attorney Jeffrey R. Neighbors on behalf of his client Rasheta Goggins. A vehicle driven by Ms. Goggins was involved in a motor vehicle accident on June 24, 2015 with a city-owned vehicle operated by employee Andrew DeMarco at the intersection of E. Broad Street and N. 4th Street. Investigator cited Mr. DeMarco as being “at-fault”. Claim is being investigated and adjusted by GIRMA. Ms. Goggins suffered alleged injuries to her neck and back. The Notice contains an Offer of Compromise in the amount of $35,000. Staff recommends denial of the claim in order to cease the tolling of the statute of limitations and to allow claimant to file suit. Subject to the City’s “per claim” deductible of $25,000, GIRMA will provide legal defense to City and payment of any resulting legal liability (judgment).
At the end of meeting the Commissioner Comment portion each commissioner stated their support of City Manager Kenny Smith and the process thru which the new Police Chief was chosen.
Chairman Dick Morrow thanked everyone that spoke and said, “In my opinion social media is one of the worst things going. This man is an excellent choice and the man has been slandered before he got here. This smear by social media is unjustified”.
Gordon State College President Max Burns was recently elected to two national boards, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the U.S. Fulbright Association.
SACSCOC is the recognized regional accrediting body in 11 Southern states for institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees. The SACSCOC Board of Trustees is the representative body of the College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process.
Established in 1977, the Fulbright Association is a private, nonprofit organization whose members are Fulbright Program alumni. The Fulbright Association supports and promotes international education and cultural exchange leading to mutual understanding among the people of the world.
In 1993 Burns was a Senior Fulbright Scholar teaching and conducting research in Sweden. He has also been a visiting professor in Australia, New Zealand and China.
“I am honored to serve on the boards of these two significant organizations,” Burns said. “Being a part of the governance body of SACSCOC and the Fulbright Association affords me the opportunity to support and promote the development of Gordon State College and the University System of Georgia.”
Burns was named the 29th president of Gordon State College in 2011.