The retreat has been canceled for this weekend.
It initially was scheduled for Friday and Saturday. However, after the Monday evening council meeting, the mayor and council decided to postpone the retreat.
At the council meeting, several members of the public suggested that either the city postpone the meeting or bring in a third party to help mediate the retreat. Ultimately, city officials said they were not ready for the two-day planning session.
In a Facebook post, Mayor Kelly Kautz said:
"I thought that we had all took to heart the suggestion for a mediator/facilitator this weekend. Our City Manager did his best to find someone that would be fair, impartial and experienced. He was able to get James Burgess to commit to working with us.
"Mr. Burgess is the former Mayor of Social Circle, a past president of Georgia Municipal Association, a past county manager and a certified mediator. Most importantly he has no connection to any of us involved.
"Unfortunately, Councilman Witts and others have declined the services of Mr. Burgess and our looking for a more suitable mediator."
Reached Friday morning via email, Witts said:
"I have never said or implied that I did not want Mayor Burgess. I have never spoken to the Mayor (Kautz) about this; I have never been asked by anyone what my opinion was, either by an elected official of the city or the city staff. Mayor Kautz has misled you if she told you that I said anything at all about Mr. Burgess."
The bottom line is still the same. There's no council retreat this weekend. Leaders are unsure as to when it will be rescheduled.