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City Council Retreat Canceled

Mayor Kelly Kautz said council could not agree on a mediator.

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.

Buddy January 13, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Unfortunately it seems the citizens of Snellville elected someone ill equipped to hold the office of Mayor. Her lack of maturity and desire to do what's best for citizens and guide the city moving forward is going to make for a very very long 4 years. Hopefully she will mature into the position before the next mayoral election.
Dave Emanuel January 13, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I was quite surprised when I saw this article with its reference to, "Councilman Witts and others". Considering the source of the quote, I wasn't surprised by the verbiage, but by the fact that a single Facebook post was represented as news. I don't consider it to be responsible journalism to incorporate a quote when the facts aren't verified, and neither information nor opinion from other involved parties are included. The true facts regarding this matter are that Councilman Witts did not respond to Mr. Treadway's e-mail regarding the mediator. (I believe Mr. Witts was attending to a business matter in a location that did not have cell phone service.) Councilmembers Howard and Krause and I did respond, suggesting that not simply select someone because he was available on short notice. Ms. Kautz even expressed some doubt as she asked who else was being considered and suggested that if we are going to have a mediator, it needed to be a person upon whom all members can agree. All of these facts can be verified by viewing the e-mail thread. If Patch is truly interested in fair, responsible journalism, and not serve as a political tool, I suggest that information be verified and that both sides of a contentious issue be presented. Most members of council will be happy to assist in that regard.
Bobby Howard January 13, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Since, I was one of the "others" mentioned. Here is the email Councilman Emanuel spoke of. It was sent to Russell Treadway / City Manager and Mayor and Council. On 1/11/12 12:32 PM, "Howard, Bobby" <bobbyhoward@snellville.org> wrote: Russell, My feeling at this time is that rather than rush into this process, we slow down and take a different approach. For this type mediation process to have any chance of success, we must as a collective group be "on board" with the process and the person we chose to lead this endeavor. We need to set GOALS, BENCHMARKS and in the end have a PLAN to move forward. I personally think that if we rush to start....we will rush to finish.... I would like to suggest that you contact the Vinson Institute at UGA and inquire about the services they offer. I have been doing a little research about our situation and think this may be a good place to start. I'm sure there are other options you may be aware of. i.e. GMA etc. Local Government Services Vinson Institute at UGA Contact: Ted Baggett, baggett@cviog.uga.edu <mailto:baggett@cviog.uga.edu> ; 706.542.6252 Local government leaders come to the Vinson Institute for reliable, objective information, customized assistance, and local government expertise that provide insights into the issues they face. Thank you for looking into this. Bobby Howard Snellville City Council Post 4 Snellville.. Where Everybody is PROUD to be Somebody!
Al Brown January 13, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I agree whole-heartedly, Dave.
Chief January 15, 2012 at 11:01 PM
This same journalist also made it clear in a published statement that she is NOT a friend or supporter of law enforcement, nor would she apologize to law enforcement in general or specifically for the remark. It says a lot about her, personally. I can only hope that Patch management reconsiders her control of this particular publication.

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