Learnard speaks out after PTC mayor is ‘overruled’


Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix attempted, but failed, to halt a presentation by fellow council member Kim Learnard to “clear up confusion about our budget” at the end of Thursday night’s city council meeting.

Learnard mentioned that “there have been a lot of conversations about our development authority” whereupon Haddix immediately cut her off.

Haddix said such a discussion “was getting into an election issue” that council was not allowed to address.

Learnard responded that she simply wanted residents to know they can find the necessary information on the city’s website.

“We’re not doing election issues,” Haddix replied.

Learnard then said she wanted to appeal Haddix’s decision, but Haddix said he was “overruling” her request.

“You can’t appeal an overrule. We’re done,” Haddix replied, announcing “executive session” in a bid to move on to the final agenda item.

City Attorney Ted Meeker then stood up and pointed out that the chair’s ruling can be appealed by motion under Robert’s Rules of Order.

Learnard then insisted that her discussion was not about an election issue, rather it was about “a budget issue on our city website.”

That led to Learnard’s motion to overrule Haddix’s decision, which carried 4-0.

Once she was allowed to make her presentation, Learnard noted that the city budget adopted for this year included a $7,500 line item “of new money” for the development authority, which the authority has already received, according to city staff.

“I hope that clarifies any questions that anyone might have out there about the budget,” Learnard said.

Peachtree City Council candidate Steve Allen, who is running against sitting Post 1 councilman Eric Imker, has come out in strong favor of supporting the development authority, painting Imker and by extension the rest of council as being against the authority.

Haddix too has been a champion of the development authority, although his bid to increase the authority’s budget from $35,000 to $150,000 last year failed, and ended when the council voted to budget zero dollars for the authority in the 2010-2011 fiscal year so it could “spend down” what funds it had remaining at the time.

Learnard has come out in favor of Imker, endorsing him in a letter to the editor this week after councilman-elect George Dienhart said last week that he thought Imker was a major source of council discord.

Learnard in a letter to the editor said she took umbrage that Dienhart claimed to know who would be best for her to work with on council.

Learnard also spoke to questions involving a proposal to purchase a new police records management system. She explained that the system was eliminated from the city budget by City Manager Jim Pennington prior to the budget information being presented to the city council.

Allen has written that he supports the purchase of such a records system, and he criticized Imker for not voting to fund it.

Learnard said the matter was never brought before council for discussion during the budget process.

“You just heard a nice campaign speech,” Haddix said, referring to Learnard’s remarks.

After the meeting, Haddix told The Citizen that citizens discovered a reference to the project in documents the city posted online. Friday he sent a link to a Powerpoint presentation for the city council retreat that refers to details about the city’s current police records management system and the potential benefits of acquiring a new one.

According to that document from the council retreat, the current system is about 13 years old.