The new year has gone off quite smoothly for the Peachtree City Council, even as two newbies came aboard in January with the addition of Councilmen Mike King and Terry Ernst, who joined council after voters sacked former councilman George Dienhart and former mayor Don Haddix.
The difference, to some political observers, has been a more professional atmosphere during council meetings in 2014. And Councilman Eric Imker spoke directly to that fact in a brief comment at the end of council’s May 1 meeting.
“The last four months there has been a 100 percent difference in the approach and the way council works together, the leadership of council and the way things have gotten done cooperatively compared to the previous four years,” Imker said.
Imker specifically singled out new Mayor Vanessa Fleisch for “leading the charge in this way.”
Fleisch was credited for organizing a January workshop meeting for council that was led by a consultant from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government with the University of Georgia. At that meeting, council bounced around a multitude of ideas that led to the creation of goals that could be supported by the entire group, and city staff has been preparing a list of those goals to keep council updated on progress.
The workshop was also notable because beyond Pennington, there were no city staffers in attendance at the day-long event, though a few curious residents attended the meeting, which was hosted at the newly renovated McIntosh Place senior citizens center.
The process was akin in part to what City Manager Jim Pennington has wished for since he was first hired nearly two years ago: the creation of a strategic plan.