I will like to see you, “The Citizen” Editor, and every citizen of Peachtree City at the next City Council meeting, on Thursday, March 16, 2023, at 6:30 p.m.
Our new City Manager is attempting to “streamline” Peachtree City’s procedures to the point of eliminating direct, public, and formal citizen input to City Council considerations, by deleting currently authorized citizen input into the City Council’s Agendas.
If the City Manager’s recommendation is approved — and I think without opposing voice it will — citizens will have to persuade the Mayor or a City Council member to approve a citizen requested agenda item. The rationale presented is that other local cities do that, we should too.
On February 9, 2023, Robert Curnow, City Manager, Peachtree City, requested the City Council delete the provision for “Any person may request to have an item placed on the agenda from the City’s ordinances. The Councilmembers of Peachtree City will consider adopting an amendment to the Peachtree City Administration Ordinance #1206, City Council Meeting Procedures and Rules, Article II, City Council Meeting Procedures and Rules, Section 2-33, Agenda (requests) on Thursday, March 16, 2023, at the scheduled City Council meeting.
At least two Councilmembers were unsure of accepting this change and discussions regarding this change request are noted on the currently published Agenda for March 16, under the City Council Minutes of February 16, 2023, pages 3 to 5.
I am personally opposed to this erosion of our general lawful civic rights, the right to redress, and the right to be heard. It is my hope, that if citizens act responsibly, we will have governments act responsibly. Please be there and be responsibly prepared to present an opinion on this recommended ordinance amendment.
Douglas W. Tucker
Peachtree City, Ga.
In essence, this debate about direct citizen participation in city governance is a debate about whether Peachtree City is a republic or a democracy. If a republic, citizens elect representatives to champion their causes and largely depend upon their representative to speak for them in the governing body. In a democracy, governing decisions are put up for popular vote. Typically, democratic government is unwieldy when scaled – Imagine the U.S. Senate being run by any and all who show up each day instead of 100 representative Senators.
I prefer republican governance, but obviously, Mr. Tucker and many others want either a straight democracy, or more likely, a hybrid that includes stronger democratic elements. Perhaps a compromise can be negotiated. However, it is inaccurate to describe a republic as necessarily a nefarious authoritarian form of government. It is, by far, the most popular governance in the modern Western world.
STF, I actually prefer a representative form of democratic government, as opposed to a pure democracy where everyone is given a separate and equal voice. I believe pure democracy tends to evolve into anarchy. However, our representation is elected at-large without a singular person representing an aligned constituency. It’s not like we can applaud a singular person for doing an excellent job representing us and ignore the main body, nor can we blame a single representative for the actions of the main body. With at-large representation we can do great things when with trust and cooperation, but during the worse of times, at-large representation can take the form of a many headed monster.
Agreed, a “pure” democracy would be idiocy.
Pretty sure it is not the new city manager doing this.
Very sure it’s the mayor and the other 2 council members who make up the majority.
Maybe this will be like Great Wolf Lodge issue when the majority was “All In” for GWL but then at the council meeting they got an earfull and stuck their tails between their legs and decided to vote No, thereby perserving their future election options.
This time we might be in trouble since the same two on council are no longer elgible for election so they simply don’t care what the citizens think.
It’s going to be intereting.
Can’t wait for the headline, either way, after the meeting.
I maybe more optimistic. In the “Great Wolf Lodge” decision, I thought our sitting Councilmembers demonstrated loyalty to the citizenry and ultimately made their decision to support us. To me, what transpired prior to their decision is not significant though I feel certain a lot of hard work went into it. The decision, itself, is what was significant. I think our Councilmembers demonstrated a lot of strength and trust in us.
So, after two months on the job, our new City Manager wants to remove the ability of residents to put an item on the agenda to speak at a Council meeting? And the best he can come up with is no one else in the area has that right?
As far as I know, there has been no abuse of this. If anything, it is more necessary now that we are limited to 53 seconds, or whatever it is.
What a lazy way to propose a change. Perhaps the residents of the other cities should also have the ability to get on their council’s agenda?
No one tell him that we have 100 miles of cart paths that no other city around here has.
I am not going to throw a stone at the City Manager, at least, not yet. I imagine he received some direction to improve the City’s processes and “”benchmarking” is a standard methodology for doing just that. He is also probably trying to support the City’s staff from having to respond to issues that surface from out of nowhere. It takes time to synchronize new efforts to established norms. While the appearance of the recommended change is alarming to me, I also note the Mayor and City Council are putting a lot of effort and money into identifying citizens’ issues. Thus far, while this plays out, there is no harm and no foul.