Letter to the Editor: Mableton City Council, “show equal respect for each other”

Quill pan and ink in article about absentee ballots

This Letter to the Editor was originally written as a comment to the Mableton City Council and was submitted to the Courier for publication:

My name is Graham Jagger and I’m a resident of District 6.

My reason for giving my comments tonight relates to my observations of how the council is functioning particularly in relation to the interrelationship between council members.

I have 38 years of experience in local government from my time in the UK and have attended as an officer of the council over 550 council meetings and presented over 750 reports to various council committees over that time. I have seen councilors and committees working up close and personal all my working life. We had 40 councilors and 10 committees and 3 sub-committees. I also had a parallel occupation for 22 years as a Magistrate Judge so I’m an experienced public servant,

I have attended all but three of this council’s meetings since being at the Inaugural Swearing in Ceremony held this time last year, 2 of which I watched online.

Early public comments congratulated you all on the way in which you interacted with each other and in a very convivial manner. You were respectful and inclusive, so it seemed. But over time, I have seen things change which I do not feel bodes well for the future of this council. However I want to focus on what happened during discussions on the Ethics Board now.

While, again from my experience, discussion is important, dialog is essential and debate necessary, but disrespect has no place in the functioning of this Council and I, witnessed that particularly at the last two meetings.

It’s become clear to me that outside of these meetings themselves discussions of various types and in various ways not involving all members are taking place with a view to determining the outcome of some items on the agendas for these meetings. What I am saying is that openness, transparency, and full inclusiveness between all 7 members on all matters appears to be being eroded and to the detriment of this council and the community at large. This was demonstrated in my opinion in what took place on the issue of the Ethics Board composition. There was not only disrespect on display, but it was clear and obvious that only one outcome would be tolerated and that is not a good sign for the future cohesion of this council and the community it represents.

To conclude, I ask all council members to return to how things were at the inception of this council and show equal respect for each other’s fellow members no matter what the difference of opinion may be. I also ask that all matters involve all councilors not just a select group outside of these meetings which looks like what is happening to me. And that all councilors are always treated equally in all respects on all matters, be those discussions, sharing of information or the equipment you have allocated for example. Remember, this new city belongs to its residents and business owners not its council members. It must be run as a Council of equals and not by rank or position.

I hope that you Mr Mayor and your councilmember colleagues will accept my comments in the way they were intended and that is to be helpful for the future good health and success of this council.

How to send Letters to the Editor to the Courier

It should go without saying that the opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are the opinion of the author, and do not represent the Courier.

To send letters to the editor, email larry.johnson@cobbcountycourier.com