Daily Archives: July 12, 2010

Abstain from a vote?

I have been on the city council for 5-6 years now.   There have been several times that I have abstained from a vote.   When should one abstain?   Should I not have an opinion one way or the other?     There are suitable times to abstain and even NOT voting can sometimes make a point.

Of course a commissioner should not vote if he/she feels that he/she has a conflict of interest.   For example, maybe a family member is involved in a business that is up for a business license.   In a small town such as Hawkinsville, there are bound to be conflicts that are unavoidable and it is best to simply abstain from voting rather than give the appearance of inappropriateness.

However, there is another time that I find myself abstaining frequently.   The abstaining is meant to make a point while not derailing a legitiment process.    The City Fathers, long ago, decided that beer and alcohol could be sold within the city limits.   They set up certain proceedures, applications, and guidelines that must be adhered to before a license to sell these items can be obtained.    The applicant must past a background check, fees must be paid, and zoning conditions must be met among other stipulations.

Due to personal moral reasonings, I personally would prefer that we do not allow the selling of alcohol within the city limits.  But the current law says that one can.  The current laws stipulate that if certain conditions are met then a license must be granted.   Therefore, if a business jumps through all the hoops, meets the criteria, pays the fees and does all that is required, I cannot in good conscience vote AGAINST granting that license.      However, a vote FOR might be construed as supporting the sale of alcohol.  Therefore, I normally simply abstain during that vote.    The license is normally granted by four yes votes, one abstaining.

Now, suppose I was one of only three commissioners present.    In that case a non-vote would actually have the effect of being a NO vote.   Should this ever occur, I would, in that case, vote FOR the license.   If the business person has done all that is required, then they should get their license.

So, if you ever wonder why I abstain on such votes, it is simply my way of giving my opinion on the subject while NOT derailing the process.

I would love your comments on this post…..  Do you agree or disagree?   Am I being silly or principled?   Should my votes on the council represent my personal beliefs or those of the people that I represent?   I am called to always vote with the majority of the people that I represent or did a majority of the people put me in this post because they felt like the majority of my beliefs (if not all) match closely with theirs?   Whatcha think?


Cemetery Grass Cutting Update

I brought up my disappointment with the condition of the grass at Orange Hill Cemetery tonight at the City of Hawkinsville Commission meeting.   I had not been the only person to notice.    The Commission has instructed city administration to do the following:

1.  Get the grass cut immediately

2.  Report back to us the estimated yearly cost of keeping the cemetery in top condition.

3.  Solicit some bids from local landscaping companies in order to ascertain the feasibility of privatizing this function of the city.

I am not sure exactly where the fault lies on this one.   Did some one not perform as asked?   Did the administration not put the correct priority on the condition of the cemetery?   Did the city commission not allocate enough budgetary support, ie, are we too short handed due to staffing reductions to handle this item correctly?    If the answer is one of the first two options, then someone needs yelling at.   If the answer is the third, then we request that city administration yell at us.   If we are not providing the funds necessary to accomplish adequate maintenance, then we either need to increase the funds or reallocate money from elsewhere.


Board Appointments – July, 2010

Wow, It really worked.    My previous posts asking for persons willing to serve on our boards paid off.   I got two responses and BOTH of them were appointed to boards during tonights City of Hawkinsville Commission meeting.    Clif Pritchett was appointed to the city’s Planning and Zoning Board and Milton Sutherlin was appointed to the Hawkinsville Urban Redevelopment Board.   It is great to have citizens WANTING to serve this great community.   My hats off to you guys!!!

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