PTC Council has lost its credibility, should resign

Scott Bradshaw's picture

A political lynching took place at the Peachtree City Council meeting last Thursday.

The Leisure Services Department, frequently called “Recreation,” was eliminated and two prominent recreation managers were shown the door.

The action by council to eliminate the unit was deceptive and shameful. The uncomfortable vote was unanimous with Eric Imker, Kim Learnard, Vanessa Fleisch, Doug Sturbaum and Mayor Don Haddix voting in favor of the proposal.

The council meeting was not well attended because the issue of reorganization was conveniently withheld from the original public meeting notice. The city council clearly did not want to hear from volunteer coaches, soccer moms, league participants and other recreation supporters who would have packed the room to speak in opposition to dismantling the recreation structure.

Secrecy in this instance was a cowardly act and represents an unacceptable disdain toward the citizens who pay the salaries of council members.

The mayor and council who, according to one observer, “couldn’t shine Randy Gaddo’s shoes,” ambushed the citizens of Peachtree City by adopting a surprise reorganization which effectively fired Leisure Services Director Gaddo and Recreation Facilities Manager Scott Christopher.

The plan also dissolved the recreation unit and merged employees and programs into a new Community Services Department. The new entity replaces the existing Community Development Department headed by David Rast.

Mr. Rast, in this writer’s opinion, was humiliated by a demotion to the position of Planning and Zoning Administrator. Council also named Rast interim director of the new department until the position is filled. He is placed in the unfortunate position of having to accept the demotion or apply for a job almost identical to the one he held in the past. David Rast deserved better treatment.

This writer recognizes and understands the need to streamline government and make it more efficient. The massive reorganization was not accompanied by financial notes or performance goals designed to garner acceptance by the community. There was no discussion of the amount of savings involved or the impact on delivery of services.

The proposal showed only a net decrease of one staff position which could have easily been accomplished through attrition.

The reorganization is a sham designed to de-emphasize recreation programs which many citizens believe are integral to the excellent quality of life in Peachtree City.

All three victims of this political lynching are highly effective leaders who served the city with excellence for many years. They were mistreated by Mayor Don Haddix and his band of council followers who are intent on selling or leasing Kedron Fieldhouse, reducing recreation opportunities and transferring the library to the Fayette County Library System.

Council’s rationale for unloading the library is financial. It is an opportunity to reduce expenditures while increasing revenue by leasing the library facility to the county.

The recent disbanding of the Peachtree City Library Commission and last week’s assignment of library operations to the Administrative Services Director are interim steps toward getting rid of the library. The only remaining obstacle is a county commission that won’t take the bait ... at least for now.

Terry Garlock made an interesting point about the Gaddo dismissal. His question was: “If the roles of Gaddo and Haddix were reversed, how would it have been handled?” His answer was: “It would have been handled entirely differently and much more properly.”

It is time for radical change in Peachtree City. The City Council has consistently treated staff poorly, demonstrated a pattern of sneakiness and made numerous irrational policy decisions during the past 18 months. Staff morale is at an all-time low, chemistry between council and the public has deteriorated and the vision of Peachtree City is rapidly disappearing.

The shameful action of last Thursday in the name of reorganization and efficiency is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Peachtree City needs a new mayor, council and city manager. It is time for citizens to pick up the broom and make a clean sweep in the next two elections.

The terms of council members Eric Imker and Doug Sturbaum end this year and they will likely be defeated if they choose to run again. The municipal election is on Tuesday, Nov. 8 and candidates may qualify for these two posts between Aug. 29 and Sept. 2.

It is likely several excellent candidates will step up in this time of near crisis. Voters must wait two years to finish the clean sweep unless Mayor Haddix and council members Learnard and Fleisch do the right thing and resign.

The manner in which the reorganization was handled is disgraceful. It will be a benefit to the citizens of Peachtree City if the mayor and City Council follow the lead of Congressman Anthony Weiner and resign. Their resignations would be a blessing because they have lost credibility.

Enough said!

[Scott Bradshaw, a resident of Peachtree City, is a real estate broker and residential real estate developer. He may be contacted at rand5474@bellsouth.net.]

L.Sussberg
L.Sussberg's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/13/2009
Ms. Roundabout

Try thinking a little bigger, not smaller. It's always easier to reach down then up. If you read the news, like the Times or Wall Street Journal, in addition to the Citizen, you will see that there are new initiatives going on all over the Southeast region.

Close to home, Newnan GA is getting a new hospital (Cancer Center of America), and Google is looking to open there. We can poke fun all day long at Coweta with their Fischer Crossing project, but quietly they are after new industries that will pay more than $15.00 an hour.

Charlotte NC has just started a program to attract as many research firms in alternative fuels so they can create a new industry hub to make up for loss in banking in their region.

Charleston SC is setting designated areas to attract high tech firms who will want to be there thanks to Boeing Dreamliner plant

Granted many programs are usually driven by the states, but in these cases listed above, all are city/county driven after and or in conjunction with their states.

American businesses are sitting on $2 trillion of capital ready for investment in growth through expansion of plant, equipment, inventories and acquisitions. Slowly, some companies are releasing this capital and starting to grow, others are waiting, but now is the time to start working plans and programs. No, we do not 6 econmic development managers, just one really good one.

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/26/2005
Indeed we do Larry, indeed we do

Need one good economic development person. And we need one badly. Has there been one peep out of city council after the Grisham debacle? Any job postings? Any place for the economic development person in the new and reorganized organizational chart? Anybody have any idea how to fund such a person?

I think the answers there are 4 big no's and I wonder why.

I also wonder how Newnan and Coweta County have done all they have accomplished in the last 10 years. Do they have an economic development person? How about focused leadership? Is the mayor of Newnan respected by the county commission? Let's see if we can noodle this one out.

roundabout
roundabout's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/01/2011
Herr Sussberg

We need budget cuts in PTC right now and for at least 5 years. We are broke and should not raise taxes on those already losing their homes and having to bprrow money for their kids to go to school!

Long-term plans are absolutely necessary but we will never get there if we don't manage now!

I'm sorry but shopping centers, white collar workers, service workers, banks, insurance companies, hotels, and such do not help very much in providing jobs worthwhile either t in quantity or dollars to grow the local economy.

Those stupid hospitals cost citizens money---not provide it. Most workers make low wage. HCA (for cancer) is no better than Emory, etc., just pamper more! Insurance won't pay most of their charges. They are Spas!

We have GOT TO make some widgets again!

We need some factories.

L.Sussberg
L.Sussberg's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/13/2009
Ms. Roundabout

Ok to call me Larry, or Mr. Sussberg. No need for Herr and please do't call me by my last name only, I was always taught that it was rude to do that...thank you for your understanding.

Regarding the "stupid" hospitals....can you show me where Piedmont Fayette is a "cost" to the taxpayers of Fayette?
Same for Cancer Centers of America. Also, can you show me where the salaries of doctors and nurses and other health care workers are lower than $15.00 an hour?

I always believed otherwise and I am open to learn from my mistakes...please show me.

In my previous posts here, I did not mention hotels, banks or service workers....sorry for any confusion. I was referencing tech and research...companies that might represent the "new" economy such as alternative fuels, high tech, etc...that definately can include manufacturing such as the new solar panels recently invented by a GA Tech professor. Check out this website on the company:

http://www.suniva.com/index.php

I think we need to look forward at new products and new technologies that can be produced in the US....I agree with you...but it has to be new products, new economy!

roundabout
roundabout's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/01/2011
Herr Sussberg

You are Herr Sussberg until I am no longer Ms. roundabout!

As to last name only, I served a long hitch in the military and was always referred to as "Smith" or "Green" or "Dumbass!"

Without Social Security payments, Piedmont Fayette wouls shut down tomorrow!
Also Medicaid payments and the tax deductions corporations take for paying for some insurance! Think once in awhile.

As to Hospital Centers of America, they simply treat patients in residence to get what money for a bed that they can, just as does other hospitals and that is all insurance pays FOR ---THE TREATMENT OR OPERATIONS, not the coddling and sympathy!

We can not sustain an economy with about 70% "service" jobs as we have now, serving one another.

There still are 30% of the jobs still occupied in "created" jobs we don't need that was a fill-in for the loss of manufacturing! They have to go.

Lets build some bridges, roads, dams, electrical grids, water supplies and dams, electricity generation alternatives, and repair our broken down infrastructure----tomorrow!

L.Sussberg
L.Sussberg's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/13/2009
Roundabout

Again, I ask you to show me where Fayette Piedmont costs Fayette residents more money...you did not answer the question...

Let's not ramble about medicare or medicaid. Show me the direct cost and lack of higher paiding jobs in healthcare vs manufacturing.

Also, no one mentioned HCA here, Cancer Centers of America was mentioned.

As for building dams, roads, electrical grids and water supplies, those are government projects that require more taxation and/or Federal/State or Municipal bonds which are backed by government entities that can RAISE taxes.

You appear to be extremely confused on a number of topics.
You want lower taxes but infrastructure development, you want manufacturing jobs which have left the US over the past 10-20 years for lower labor cost countries like China.

LESS TAXES = CUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING = no dams, no bridges, no electrical grids!

LESS TAXES = nice idea, so we cut medicare and medicaid and you pay for private insurance above age 65 to cover your medical costs...right? Or, let's reduce the total healthcare system by shutting down hospitals and medical schools and ration healthcare by lowering supply...hmmm, reduce supply usually means increase demand usually prices play a factor there....

BUT - let's stick to the topic at hand here...I'll let you figure out macroeconomics in private and public sectors on your own...

L.Sussberg
L.Sussberg's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/13/2009
Where's the PTC Development Manager & Our Growth Strategy!

Peachtree City should focus on a combined strategy which is to adjust taxes to cover the services that people want and focus on other issues like "growth".

What happened to the position of economic development manager? It's time to hire a professional who can focus on attracting good businesses to Peachtree City as well as fill our office and retail parks.

The answer is not DAPC but a full time professional like we had hired! The answer is also not to focus on trying to bring a college to put on the West 54 development where Trinity Development is trying to pick up where RAM left off!

Enough with bowling alleys and the other garbage that council people are proposing as "grandstanding".....Hire a professional and let them do their job!

Slowly PTC is becoming a large retirement community, it's time we attract good quality businesses and more young families to PTC otherwise we will continue to cut budgets and services and shrivel up!

Have we thought about about setting aside space to attract high tech companies and attracting them with low cost rents or other programs that we can get state or federal assistance for? I'm sure there are other ideas that could be developed and worked on...Those are the businesses that will pay well and attract young families not LOW TEMP! Why is GOOGLE looking to open a site in Newnan and not Peachtree City?

Where's the comprehensive plan for growth??? Where's the economic development manager.

Shouldn't council be working on projects like these, reaching out to build relationships with the state...not fighting with each, or having their wives run out the last economic development manager, or get us into stupid lawsuits because some can't control their mouths, or fight with the Atlanta ARC proposing we drop out and join a rural ARC after 20+ years...

Now that I have outlined the mayor's accomplishments so far in office, I hope that our other council members are trying to move us forward!

We need BIG PICTURE plans and actions, let's stop playing games or act like we work in a tool shed sharping lawn mower blades!

roundabout
roundabout's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/01/2011
Sussberg

We have already "adjusted" taxes enough and should not have to sacrifice any "services!"

If you hire six development managers at 150,000 each, you ain't gonna get enough industry right now to make much difference! We would have to give away more than we did for the Chinese to maybe get someone and then no income above expenses for them for years!

Where are all these high-payed workers you want going to work?
Better take the factory workers at $15 an hour if you can get them!

This is not Shangra-la ti dah! We are made up of all kinds in the USA!

That is what Walmarts are for! I like them.

PTC Observer
PTC Observer's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/23/2007
Mr. Sussberg - I

I think your expectations are not in line with the reality of the disfunctional situation at city hall. You're way too rational.

On second thought, you should be well aware of this reality.

drgio
drgio's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/07/2008
Good Job

Someone needs to be the voice of reason. Well said Scott.

PTClurker
PTClurker's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/05/2010
The big (bright) picture.

Wow, I have so much beef with the above article I don't even know where to begin. I disagree with just about every other paragraph Mr. Bradshaw writes. Grandiose, broad statements of failure trying to stir emotions in readers and knee-jerk reactions of people needing to resign because they disagree with you is getting so, so old on these blogs.

Instead of writing a 1000 paragraph response that counters many (albeit not all, because there are some I do agree with) of the points Mr. Bradshaw makes, I'll simply state the following:

Take a step back and look at the big picture. You'd think based on Mr. Bradshaw's article that this city is in the worst hands its been in, well, ever. Remember the past though and what got this city into needing to make these tough decisions. It isn't the current council. Although there is one member on this current council who indeed is an embarrassment to the city, can't stop shooting themselves/the city in the foot, and should resign (we all know who I'm talking about, it's a dead horse pummeled) we all must concede, even myself, that budget progress is indeed FINALLY BEING MADE. Finally. Finally. I'll say again: Finally. After council after council added to the problem and swept it down the (cart) path.

Many folks on these blogs, including Mr. Bradshaw, are looking and picking on the small picture. A hard feeling here, a slightly imperfect way of handling something there. Are things really so bad? Think before you answer. Last year council finally produced a plan to balance the budget. It was and continues to produce whirlwinds of backlash (because hey, name a single tough choice everyone will be happy with), but they did it. And rightfully so. And now, this year, with those sacrifices and current cuts being made, we have the potential for city staff bonuses and even the possibility of no further tax increases. That was impossible last year. Hard decisions and cuts have and are being made. Finally. And you know what? I'm willing to bet my $20 an hour job that all the Nostradamus predictions of this city going into the tank regarding services and amenities will still be here 30 years from now, after 30 years have gone by of PTC continuing to be one of the best places to live in America.

But I know writing about the big, positive, picture that goes against the currently popular, knee-jerk "topic-of-the-hour" grain won't attract many readers. Such is the job of a columnist, so I understand.

Remember, the right thing isn't always the popular thing.

wdd5885
wdd5885's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/19/2005
Well said

I couldn't agree with you more, Scott.

David Downing

CCB
CCB's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/27/2006
I wish Scott Bradshaw could hold true

to his principles. I know Scott and he is a nice guy and a true professional in the development industry. His problem is he's ready to lynch the leadership in PTC but he just loves the idiots running the county commission who are a whole lot more incompetent.

I think that's called being two faced.

Mike King
Mike King's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/29/2006
CCB

I, too, know Scott, and it is my humble opinion that he will be the first to stand behind a decision if it is the right thing to do. His major objection (and mine as well) is the unprofessional and dastardly way the entire episode was handled. I doubt there are ten souls in Peachtree City that will speak ill of Randy Gaddo, but there are many who can cite shortcomings of our other department heads.

I agree with Scott that the entire council should be ashamed for the way they allowed this to happen.

roundabout
roundabout's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/01/2011
"Way this was allowed to happen"

I keep hearing these complaints about how someone was fired!

Is it primarily the method or the actual firing?

In my years working in Industry if one's job as it stood was eliminated, and somebody's had to be, then you were out of a job.

Dithering around with dinners and speeches fools no one. It is actually insulting to most people to have those who fired you brag on your service.

I don't think MacArthur or McChrystal gave a darn about being fired and despised the good speeches they heard from those who fired them.

A gold watch has always been an insult!