Al Lott has resigned. Sort of. You see, his resignation is effective in July 2011 which gives him a full year before he vacates the premises of the Albany city manager’s office. This isn’t good for Albany at all, especially when his contract expires in September of this year.
You see, Lott is trying to play the people of Albany. He doesn’t want to go just yet, but he knows that we all want him to hit the road. So, he gives us a letter of resignation. Apparently, he is so arrogant as to believe that the people of Albany wouldn’t notice the effective date. He’s trying to extend his contract almost a year and do it under the sly.
Lott has been a disaster. He’s hired incompetent leadership, and at least one convicted felon, while running off the one competent person he had managed to hire during his time. Now, we have an Equal Opportunity Commission complaint that is bound to cost the city even more money to fight that would have been easily avoided if Lott hadn’t tried to run Mary Lamont off as human resources director.
On top of this, there are his criminal actions. After all, Lott doesn’t believe in open government. No, he believes in running city government like a military unit where outside inquiries are to be ignored. He honestly feels that he has nothing to answer for, and that his time is better spent doing something else. Unfortunately, transparent government is not just a good idea, it’s the law. However, it’s a law Lott seems happy to break.
However, our City Commission is more preoccupied with how word of their closed door meeting got out than any of these facts. Tommie Postell didn’t seem to ask how Lott could expect to get away with a letter of resignation effective well after his contract had expired, but how word “leaked”. Roger Marietta didn’t ask why Lott would think the City would keep him around that long, but instead asked if the police could screen the room for listening devices.
Of course, the district attorney hasn’t responded to inquiries, but open records advocates, including the Society for Professional Journalists, verify that there are no laws in the state that prevent recording devices from being used inside of closed door sessions. Not only that, but as property was being discussed at the meeting, there should have been minutes. Conveniently, there weren’t. And yet, our beloved City Commissioners are worried about clandestine wiretaps when legally, anyone who’s in the meeting can have a digital recorder. Nice priorities, don’t you think?
Way to make a stand, commissioners. You didn’t deny that The Albany Journal’s reporting was accurate, and by extension you’ve confirmed it. Instead, you ramble on about how the meeting was supposed to be secret and it wasn’t. So what? There is no requirement for any closed door meetings, so consider this a lesson in open government. Quit whining about word getting out and start working on either showing Lott the door, or giving us an explanation as to why he remains employed.
Written by Tom Knighton. Read his blog at TomKnighton.com, as well as SWGAPolitics.com. A lifelong political junkie, Tom started out his adult life as a journalism major at Darton College before leaving school to serve his nation as a U.S. Navy Corpsman. Through the years, he has watched government from outside and inside. A former Reagan supporter, then later a Democrat, Tom now finds himself quite comfortable as a card carrying Libertarian and currently serves as Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Southwest Georgia.