The Albany City Commission not only decided to exclude the public in its discussions about city manager candidates, which is bad enough, it opted to not comply with the rule that requires it to make its decisions in public.
In other words, our leaders broke the law. Again. And then they lied about it.
The commission’s selection of three city manager finalists in secret is a crime punishable by a misdemeanor fine. The Georgia Attorney General’s Office is investigating the crime.
Why in the world does the citizenry put up with lawbreaking leaders is something we’ll never understand.
But we do know this: When subordinates see their bosses break the law, they are less inclined to follow the law. Hence, we’ve got ourselves a real mess at city hall.
The most egregious recent example of the City Commission violating the Georgia open meetings law occurred when it plotted the dissolution of the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission’s board of directions. The scheme was abandoned after it was revealed by this newspaper. Then-District Attorney Ken Hodges opted not to file criminal charges against Mayor Willie Adams and the city commissioners.
Here’s what happened this time: Last week, the commission decided to conduct the public’s business in private by discussing its candidates for city manager. Although clandestine, that decision wasn’t illegal.
The commission exited its executive session and said that no action was taken.
That was a lie. A few days later, without another legally called meeting being held, the city announced that the commission had selected three city manager finalists.
From the Albany City Commission to the Dougherty County School Board to the Randolph County Board of Education (bless those citizens’ hearts), it’s clear why government has run completely amok.
It comes from the top.
The ideal scenario is to have leaders in your community that you want to encourage your children to grow up and emulate. In Albany, many our leaders are the opposite of role models; they are criminals – the sort of people that you want to protect your children against.
Let’s attempt to change that at election time.
By Kevin Hogencamp