You Are What You Think The Thinker Statue

January 30th Meeting Afterthought

I appreciate the citizens that had the courage to come before the Eastman City Council during the public comment time at the past meeting held on January 30th.  I personally see these council meetings as not just a meeting where your elected officials carry out city business, but a forum for citizen’s citywide initiatives, commendations, and complaints. At this past meeting there were two separate members of our community that brought forth concerns relating to our Eastman Police Department.

Firstly, I must strongly reiterate that my peers and I on the Eastman City Council do not have the legal background or the legitimacy to interject our personal biases onto either of these situations, or any other local law enforcement case.  Secondly, I have stated before and I will say it again, it is my expectation that the City of Eastman, Eastman City Council, and all its representatives and officers will elevate into their highest thought processes the importance of providing excellent service to this community. Hearing these citizen’s concerns and witnessing my own knee-jerk reaction to hearing those concerns has once again reminded me of how this community looks to solve problems. We talk at one another, but fail at building relationships. This oversight constrains us as a community from building trust and providing for a stronger community. As citizens we get frustrated and don’t trust our city representatives and elected leaders. As city leaders we get frustrated by citizens who don’t understand what our limitations are.

The members of this community must be willing to first direct their initiatives, commendations, and complaints to the departments and department heads that they feel have been deficient in their duties. This is where the relationship and discussion has to begin. Hopefully, both sides will be able to employ an empathetic dialogue that generates an amicable solution or at least a mutual agreement to politely disagree. The next level for redress of a grievance can be our city manager. Eastman’s City Manager is charged with overseeing the operation of Eastman and the various departments and individuals that keep our city moving. Then, above this level can be the city council. The city council was where two individuals came to the most recent meeting to bring forth their concerns relating to our police department. I thank them for sharing these concerns.

Speaking only for myself, I do not look to tell Eastman’s employees, department heads, or city manager how to do their jobs. I do look to help set prudent policies that deliver excellent service through these individuals. I seek to use a discerning eye to conceptually see how the pieces combine to make a stronger community, and how the City of Eastman breaks downs into these pieces to accomplish that goal. There is an old adage that says that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. I want to hear about these weak links when we have failed to address citizen’s concerns as these citizens share them with the city at the various levels I have highlighted. In closing, I submit to you that I fully understand that Eastman will never be able to please all of its people all of the time. However, I do expect that Eastman will courteously and professionally listen to everyone and provide the same commitment to service to each and every person. If a citizen is forced to take a complaint outside of the boundaries of Eastman, they should not be able to say that their voice was not genuinely heard.


Mayor’s Day Conference Takeaways

I had the opportunity, this past weekend, to attend the Annual Mayor’s Day Conference in Atlanta.   As a newly elected City Councilman I did not know what to expect. Our Eastman City Clerk had done a marvelous job with taking care of all of the paperwork that I sat reviewing the night before I would look to head up to the conference.   As I looked down at the two seminars I had elected to take,  Municipal Finance and Fair Housing, I found myself dismayed that I could only pick two of the many sessions that would be presented over the weekend.  This was because I truly believe that knowledge is power.  The more I know, the more I can do, and the more benefits my community can enjoy.

One of the biggest delights of the weekend was the fondness and familiarity that so many of the City Councilman and Mayors across the state had for the City of Eastman. It is clear that my peers on Eastman’s City Council had made some considerable efforts to network with other communities.  This provided me with an opportunity to make my own inroads without the whole elevator pitching about who I was, where I’m from, and what I do.

One of my biggest takeaways from this eye opening weekend is that Eastman’s growth is not retarded to the point where we are woefully behind. There are a plethora of examples where others communities have gotten together, formulated a vision, and brought that vision to life. I have no qualms about playing the role of a CPA; With CPA being an acronym for Copy and Paste Agent. Our continued growth will come from adapting what others have done to find our own formula for a calculated risk towards putting Eastman on a path for the future that we want. As an elected leader of this fair town I will work to make sure our vision stays oriented towards the right path, however, it is the community that will keep us moving down that path. I leave you with one of my favorite poems. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.


The Road Not Taken


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.