At the Jan 12th City Council meeting, Bob Gray & Steve Broadbent expressed concern over the cost of the Election and Candidate quality.
They felt the 10 weeks since the announcement of Brad Raffensperger & Kelly Stewart's resignation was not enough time to find qualified citizens to serve.
Councilman Gray was concerned if sufficient candidates would run given the cost & notice.
Councilman Broadbent also expressed the election is an expensive proposition and wants to give candidates more time to prepare for an election.
Councilman Gray stated he felt confident in the decision making abilities of the 5 council people.
Councilman Lenny Zaprowski was the sole Councilperson advocating a March Election, basing his decision on the Charter, stating the City is to be Governed by 6 Councilpersons & a Mayor.
Councilman Zaprowski also expressed delaying the election is 'Politicizing' it and the Council should not wait.
The Council voted to hold the Election in November, with Zaprowski voting for a March Election.
Johns Creek has a highly educated population, yet members of Council think it will be difficult to find 2 qualified candidates among the 76,000 residents.
Johns Creek's has double the national average of Bachelor's degrees and Graduate degrees.
Johns Creek is flush with cash in its reserves, currently stockpiling about $30million. According to Money Magazine, Johns Creek is the 13th highest-earning city in the United States and is commonly known as the wealthiest City in Georgia.
Five does not equal Seven.
It was frustrating to hear the City Council discussing the extension of the CH2M contract because they have openings that need to be filled. Yet there are two empty City Council chairs and no need to fill them.
And while I appreciate the Council's desire to extend the contract for CH2M to keep the employees from worrying about the future, should not the residents of Johns Creek have the same courtesy extend to them by filling our empty seats?
We are being shortchanged in Johns Creek. There is a lack of serious depth in the debates at the meetings.
Is this really the best we can do?
The reasons stated for not having a special election for the 2 open council seats were cost of the special election, voter fatigue and ability to have time to find “qualified” candidates.
The Council held out the responses to a survey that was solicited on the City’s website as support for the reasons above.
First of all, the survey in and of itself was flawed. The question was posed to garner a certain response but with that set aside let’s look at the actual responses themselves.
1. The City Staff removed identical IP addresses to remove duplicates. So for all houses, like mine, that only has one computer to respond to these types of things, either my husband or I were denied our response.
2. Just because you have unique IP address doesn’t mean that all the responses are from Johns Creek registered voter households. What was done to ensure only Johns Creek Citizens were deciding Johns Creek affairs?
3. If a person provided commentary on the survey, it was weighted greater in response versus a survey response that didn’t. Where in the instructions was it stated that if you didn’t provide commentary your vote would carry less weight than those that did provide commentary?
4. And my personal favorite – we don’t want to have election because so few people vote due to voter fatigue. And in the same breath, the citizens who have been coming down taking time out of their day to be engaged, informed and voicing their desire to have an election have their opinions discounted because “they are the same 7 people who are here”. You can’t have this one both ways – you can’t deny those few who physically represent views to be discounted and then allow the low voting outcome to guide your decision. There have been more than 7 folks commenting on their support for a special election since Nov and the JCCA President represented the homeowners of the JCCA which are approximately 16K citizens.
The Council Members also stated that 5 are adequate and they are confident in their abilities of representing the Citizens of Johns Creek effectively.
The Council Members have been on the board as follows:
1. Councilman Broadbent less than 1 year
2. Councilman Gray less than 1 year
3. Councilwoman Davenport 1 year
4. Councilman Zaprowski 1 year
5. Mayor Bodker since inception
6. City Manager less than 1 year
7. City Attorney less than 6 months
I don’t know about anyone else, but this young council doesn’t garner my confidence based on basic experience level in Johns Creek.
If this Mayor gets the call for another position such as Lynn Riley received, we will have a serious vacuum ot experience.
One would think it would be an imperative to be getting as many people as much experience on this City Council as possible.
Thank you for pointing out the level of experience by position.
It is good to get new faces and ideas. Not good to have the same old faces and same old dead ideas. So I do have confidence in this "young" council!
Then two more new faces should be added as soon as possible.