A lesson in the need for transparency was delivered today in the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners conference room.

I just returned from a meeting with DeKalb County Board of Commissioners and the county CEO's staff in Decatur. The meeting concerned the recent move by DeKalb county which adjusted millage rates seemingly in favor of residents living in unincorporated DeKalb as opposed to those living in cities. This action was carried out in a manner which highlights the need for transparency in government. Mayors and city managers (and at least one commissioner) from nearly all the cities in DeKalb county were there to express, in a unified voice, their displeasure with the complete lack of transparency surrounding this millage adjustment. City officials countywide were taken by surprise when they woke up recently to find that the county had effectively raised millage rates on their residents without consultation or effective notice. Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd spoke for those taxpayers and municipal representatives in attendance when he addressed the county Finance Director with "I am not here questioning your integrity but....."  This highlights how immensely important openness and transparency will be in our new city.

I got the same sentiment from Brookhaven citizens who came to the forum at the Briarwood Rec. Center last Tuesday night. It was nice to meet so many people with earnest ideas and thoughtful questions about the future of our new city. Among the topics of conversation was, you guessed it - How our city can use transparency and open doors to avoid corruption and transparency problems we see so often in government. I am completely and without reservation committed to transparency and openness for the city of Brookhaven. If I am honored with being Brookhaven's first Mayor there will be no door installed in my office. Closed or executive sessions will be scarce and citizen input and presence during city business will be paramount. Our new city is based on the free market model of the private sector bidding and then the fulfilling of most city services. If we don't have elected officials who believe wholeheartedly in this public/private model with transparency as its anchor, we risk reversion to the status quo as demonstrated by today's meeting with the county.  

During last week's forum it was good to hear citizens discuss these and other topics like fiscal responsibility, economically-viable sustainability measures, and community building. It will only benefit all citizens when more people share their own ideas about what they would like to see in our new city. I encourage everyone to attend future meetings and post their ideas here on the Patch. Please send your ideas or questions to my still in process website at www.jmaxforbrookhaven.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Common September 04, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Kind of funny coming from somebody who voted so that Brookhaven would never have a future. I guess you want No City Sandy or maybe someone form the European Socalist ticket.
HamBurger September 04, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Ms. Common, LOL! I am voting for Mr. J. Max Davis! I want to see him and his puppet master, Rep. Mike Jacobs sweat bullets when everyone finds out what a fraud their new city has become in the third year of cityhood and see their response to the J. Max lifestyle in their new city of Brookhaven! Hey! C$ND and Brookhaven Yes has controlled everything so far, let them continue to control their new city. Let those folks see what life is like in their neighborhoods and the the reception they receive from the extremely dissatisfied taxpaying citizens of their Brookhaven! Please pass the yellow mustard!
Common September 04, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Sounds like a good strategy. Make them prove it can work- if it works they will be too busy celebrating and continuing the success to care what you may have said. If it doesn't work you can say "I told you so" and run for office yourself.
Jack of Kings September 04, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Common--I applaud your efforts to be reasonable and rational with these posters with carpal tunnel syndrome, but their strategy is to exhaust all who disagree with their general assertion that everyone associated with bringing the incorporation of the City of Brookhaven are corrupt. Mind you, they have nothing but their opinion to "support" this charge, but that will not stop them from posting 20-40 times a day on Patch. What is unfortunate is that these posters monopolize the boards with repetitive postings that I, too, have found myself wasting my time going through theirs to find a few nuggets of wisdom by the occassional poster. I wish Patch could put a posting limit per day per poster. Maybe they would think twice before they post about the Mexican Government conspiracy, smoke filled rooms, and cheerwine.
don Gabacho September 05, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Corey Self, Yet again: You can still answer these questions here in public---given you have them in private: "Why don't we meet face to face to discuss this a bit more? I'll gladly walk you through how the citizens provided information to CVI for the study.---Corey Self; Comments B'Patch "What, and how much, other information was supplied to the CVI by the so-called 'citizens group' C4DK?" And while you're at it: 1) Just who paid for the CVI study? And where did they get the money? 2) Just where in the Constitution of the State of Georgia does it say that townships, somehow being prohibited, would require, as your fellow member of the so-called "citizens committee," C4DK, "State Representative" Mike Jacobs, declared would require a state-wide referendum to allow? "Q: How did UGA Carl Vinson Institute (CVI) come up with the numbers they used in the study? A: CVI has a great deal of experience with these types of studies. (See CVI Local Government Services page www.cviog.uga.edu/local-government-services) Generally, they look at the population of cities with similar demographics to estimate what the need would be for the new city. Neither C4ND nor Brookhaven Yes provided any numbers to the CVI as they were solely responsible for acquiring and analyzing all comparative data in the study. The non-partisan academics at the Carl Vinson Institute..." http://brookhavenyes.org/faq.php


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