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Jacobs Gives Details of Dunwoody Session & Reasons Why Media Wasn't Invited

State Rep. Mike Jacobs helped host an information session for Brookhaven decision-makers to offer them resources and tools as they embark on the tasks of starting a new city.

State Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta) said he planned Monday’s informational session for Brookhaven council candidates and other Brookhaven leaders two weeks ago.

The purpose of the meeting, held at Dunwoody City Hall, was to serve as a “training seminar” for city council candidates, members of the Governor’s Commission on Brookhaven and the commission’s civilian committee co-chairs “to learn from people who were involved in setting up the City of Dunwoody and shepherding the Brookhaven Overlay District and the Perimeter CID into the success that it is,” Jacobs told Brookhaven Patch Tuesday.

What Was Discussed

During the session, attendees asked questions about the challenges Dunwoody faced as it moved towards cityhood and participated in two panel discussions, which were put together by Dunwoody Mayor, Dunwoody Chief of Police and Kim Duncan. The presentations were made by the Brookhaven Peachtree Community Alliance, which discussed the Brookhaven Overlay District and the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, which described prospects for growth and transportation improvement.

Because Brookhaven is on a tight time schedule as it moves towards cityhood, Jacobs said he wanted to provide the candidates and leaders with more knowledge and resources since Brookhaven closely parallels Dunwoody.

Jacobs said the session would inform Brookhaven decision-makers that resources are available to them, like copies of the RFPs used by Dunwoody, so that “the wheel doesn’t necessarily have to be reinvented.”

“While there are some differences between the two cities, the reality is there no other new cities been down this road in the last four years with the same population, the same county and the same land size,” he said.

Why the Meeting Was Closed to Media

Jacobs said that because the meeting was educational, it was not subject to the Georgia Open Meetings Act. According to the Georgia Open Meetings Act, the session does not even qualify as a meeting.

According to one section of the act, “’Meeting’ shall not include the gathering of a quorum of the members of a governing body or committee for the purpose of attending state-wide, multijurisdictional, or regional meetings to participate in seminars or courses of training on matters related to the purpose of the agency or to receive or discuss information on matters related to the purpose of the agency at which no official action is to be taken by the members.”

 Although Jacobs did not explicitly invite members of the public, he told Brookhaven Patch that “members of the public would not be unwelcome” if they had shown up at the event and that some people he did not recognize as key Brookhaven decision-makers had in fact shown up on Monday.

Campaign staff members nor members of the media were allowed “so city candidates would feel free to ask their questions and get them answered and wouldn’t feel compelled to perform for the media,” Jacobs said. “Having the media present would not be conducive to an educational meeting.”

Although the session was closed to media, campaign staffers and not explicitly announced to the public, it does not qualify as a “closed meeting” as defined by Georgia open meetings laws.

“Obviously, transparency is important,” Jacobs said. “This wasn’t a meeting at which any decisions were made.”

Eddie E. October 01, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Nick, I will probably feel better once all the money is spent and the vote to dissolve is looming.
Eddie E. October 01, 2012 at 09:55 PM
EPU We live in a time when people associate a tentacle of the University of Georgia (although being a quasi-private entity) with being a 'neutral authority' on the issue of municipalization. Folks don't understand that 'you get the answers you pay for' and the CVI has no dog in the fight once they are paid. It's like the misguided swath of the population that assumes 'SACS' is a bastion of educational expertise rather than a for profit tentacle of the CofC. And still, everyone gets to vote.
"E Pluribus Unum" October 02, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Eddie E., excellent point. It's not surprising since a significant portion of the Georgia General Assembly are UGA grads. The back and forth back scratching between the state university and GA is expected. Unfortunately Brookhaven got caught in the cross fire of CVI scratching.
Brokenhaven October 03, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Somebody p'd off ole Nick. Maybe it time for him to take his Kool Aide with a Wafer Thin Mint, I'll call the cleaning lady and have her bring a bucket
Political Gadfly October 03, 2012 at 05:08 PM
^^^^^ The meaning of the message above is very nebulous. Could you repost your thoughts in plain Engrish ? Thank you very much.

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