LAWRENCEVILLE -- In 25 years since he held public office, Curtis McGill has refrained from participating in the political arena.
After a murder this weekend near his southern Gwinnett home, the former commissioner took to the podium at Tuesday's Board of Commissioners hearing, saying his community needs some attention from the board.
"I feel like the place I live in south Gwinnett has become the lost colony of south Gwinnett," McGill said, adding that his own house has been burglarized and another murder occurred close by. "I just don't feel like we are getting any protection."
In addition to the increasing crime, McGill said traffic problems have been ignored, and Lenora Park, once his own pet project, has been neglected. Land use has also become an issue, he added.
"It's hard when you have that many crimes in your own little community," McGill said, specifically addressing newly elected District Commissioner Tommy Hunter, who lives on the other side of the county but represents a district that sweeps across 40 miles.
Hunter said after the meeting that he was aware of complaints from that area of the county. Many constituents, he added, were surprised to see him when he knocked on doors during last year's campaign, but he pledged to help.
"I made a commitment there," Hunter said. "We are trying to be proactive, so they know there is a presence."
Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, who worked with McGill while he was a county commissioner and she a staffer, said many politicians feel reticent to speak out after leaving office because they know the difficulties in balancing resources to meet the needs of various communities.
But both she and Hunter said it was helpful for people to speak up, so the current commissioners could be aware of the problems that need to be addressed.
She noted a recent "south surge" from the police department intended to help with growing crime in the southern end of the county and said other initiatives are in the works.
"Commissioner McGill has always been a very invested, concerned citizen of the community," she said. "It's good to have folks like him. They can be a good source of information."