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Snellville adds PIO position, pay raise to budget

SNELLVILLE -- City Manager Butch Sanders said Monday that the $10,244,909 budget presented to Mayor Kelly Kautz, council members and residents is balanced, the product of the hard work of city staff department heads.

'We had to dig to find dollars, but we did it," Sanders said.

The next fiscal year budget reflects the addition of a new Public Information Officer and a police dispatch position. The dispatch job will be funded using money from the Service Delivery Strategy settlement between Gwinnett County and the cities in the county.

Sanders also added, following a question posed by resident Marcy Pharris, that there is an across-the-board 2 percent pay raise included in the new budget. He also stated that he intends to have an evaluation of city salaries done by the end of the first quarter of 2014.

Snellville Public Arts Commission contributes to Veterans Memorial

Council members voted to purchase a flame tower sculpture to be placed in the Snellville Veterans Memorial, at a cost of $5,000. The council also voted to move ahead with a $1,000 purchase of materials and services for display cases at City Hall.

Mayor and council butt heads over board appointment, ongoing allegations

Kautz nominated Claudette Forbes for Post 5 of the Snellville Board of Appeals on Monday. That post is currently held by Marilyn Swinney. Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts apologized publicly to Forbes, being "put in this position" and used by the mayor to seek revenge on longtime volunteer Swinney.

"There's only one reason (Swinney) has not been reappointed, and it's despicable," Witts said. Addressing Forbes, Witts said, "I'd be the first to nominate you to any open position in the city, but this is a matter of loyalty."

Later in the meeting, Witts publicly asked Forbes to consider serving on the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority, but Kautz attempted to silence Witts by saying that the mayor makes all nominations.

The council meeting deteriorated into charges and counter-charges of lying, as the hours passed. Councilman Bobby Howard pointed to a "self-aggrandizing" press release circulated by Kautz and Sabbagh about the upcoming Flag Day celebration. According to Howard, Sanders had already prepared a press release on behalf of the city, inviting residents to join city leaders for a June 14 Flag Day celebration. Then Howard displayed a press release presented on letterhead from the mayor's office, from Kautz and Sabbagh, which read as though the Flag Day celebration were being presented by the mayor and councilman.

Kautz then displayed emails that she claims support her assertion that council members were, in fact, aware of her hiring of the law firm Cruser & Mitchell LLP, to defend the city (not her personally) when Swinney sued because Kautz would not allow her to speak in an open public forum at a 2012 council meeting.

Kautz later produced cellphone records and a videotape that she claims support the fact that she was not, in fact, getting her nails done during a sign tour of other Gwinnett cities. She then accused "two board members" (Pharris and Swinney) of going to the court where Kautz claimed to be when she missed another city event, accusing the two women of posing as investigators and asking to see a judge to verify Kautz's claims.

Pharris and Swinney both, addressing Kautz publicly said, "You're a liar."

Comments

kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

Once the money flows in, it is so easy to find ways to get rid of it instead of saving it for another rainy day. Good going Snellville politicians.

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mustardandbiscuit 1 year, 3 months ago

Why can't the police chief just assign the duty of PIO to an officer who is already working, instead of creating a "position" that will be sitting around twiddling thumbs until something happens? I think it's just a sneaky way to add an officer. Need to save money and quit spending every cent.

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SurelyNot 1 year, 3 months ago

Since when is the PIO in the police department? There are other positions that have job descriptions that could include the PIO work. Or job descriptions could be reworked for one to include PIO work. I too find it hard to believe that it should be a full time position for a town the size of Snellville. Additionally, I think it is extremely short sighted to create a new dispatcher position with temporary money.

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MichelleCouch 1 year, 3 months ago

The Public Information Officer position is not related to the police department. It is a communications position related to public relations/media relations. Most Gwinnett cities have some type of public relations/communications management position. This has been needed in Snellville for quite some time now. It's a wise move!!

The entire council seemed very pleased with the budget process this year. To wit, pending the tax digest this year, the budget actually includes a small mil rate reduction.

Good news for residents!!!

Well done!!

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kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

How is this PIO person going to improve Snellville? Or is this a position filled by a campaign donor? Did without this all these years.

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SurelyNot 1 year, 3 months ago

Snellville's leadership is an embarrassment. Not an original thought, granted. But the city deserves better. I am not sure anyone currently serving should take a leadership position again. Ordinarily I would write that you need someone on board to ensure continuity. But what continuity? What should be on going? Nothing. So, citizens of Snellville, for your sake and the sake of the city's reputation, clean house. Take a chance on new thought and common sense. Don't let this go on. You are killing the prospect of new business and responsible people moving into the town. You will be left with people who don't care and don't contribute. And then what rises to the top? The bottom feeders.

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kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

NEVER re-elect and the people will take back their government.

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rocknroll 1 year, 3 months ago

SurelyNot-- Surely not. Unless you are completely out of touch, or a just a hack, you should be aware that all the negative stuff begins with one person the mayor Kautz. Four members of the council bust their rears trying to bring good things to the city and Kautz always gets in the way and turns positives to negatives. She voted aginst the Farmers Market against the community garden against the mobile stage and she is trying to do what she can to get in the way of the new veteran monument. Snellvilles leadership isnt an embarrassment only the mayor and her sidekick lapdog.

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SurelyNot 1 year, 3 months ago

With all due respect...Snellville has been the laughing stock of the state for a long time. It did not start with Kautz, although I think this term has seen the worst. For some reason the Snellville Council has not been able to work together since the 1970s...it constantly bickers, argues, accuses, and works against what is best for the town. Perhaps the council now is 4 to Kautz and lapdog. If so, what is the local political plan to elect a leader who believes in exponentially powerful leadership when it is delegated? Who will step up to the plate? I don't live in Snellville anymore, but feel like it is my home. So I watch all this with great sadness for what the town could have been. As for those working their rears off: they should be applauded on a daily basis. The community garden is magnificent. The Farmers' Market is magnificent. I think ordinary citizens seem to have done extraordinary things leading those to fruition. Now all the ordinary citizens need to find a leader and elect him or her! No one is to blame for this sorry mess but the citizens who sit back and do nothing.

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rocknroll 1 year, 3 months ago

I wish I had the inside information so I could answer your questions. Here's what I know from going to council meetings and watching videos of council meetings and talking to people who know what going on. Kautz is backed by the old group that used to call all the shots in Snellville. The names I hear are Emmett Clower Wayne Odom Warren Auld Randy Simpson Dwight Harrison. Talk to people who ran for election back in the day and they tell you about all the threats and games that these people and others used to pull. One person told me they threatened his son or daughter. These people are still playing their games and use the current mayor as their mouthpiece.

Now all of this is what I guess is called hearsay. Even so I look at it as where there is smoke there is fire. I keep reading stuff from Gwinnett Ethics and I think those people have some real evidence. Like you I am sad about what is going on and I hope it changes. I guess the voters have to decide whether they want people who really care about the city or people who just want to be big shots and I agree with you that the people to blame are the ones who sit back and do nothing and don't know what is going on in the city they live in.

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Karl 1 year, 3 months ago

@ rocknroll, Your assessment of the situation in Snellville and the behind-the-scenes-old-boy power structure that perpetuates it is 100% correct, including the names of the clowns responsible for it. You just need to add the name of Robert Jenkins to your list.

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kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

You keep a government "fresh" by not re-electing anyone. Always give a new person a shot. They will do what the people want and not what they want.

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