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Commission to consider code of conduct after scandals

STONE MOUNTAIN -- Six months after one of their own reported to prison for bribery, Gwinnett's elected officials discussed implementing a code of conduct among the county commission.

The idea was one of several fielded Tuesday as commissioners discussed goals for the government during a two-day strategic planning session.

With "fostering a culture of integrity and positive leadership" as the top goal determined by the five board members -- still working to restore public trust after several scandals the past several years -- leaders struggled to set concrete objectives that would change the minds of a jaded electorate.

But establishing a code of conduct, they said, could increase the commissioners' accountability and line out a proper way to do business. The item could be voted on as early as next month.

"It is our responsibility to demonstrate that, to live that out," Commissioner Jace Brooks said, adding that trust could only be restored over time through consistent, upright behavior and sound decision-making.

Along with renewed emphasis on civic engagement and communications, officials also discussed putting a new emphasis on the county's internal audit functions, which was reclassified in past years to the performance analysis division. The name created confusion even among the officials, and some said it appeared the county did not have oversight.

For another aim to revitalize the county's aging areas, commissioners discussed ways to improve infrastructure, promote mixed-use development and focus public safety and other efforts on more downtrodden communities. Board members also said they would explore creating Neighborhood Improvement Districts, similar to the self-taxing Community Improvement Districts focused on businesses, to allow people in residential areas to band together to fund improvements.

The goal-setting session also contained some discussion about improving the morale and retention of county employees. While commissioners did not promise a raise to staffers, who have waited for years for a pay increase during hard economic times, they did open up the possibility for discussions in upcoming budget talks.

Commissioners also debated the future of the county's water supply and ways the government can help in the spurring of the local economy, including discussions of improvement the Gwinnett airport, a bone of contention in recent years. Leaders plan to delve into ways to improve the appearance and attractiveness of the general aviation airfield without allowing for controversial scheduled flights.

Comments

R 1 year, 3 months ago

"Board members also said they would explore creating Neighborhood Improvement Districts, similar to the self-taxing Community Improvement Districts focused on businesses, to allow people in residential areas to band together to fund improvements."

Is it going to be a tax or a fee based program? Either way, costs going up Mr Tyler...

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JBSjgalt 1 year, 3 months ago

This crazy notion that Gwinnett hasn't had an audit function for years is just another attempt to hide from the truth. Performance Analysis was an expanded audit group that still did audits with the additional responsibility to look for operational inefficiencies. They conducted and wrote over 200 audits over the past few years. Check it out! Anyone can get a copy of any audit through open records. Many of the audits were highly critical of the way things were run over the past three years. The reports were by and large ignored. Routine updates were made to the Board when Jock Connell was there, but those were stopped right after he left. Almost the entire audit staff has left in disgust and there has been no effort to replace them. The flood of good people out of Gwinnett government is wide spread, not just in audit. Nearly the entire IT leadership team has left. Good people are retiring in large numbers to go elsewhere. All for the same reason. Lack of real leadership.

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R 1 year, 3 months ago

Maybe the audit being ignored is the root problem...

Being stuck under the wrong management chain in reality means the work is useless. Hence the call for OUTSIDE functions.

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Coolray 1 year, 3 months ago

The board does not need to study ethics anymore, just adopt the ten commandments and be through with it.

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shellyn 1 year, 3 months ago

Surely the members of our Board of Commissioners do not expect us to take them seriously when they say "fostering a culture of integrity and positive leadership" is their top goal and they're " still working to restore public trust after several scandals the past several years" as they "struggle to set concrete objectives that would change the minds of a jaded electorate."

The reason we are jaded is because actions speak louder then words.

If the BOC wants to restore public trust, they can stop using taxpayer dollars to fight an open records lawsuit. Do they really expect us to believe they want to foster a culture of integrity while they are using lawyers to hide public records from us that show how our tax money was spent by the Gwinnett Chamber? Is it any wonder no one trusts Gwinnett politicians?
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Coolray 1 year, 3 months ago

Or....they could just start acting in the best interest of the citizens of the county and not the developers and chamber types

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CD 1 year, 3 months ago

If only those few who vote would look the other way and if our part-time prosecutor/clown at large Danny Porter would play more golf, the BOC would not need to talk about such things....

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kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

Just look at the backgrounds of every BOC and Commissioner Nash. They all have mostly "public" history. With all this type of history on their resume, you would think that they would know something about being honest and transparent without a stupid "code of conduct" to make the public think they are doing something good for us. Didn't they all run on a platform that stressed their honesty in the past?

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R 1 year, 3 months ago

Even a knife fight needs rules - if not to at least legally define there are no rules...

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