OUR VIEW: Keeping ethics front and center good for BOC

Good things came from this week’s Board of Commissioners planning sessions, first in the form of a positive outlook for Gwinnett County’s growth by a University of Georgia economist followed by a debate about the culture of leadership in the county government.

During the two-day session that took place at the George Pierce Park Community Center, commissioners heard from economist Jeffrey Dorfman, who predicted 3 percent economic growth both nationally and in Gwinnett. That would be good news for the county financially, and would allow Gwinnett to start moving forward and working toward future plans versus trying to get by during rough times, Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said.

The economic news highlighted the first day of the planning sessions, while county leadership was the focus of the second day. A year ago the commissioners made the issue of county leadership No. 1 on its priority list. This year they discussed where it should be on their list, with Commissioner Tommy Hunter saying it could be placed into a “maintenance” state.

Commissioner Lynette Howard disagreed, saying: “You can’t achieve leadership in a year. You have to make sure that we send a message … that leadership is important and it’s still at the top of our priorities.”

Another commissioner, Jace Brooks, had a similar opinion. He said the BOC has gone from mediocre to “just OK” and that “We have a long way to go. … We definitely don’t want to be complacement.”

We agree with Brooks’ assertion, and the fact that the commissioners continue to discuss leadership and are again putting it at the forefront of their agenda is a good thing. That they could debate it and disagree in a civil way is also a needed improvement, something Nash noted.

Trust isn’t won in just a year. It’s something that takes time and continued vigilance. As Police Chief Charlie Waters said during the planning session: “It’s got to be a part of the fabric of the organization. That can’t just be a goal. It has to be an overall part of everything you do.”

This group is working toward that. And by keeping the topic as part of the discussion, the BOC is taking another step toward reaching that goal.

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