PERRY — Mayor-elect Jimmy Faircloth led a group of city leaders — including the city manager, attorney and current and incoming council members — in a meeting to discuss the city’s future.
Faircloth said he wanted the informal meeting, which took place Tuesday night in the conference room at the Houston Lake Country Club off Houston Lake Road, to make sure they were all on the same page going into the new year.
Some of his ideas were met with enthusiasm. At least one — a plan giving members of the community input during the meeting on all agenda items — received a resounding no.
Faircloth brought up the idea of putting public comment at the bottom of the agenda at future City Council meetings. Then, he mentioned giving time for the public to comment on agenda items if the audience had comments to give.
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“I think it’s important if someone has a question or an issue with the city, they have a section to raise any issues they see pertinent,” Faircloth told the room of a dozen people.
The Rev. Willie King, a city councilman, said it could be beneficial if public comment added to the discussion but worried the opportunity could go awry.
He wasn’t alone.
“If you allow people to speak in the meeting,” City Attorney David Walker said.
“It’s going to get out of hand,” councilwoman Phyllis Bynum-Grace said, finishing Walker’s thought.
The issue quickly went away.
“You have spoken,” Faircloth told the group. “And, more importantly, I have listened.”
The group also talked about suspending committees and having the council as a whole hold work sessions for an indefinite period of time, so the new members could get acclimated to the various departments.
Many in the room saw good in that idea.
Faircloth also asked the group to hold off on making new appointments to outside committees where a council member usually sits for the first month the group formally meets as a whole.
Members of the new board also took time to point out areas they felt needed to be addressed.
Bynum-Grace said she felt the city’s employees needed to work harder on the image they present to residents and outsiders who do business with the city. King spoke of revitalization being a key issue the city should focus on in the near future.
Incoming councilman Randall Walker said he felt the city’s current financial condition, and how the 2010 fiscal year budget would affect decisions for the 2011 budget, needed to be examined by the entire six-member council.
To contact writer Marlon A. Walker, call 256-9685.