Bidding Strategy Illustrated
Mike Maxey, candidate for Post 4 County Commissioner in the upcoming July 15 Oconee County primary election, is a man of his word.
At the June 2 Candidate Forum organized by citizens and held at the Oconee County Library in Watkinsville, Maxey said he would gladly do business with companies that come before the Board of Commissioners should he get elected–after he has voted to approve their rezoning projects.
If, "three months" after approving a project, Maxey said, "a project manager, ...a general contractor, whatever the case may be, comes to me and asks me to put a bid on a project...I’m going to submit the bid."
Maxey is president of M&P Grading Contractors Inc., headquartered here in Oconee County, and he also is a member of the Oconee County Planning Commission.
On March 19, 2007, Glades Commercial Properties LLC came before the Planning Commission with a request to rezone 7 acres of land on Daniells Bridge Road near the Oconee Connector in preparation for building a hotel and conference center on the site.
Four citizens from nearby Settler’s Ridge subdivision spoke in opposition on the grounds the hotel would create too much traffic for Daniells Bridge Road.
The Planning Commission voted 7-2 to approve the rezone. Mike Maxey, according to the minutes, voted with the majority.
On April 3, 2007, the rezone, with the recommendation of the Planning Commission, was before the Board of Commissioners for final action.
Chairman Melvin Davis recused himself, because Larry Benson, builder of the hotel, has been a long-time supporter of Davis. The Board, in Davis’ absence, approved the rezone unanimously.
In May of this year, grading work on the site began in earnest. Trucks labeled M&P Contractors adorned the site.
When Maxey landed the contract for the grading isn’t public record, of course, but, given Maxey’s statement on June 2 that he has never voted on any zoning request before the Planning Commission in which he had a vested interest, Maxey must have landed the deal after he voted to approve the rezone.
"In not one instance, since I have been on the Planning Commission, have I voted on a project that I knew, at the time it was presented to the Planning Commission, that I was involved in. Not a single time. Not even not one," Maxey said at the June 2 forum.
Had the Board of Commissioners--on which Maxey is seeking a seat--not approved the rezone, however, Maxey could not have gotten the job. So Maxey as a Commissioner would have a strong incentive to rezone property for which he might get work.
Maxey has made no secret that he originally planned to run against Chairman Melvin Davis, rather than against incumbent Post 4 Commissioner Chuck Horton. Maxey said at the June 2 forum he decided he wasn’t ready yet for the chairman position.
Horton has been Davis’ most outspoken critic on the current Board of Commissioners, so the switch from a challenger of Davis to a challenger of the critic of Davis’ was interesting.
Even if Larry Benson’s contract had no influence on Maxey’s decision not to challenge Davis, neither Davis nor Benson is likely to have been very upset about the coincidence.
The developers are trying to get into the BOE race too with one of their own, Tom Breedlove.
You people are really desperate. Is Mr. Maxey that big of a threat to beat your candidate. I think he his too but you have no fact or basis in your story. You need to be careful with your statements because we do not know when he obtained the contract. It could have been after the rezone vote. I am not supporting him but he is a good man and honest.
We do not need to get into character assasination at this point because if he wins, and I am thinking he will, he will work with people and make us a good commissioner.
By reading your columns over the past couple of months it appears that this is somewhat of a "witch hunt".He proved he is not in the pocket of the developers financially with donations because he is funding almost half of his campaign. Now you are trying to make him look bad and I don't think it is going to work.
One more thing, I think I remember seeing or hearing that he was willing to sacrifice his work in Oconee County to serve the board. If that is true, that is more than anyone else that I have heard or seen is willing to do for this county.
I made a point to call Mr. Maxey about this very topic at his office one day a couple of weeks ago. He told me to come by and meet him and I did. He showed me that he is working for the general contractor called Foster and Co. They are out of Atlanta. He showed me the date of the contract and it was March 18,2008. I thought it was very open for him to show me that as he had nothing to hide from me. After explaining the events to me and showing me proof I don't believe Larry Benson was even involved.
I had my doubts about Mr. Maxey but I think he is straight forward.
I hope he wins the election and then we will really see how he is going to operate within our county government.
Why is everybody down on the developers? If it was not for the developers most people in Oconee County would not be living where they are today. That is a fact.
The point of this article is that if Mike Maxey understood what being ethical is, he would not of taken a job or bid on a job that he has bid on. If for no other reason than avoid the apperance being rewarded with a job, a kickback or payback. If he thinks that that is too much of an hardship on his business he should stay out of politics.
The reason so many people are down on developers is that they don't pull their weight. They make money and the taxpayer bears the burden of the consequences of their building, higher taxes, more congestion ad infinitum. oconee county is by no means a gwinnett but it will be if people don't put the brakes on speculative greed that seems to be the core value of most developers.
the problem with developers, is that it seems that the majority of current commissioner's would rather side with them than with the citizens. Most of these developers are not citizens of this county. They're just trying to make a profit and will leave the citizens holding the bag when they finish the job and move on. There's nothing wrong with making a profit. But if the citizens don't want what the developers want then the the commission should vote with the citizens. I've been very disappointed in this past commission and look forward to some changes.
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