Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Oconee County Commission To Select Members Of Stakeholder Committee For Comprehensive Plan

33 Applicants

UPDATE 9:10 p.m. on Feb. 7: The Board selected 24 persons to serve on the Stakeholder Committee. That list is HERE. The highlighted names are those selected.

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners tonight will select from–or accept all on–a list of 33 applicants for the Stakeholder Committee that will help develop a new Comprehensive Plan for the county.

The list includes five people currently holding a position on a citizen committee in the county, a county employee, and an unsuccessful candidate in the most recent election for the Board of Commissioners.

Also on the application list are a number of people who have taken leadership roles in opposing rezones or other projects in the county.

The list includes one person in real estate development, an engineer, a general contractor, two nurses, a farmer, a horse farm owner, and a number of people who listed their status as retired.

Ten women have applied for the Committee assignment.

Familiar Names

Abe Abouhamdan, the head of the county’s Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee and an engineer, is on the list.

Becky Moore Applying For Committee 1/31/2017

So are Maria Caudill and Charles Hunt, both members of the Planning Commission. Caudill also is on the Land Use Committee.

Tammy Gilland, also a member of the Land Use Committee, applied for the Stakeholders Committee as well.

Ed Perkins, who is on the Industrial Development Authority, also has applied for the Stakeholder Committee. He served on the citizen committee 10 years ago when the last plan was produced.

J.R. Charles, county development director, has applied for the Stakeholder Committee.

So has Marcus Wiedower, who ran unsuccessfully for Post Two on the Board of Commissioners in a special election in November. He lists his occupation as project manager and general contractor.

Vocal Citizens

Jim McGarvey, president of Friends of Calls Creek, which has fought a sewer line down the Creek, has applied.

So has Randy Jackson, who was vocal in opposing the proposed solar farm in the west of the county.

Goodloe Yancey IV was outspoken in the opposition to the Presbyterian Homes of Georgia rezone on U.S. 441.

Lisa Douglas, one of the organizers of the citizen group Positively Oconee, also has applied for the committee.

I created a spreadsheet of all applicants from the documents provided to me from the county. It is available HERE.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday) in the Courthouse in Watkinsville.


Anonymous said...

Abe Abouhamdan, the head of the county’s Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee and an engineer, is on the list.

No, no, no and no!

Abe does business with the county, and his Land Use committee spot is already a conflict of interest.

x said...

Good old Abe, who has made a fortune off building in this county and has strangely also held office in Land Use, shows up again.
Marcus Weidower, solidly entrenched in the Building Cabal.
Some other builders, some already on record as The Resistance, and even some regular Oconee people.
An interesting list. And reason to watch "them" even closer.

Anonymous said...

INSANE that the county's Economic Development Director is a member. This should be purely citizen based.

County staff can and should be members, but ex officio members.

Silly to have both the county's Economic Development Director and Abe A., the Land Use and Planning Committee chair, on what is supposed to be a citizen oriented advisory committee.

This type of nonsense was status quo under Melvin Davis.
John Daniell needs to quash such nonsense.

Lee Becker said...

Neither Abe Abouhamdan nor J.R. Charles were appointed to the Committee.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 5:27pm - Can you say "knee-jerk?"

Also, I'm curious... Why would you single out Charles and Abe when there were 31 other applicants who may or may not be good for the committee? Are these men not citizens of the county, which is the only criteria for this committee? Are the other people's citizenship somehow more valid than either Abe's or Charles's?

Or are you saying their professional background disqualifies them for some reason? What makes a Real Estate Developer or University Faculty or Horse Farm Owner more qualified than an Economic Developer or an Engineer to serve on this committee?

I'm just questioning the logic in your argument... If both men are citizens of the county, and if both men have insight into the specific planning or development of Oconee County due to their position and/or profession, why should they be excluded from this committee? Have you had personal interaction with either of these men and you've found them lacking in professional insight? Or is your opinion of these men based purely on the articles of this blog and its commentors?

Lee Becker said...

Both J.R. Charles and Abe Abouhamdan are residents of the county. Charles indicated when he spoke to the Commission in support of his application that he wanted to serve on the Stakeholder Committee because he not only is a county employee but also a resident of the county. Abouhamdan was not able to attend the meeting where applicants addressed the Commission in support of their application.

Neither Charles nor Abouhamdan were selected by the Commission to serve on the Stakeholder Committee. The Commission did not give any reason for selecting the 24 from the 33 who applied.


Anonymous said...

For something like this, it would be good to have a lot of different people participating, not just the same old crowd that seems to run most everything. Get some new perspectives and insights.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:28...knee jerk?? Seriously??

How about basic ethics & best practices?

The BR White concern is a no brainer. On such committees throughout the country, government employees are by norm ex officio members.

A citizens committee may have views, plans, goals, etc. that differ slightly or dramatically from that governing body's staff, management and elected officials. Not sure how many county residents approved of Melvin's build & grow, build & grow ceaseless push/Give Frank Bishop & Jamie Boswell the earth and moon.

Opposing arguments and viewpoints are important to shape debate; unlike Washington DC right now, responsible adults can hold and debate differing views, strategies, etc.

Look no further to the Haynie/Friends of Calls Creek standoff.
Unfortunately, it will take years if not longer to realize which side was right in the long run. Look at Melvin & Jim Luke overstating the county's growth rate, and now tens of millions are due for the Hard Labor Creek reservoir, which may never be needed. How long did Melvin know about and push for the solar farm without disclosing anything to county residents? How long were there sewage spills and other issues with the Public Utilities Department with no public disclosure?

Government management does not always know best. Even if BR White is a county employee, as the Oconee Planning Director, his responsibility is first to his county position, and he should/could serve as an ex officio member.

The Abe A. issue is also an easy one. His business can benefit from what is decided by the Comprehensive Plan. Just as he can prosper by decisions made by the county's Land Use and Planning Committee. If the committee is committed to preserving farmland and slow growth policies, that is in direct conflict to Abe's business.

You wouldn't want a fire equipment sales representative to chair a Fire Department Advisory Committee, unless that sales representative is barred from doing business with that specific government entity.

It's great that Abe wants to serve, but there are 35,000+ residents in Oconee, and there are hundreds of qualified citizens who can serve as the Land use Committee chair with no potential conflicts of interest in play. Abe has chances to serve many other committees, like Keep Oconee Beautiful!

Relax Anon 9:28 with the "knee jerk" nonsense. For the past sixteen years, this county operated by a behind closed doors/who you know philosophy. That's got to stop, and the Comprehensive Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committee is the best place to start.

Anonymous said...

Wait, wait, wait!

Did Jim McGarvey and Yancey Goodloe seriously not make the Advisory Committee?

Both are intelligent, well spoken, involved county residents.

McGarvey has been vocal as head of the Friends of Calls Creek. Yancey has been vocal regarding the 441 Bypass.

Are they being "blackballed" for being outspoken? Have heard both of them speak and they are both sharp and responsible. Don't know of two better candidates for such a committee. Politics sucks.

Anonymous said...

Jim McGarvey is not a resident. Said so in his interview with the BOC. Votes and homesteads in Gordon County. Head of the Gordon GOP.