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Council Votes to Keep Elected Officials Off Boards, Authorities

With a vote of three in favor, one against and one abstaining, the Norcross City Council on Monday voted to amend its ordinances and city charter to prohibit elected officials from serving on boards, commissions and authorities.

Clocking in at just less than 40 minutes, Monday’s September city council meeting was short, sweet and to the point.

It wasn’t until the end that a little controversy ensued.

That’s when Councilman Ross Kaul made his motion to change the city charter and ordinances “so that the mayor and council members are expressly prohibited from service on any board, commission or authority.”

Before the motion could be voted on, though, Councilman Charlie Riehm countered with a motion of his own, one which would permit elected officials to serve on boards, commissions or authorities. That motion failed with only Councilman Andrew Hixson voting in favor of it.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Hixson said.

Kaul’s original motion then passed with Councilmen David McLeroy and Craig Newton supporting it. Riehm voted against it while Hixson abstained.

“To me it makes sense not to have elected officials on these boards,” McLeroy said. “We set the budget every year and there is a perceived conflict if we have elected officials on these boards and the budgets being set and swayed in certain ways. It’s just a lot cleaner process and lot better public perception if we take the elected officials off these boards. We can then allocate funds where necessary, let them (boards, authorities, commissions) run the show and take politics out of the equation.”

In other business, Mayor Bucky Johnson announced that he, Councilmen Riehm and Newton, and Greg McFarland had all qualified for municipal office elections and that those would take place on Nov. 8. Also on the ballot will be one referendum question, where voters can choose "yes" or "no." It will read, “Shall the City of Norcross allow for Sunday retail sales of packaged alcoholic beverages between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.?”

Finally, the city also announced that it was awarded $185,000 by the Gwinnett County Community Development Department to be used for sidewalks and Americans with Disabilities Act sidewalk ramps to be constructed at various places in the city. Those places for sidewalks include:

  • Reps Miller Road (900 feet on the east side of Reps Miller Road from a point 800 feet south of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard (PIB) to a point 1,700 feet south of PIB)
  • Hunter Street (450 feet on the west side of Hunter Street from a point at the intersection of Langford Drive to a point 450 feet south of Langford Drive)
  • Mitchell Road (900 feet on the west side of Mitchell Road from a point 200 feet south of Everglades Trail to a point 1,100 feet south of Everglades Trail).

For the sidewalk ramps, they’ll be constructed at North Norcross Tucker Road at an intersection 500 feet east of Jimmy Carter Boulevard, at North Norcross Tucker Road at Western Hills Drive, Hunter Street at Hunter Hall Court, Hunter Street at West Peachtree Street, West Peachtree Street at Autry Street, Lawrenceville Street at Beutell Street, Old Norcross Road at Langford Road, and Langford Road at Medlock Bridge Road.

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