Grantville council getting a timeout

When a city manager tells his council members their town is the “laughingstock” of the county, you know there are problems.

But such is the case with (take a wild guess, we’ll wait) … Grantville and its city council. City Manager Johnny Williams has proposed a decorum ordinance for residents and, yes, council members. It’s about time and hats off to Williams for publicly addressing the circus that is oftentimes a Grantville City Council meeting.

Residents have been escorted out by police. Council members are known for tirades and shouting matches with each other. Once, one even filed charges against another. The racism card has been thrown. The police chief was temporarily suspended for meeting with Sheriff Joe Arpaio while in his uniform, even though he was on vacation. It’s a mess and an embarrassment, as we have noted more than once on these pages.

The latest council meeting was just another example. Councilman Barham Lundy said there were so many police officers in the chambers, it was “like the gestapo.” Mayor Jim Sells told Lundy he was a “shame and disgrace.” Lundy retorted with, “I could say the same about you.”

That’s maturity at the highest level. Or not.

Williams finally had enough, writing to council members — “We all know that Grantville is often viewed as a laughingstock in Coweta County. We should all be ashamed.” Yes, you should. The decorum ordinance would make it a misdemeanor for an individual to break decorum at a city council meeting. It applies to the public, as well as to council members and the mayor.

A police officer will be stationed at all meetings and “will be instructed; to remove any of our officials who do not come to order after being asked to do so by the presiding officer,” Williams wrote. Let’s face it, that officer is either going to have the most fun or most career-limiting job in the world, depending on how this all plays out.

Council members can hate each other all they want. But when their hostility prevents the council from doing what they are elected to do — represent the people of Grantville — then draconian measures are needed.

We fully support the decorum ordinance. But we also hope council members and the mayor are embarrassed that such measures need to be taken. They basically need a timeout in the corner.

Of course, we’ll all be watching to see if any action is taken against Williams. If there is, that would pretty much be yet another example of a completely dysfunctional city council. Let’s not go down that road. Instead, let’s man up and represent the people in a professional manner.



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