It wasn’t packed, but the Sandy Springs Charter Commission meeting drew more residents to this week’s public meeting than .
Tuesday's meeting was held at City Hall to hear the public’s take on how power is delegated in Sandy Springs.
Resident Bill Gannon, who attends many city meetings, commented that the idea of an at-large City Council person could pose a problem in getting people to show up to vote for individual districts.
“I think it’s kind of dangerous when you start talking about splitting up Sandy Springs and doing an election,” he said. ‘People don’t usually know who their Council person is…I think it’s easier to get the 90,000 people to show up and vote in mass.”
Susan Joseph praised the City Charter and urged the Commission to find a way “to ensure that citizen participation is honored, respected and encouraged.”
She had also sent an email to the Commission. In the note, Joseph said that residents don’t feel heard on such issues as a Gwinnett Tech campus in Sandy Springs; and they feel undermined in their involvement on boards.
“Our whole city’s existence is predicated on the concept of active appreciation for citizen involvement and should be formalized in our Charter,” said Joseph in her email.
Joseph’s suggestions include a Neighborhood Planning Unit, with the idea of minimizing the likelihood of issues being passed by City Council that are widely opposed by residents.
Resident Tochie Blad asked the Commission to look at the Mayor’s exclusive power in selecting appointments.
“The Mayor is the only person that nominates the names for appointments and committees,” said Blad. “There are other cities in Georgia that create nominations from the…Mayor and City Council.”
The Sandy Springs Charter is currently under review by the Commission. Meetings are generally held every two weeks and open to the public. After review, the nine-member body will recommend changes to the legislative delegation from Sandy Springs in the General Assembly.
While some resident have strong opinions on how the city is managed, Chairman Rusty Paul noted that issue is not a function of the Commission.
“The charter’s primary function is to delegate powers and responsibilities…This is more about who is responsible for certain activities, not how they manage those activities,” said Paul during an April meeting.
Following Tuesdays' public comments Paul said that sometimes Council members are hearing residents issues, they just disagree. "That's not the same as not hearing you. There's just disagreement over what the outcome should be. You're always going to have that in a political environment," he said.