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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Member Opens Records On Milton City Council

By DOUG NURSE http://www.ajc.com/

It was one of the largest open records request ever received by the city clerk of Milton. Karen Thurman recently asked for, and received, months of e-mails involving City Council members. She said she simply wants to know what is going on in the city.

What makes this request so extraordinary? Thurman is a member of the City Council.

Saying she felt out of the loop, Thurman filed an open records request with the city for e-mails among city senior staff and other council members going back to Jan. 1."I know that this will be a significant number of e-mails but feel it is necessary for me to get a handle on what is happening within the city," she wrote in a Feb. 26 e-mail to the city clerk.

On March 7, the city provided her with 6,000 pages of e-mails on a computer disc, which she read over the next two days.She said her review confirmed instances where she and Councilman Bill Lusk had been left out of the loop by other council members. For example, she said she was caught flatfooted by the City Council's decision to move the meeting date from Thursdays to Mondays, which is a bad time for her. She said e-mails indicate that other council members were aware of the proposal.

Thurman said none of the issues where she was omitted was major, but she finds it disturbing, nonetheless."It's political," she said.Last year, Thurman and Lusk were often part of a bloc of four votes, but two of their allies were defeated in the fall election. Since the city was founded Dec. 1, 2006, it had been riven with political dissension, prompting the council last year to call an organizational psychologist to help them deal with conflict.

Amy Henderson, spokeswoman for the Georgia Municipal Association, said Thurman's open records request was an unusual move."It's rare for anybody to ask for city council e-mails, but it's even more uncommon when it's coming from a member of the City Council," Henderson said.

Thurman said the freedom of information act request was justified. She said that, sometimes, threads of discussions from City Manager Chris Lagerbloom and Mayor Joe Lockwood would be discussed online among council members — minus Thurman and Lusk. She said Lagerbloom and Lockwood probably weren't even aware it was going on."She gets the same e-mails that everyone else gets, at least from me," Lockwood said. "Everything that has to do with the decisions of the city, I send to everyone. Everyone is in the loop."

Lagerbloom said Thurman is being charged for the research but said doesn't know how much it will cost.Lusk said it's disconcerting to be excluded from discussions. Thurman shared some of the e-mails with him."If you're part of a team and it's time to go into a huddle and everyone gets asked except for two players, I don't know how you win, how to play when you've been marginalized," Lusk said. "It's frustrating."

Lusk said he might have voted differently on some things if had had the same information as everyone else, but he said he couldn't name any specifics off the top of his head."We're supposed to come together here since the city has been taken back," Lusk said, referring to campaign slogans last fall that said it was time to take back Milton.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

These two clowns were able to dish it out when they were in the majority(fab 4) now they can't take it. Old saying if you dish it out you must be able to take it.

Anonymous said...

What a joke she is, does she realize everytime she pulls these kind of stunts it makes her look terrible? Can you imagine her snooping through emails all weekend trying to see if anyone is doing what her and her ex council members were last year?

How does she have the time to do this when she cant even come to a council meeting because of work.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lusk, if you want some sympathy about being "marginalized", talk to the mayor and other council members from last year, as I'm sure they feel your pain!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a big fan of hers, but I do see her point in asking for these documents.

This isn't about how anyone was treated last year, it's about how everyone is being treated now.

It's time our entire city council started wearing their big boy & girls pants and leave the diapers behind.

We need responsible government, I don't care who is leaving who out, they all need to communicate, we didn't elect 4 city council members, we elected 6 and a mayor.

Anonymous said...

To poster, time stamped 8:43AM.

Reference your paragraph 1...does this mean you are a fan of hers?

paragraph 2...does this theory apply when JJ, MoM, Sheriff,or whatever you choose to call her, is up for reelection?

paragraph 3.....does this also apply to many residents of Milton?

paragraph 4....do you think we are better off or worse off with current council?

Anonymous said...

So Karen is not in the popular group. When intelligent adults refuse to blindly follow, of course problems will occur. Karen is just exposing the problem for the public to see, which shows character and great strengh. Listening to other opinions and allowing debate would only improve Milton.

Anonymous said...

Karen and Bill have always been part of the problem and never the solution.
Both have been an embarrassment to our city.
She is only reaffirming it with her latest stunt.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the poster at 9:47...

RE: Paragraph 1, can you not read? the answer is NO

RE: Paragraph 2, Jan Jones in another boat as she isn't part of our city council...her meddling in city council affairs invites ridicule and criticism

RE: Paragraph 3, hello? don't you read this blog, of course it does

RE: Paragraph 4, I guess that really needs to be determined over the long run...unfortunately most of the damage occured last year when the council in place at that time voted to support the changes made to the city charter by the afformentioned Jan Jones

If the current council is to move forward, they need to move past petty acts such as talking behind each other's backs...

Anonymous said...

"Karen is just exposing the problem for the public to see, which shows character and great strength."

If you honestly believe that, I have some seaside property in Arizona you might want to see.

Anonymous said...

If you're gonna quote George Strait, do it right!

It's "Ocean Front Property in Arizona"

If you buy that, I'll throw the Golden Gate in free

Anonymous said...

Yeah you're right. Lets keep everything hidden from the public. They're not important. As long as the council keeps things hidden all is well. Keep your swamp land.

Anonymous said...

Now, now People....
C'mon People Now, Let's all Get Together.

Quick, who wrote that?

x: PS

Anonymous said...

I truly understand why the city council acts the way they do... they are just following the way the people in Milton are... for just a minute why don't you step outside the ring and look at the comments on this and other blogs where the mud is slung at each other. The vast majority of the City of Milton needs to put away their boxing gloves and truly work on the real problems of the City. Honestly, everytime I read these things it reminds me of those horrid slam books in high school. What a shame and what a waste of time.
As for Karen's request... she is a citizen, she has a right to request these and if she pays for them (6,000 pages at 35 cents each is $2,100 according to my calculations), then who cares? That's $2,100 in the City's bank account... at least this episode of "drama" is putting money back into the kitty instead of wasting time at council meetings asking the same question over and over 20 different ways as some councilmembers do and running up legal bills. Now, before the hateful comments come MY way... I am not on anyone's side... I AM ON MILTON'S SIDE, AS WE ALL SHOULD BE!!! I'm just sick and tired of hearing all the negative comments... isn't there anything GOOD in this City that we can focus on and talk about? Funny... those items in Milton News never get any comments... we are a sick, sick, sick people.

Travis Allen said...

Since everyone else is jumping in on the song bandwagon...

It's actually "C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try and love one another right now"

It was written by Chet Powers, sang by several groups, but the most famous version was sung by "The Youngbloods"

Anonymous said...

Well then, that should be our song.

Anonymous said...

Who's going to sing it publicly? Let's have City Council members sing it before the next Coucil Meeting! That would be fun! They'd have to join hands too.

Does anyone really know what the majority of Milton feels or how "the people and Milton are" since they don't get involved in anything anyway? Is it not the same 3-4000 folks that get involved out here? Seems that way. 23,000 people, 4,000 active in the community. Our we sure the census wasn't counting horses and chickens out here for people by mistake?

Anonymous said...

"Ocean Front Property in Arizona." Didn't know George said that, but if I had, I would not have quoted him.

No problem with your saying it George's way... I'll stick with mine.

Anonymous said...

Our song should be sung by George Strait.

Anonymous said...

"We gotta get out of this place

if it's the last thing we ever do.

We gotta get out of this place

Girl there's a better life
for me and you."

The Animals 1965

Anonymous said...

yep that is what they want us to do.... $$$

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and leave...don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Anonymous said...

So, go ahead and hate your neighbor,

Go ahead and cheat a friend.

Do it in the name of Heaven,

You can justify it in the end

There won't be any trumpets blowing..........

Come the judgement day

On the bloody morning after.............

One tin soldier rides away.

One Tin Soldier [The ode to Billy Jack] Coven

Anonymous said...

To anonymous time stamped 11:35AM

Previously you wrote: "I'm not a big fan of hers, but I do see her point in asking for these documents."
I asked you: "does this mean you are a fan of hers?"
You responded: "can you not read? the answer is NO"

I can read, the question is can you write? If you are not a fan of hers, no need to put BIG in the sentence.Just write: I am not a fan of hers......Ever heard of the KISS principle?

Anonymous said...

For anyone that thinks Karen Thurman did this for an honorable reason and is just trying to keep things honest and open, dosen't know her!

Anonymous said...

you could not have put it any better.

Anonymous said...

No need to worry about Mr. Lusk. He's busy making friends with people in Cherokee who hope to profit by bringing sewer to Milton.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog!

The bloggers are all evil! Who else can we hate and talk about?

It sure is better than a real job.

Anonymous said...

They could talk about you? Then again, maybe they are already doing that.

Anonymous said...

Talking about me.......say it aint so.