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August 17th, 2017 08:11 a.m.




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Citizen leader forced off transportation advisory group

Wayne Stradley resigns over arguments with government leaders about autonomy of group

POSTED: August 8, 2017 6:47 p.m.
JEFF GILL/The Times

Wayne Stradley resigned Tuesday from the Citizens Advisory Committee, which works to give citizen input to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization.

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The leader of a transportation citizens advisory group resigned Tuesday in a clash with government leaders over the creation of a subcommittee to study a potential North Hall Parkway.

“I was just trying to do what’s right for the citizens,” Wayne Stradley said following a transportation planning meeting. “That’s where my heart is.”

Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller told Stradley before the meeting he believed Stradley had overstepped his bounds to the extent that he should resign from the Citizens Advisory Committee, and if he didn’t, Miller would ask Hall County Commissioner Billy Powell to replace him.

Stradley is Powell’s appointee on the committee, which works to give citizen input to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, the local area’s lead transportation planning agency.

Miller is on the MPO’s decision-making policy committee, which voted Tuesday on bylaws that say the Citizens Advisory Committee can create subcommittees “as needed from within the membership of the (committee).”

The issue stems from the citizens committee voting in April to create a subcommittee with members outside the advisory group to study the parkway.

Gainesville officials later responded by saying subcommittee members should only be made up of committee members.

Allowing members “to form their own subcommittee from whomever they choose has an unintended consequence, which is a lack of diversity of thought,” Gainesville City Manager Bryan Lackey said in July.

In response to the city’s concerns, Stradley wrote in an email, “While there is merit to (Lackey’s) position, I do not agree and told Mr. Lackey that it should be left up to the CAC for a vote.”

Also, in emails, Stradley said there’s an issue of autonomy.

“Either the CAC is a ‘citizen’ committee, representing the citizens, or not,” he said.

“I think the CAC should be autonomous and able to form subcommittees as long as they know the purpose, the members and (have) a deadline.”

Stradley said he was disappointed in resigning.

“I had good intentions, but I have to honor and respect the MPO’s policies,” he said.



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