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Citizen leader forced off transportation advisory group
Wayne Stradley resigns over arguments with government leaders about autonomy of group
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Wayne Stradley resigned Tuesday from the Citizens Advisory Committee, which works to give citizen input to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization

Hall County’s primary transportation planning agency

Policy Committee

What: Decision-making arm of the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization

Who: Top elected officials, elected officials’ designees and a Georgia Department of Transportation representative

Chairman: Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs

Vice Chairman: Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller

Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan

Jackson County Commissioner Ralph Richardson Jr. on behalf of Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom Crow

Benny Bagwell on behalf of Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Richard Higgins

Kacey Mertz with the DOT

Citizens Committee

What: Recommends transportation actions to the policy committee

Who: 19 members appointed by government officials and headed by a chairman and vice chairman. The group recommends transportation actions to the policy committee.

Technical Coordinating Committee

What: Recommends transportation actions to the policy committee

Who: 16 members, including top managers, engineers and public works directors, headed by a chairman and vice chairman

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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