Flowery Branch is looking at training opportunities for its new City Council members, as well as a March retreat to discuss pressing and long-term issues in the South Hall city.
The Georgia Municipal Association and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute have scheduled the Newly Elected Officials Institute Feb. 18-19 in Tifton.
Because new council members Joe Anglin and Amanda Swafford “are finishing out a term and (were) not elected for their own terms, they are not required to attend the training,” said Melissa McCain, Flowery Branch’s city clerk.
“But it is always suggested, as there is a lot of information covered in these trainings sessions to help newcomers sitting on councils.”
The training provides “information to increase the awareness of the legal, financial and ethical responsibilities of city officials,” according to a Nov. 1 memo from the GMA.
McCain said the association offers some grants for required training, something the city would pursue if Anglin and Swafford choose to attend.
“But nothing is guaranteed,” she said.
Anglin won election Nov. 2 in an unopposed race to fill the unexpired term of Mike Miller, who resigned to run for mayor.
Swafford won a Sept. 21 special election to serve out the unexpired term of Craig Lutz, who starts Jan. 1 as the new South Hall representative on the Hall County Board of Commissioners.
Miller won his race Nov. 2 and will fill out the unexpired term of Diane Hirling, who resigned in May to retire to Florida.
He served as interim mayor after she left and until he resigned Sept. 27.
Because Miller completed the required training after his initial election last November, he is not required to go through another session, McCain said.
Now a complete group for the first time since Lutz’s resignation in April, the council and mayor are considering holding a two-day retreat March 11-12 in Flowery Branch.
City Manager Bill Andrew suggested to City Council last week a couple of dates that would mesh with the schedule of Gordon Maner, local government program manager and senior public service associate at the Carl Vinson Institute.
He said Sabrina Cape, who is working with the city on its capital improvement program, recommended Maner.
“She really felt that Mr. Maner has the most experience at (the institute) and would be someone who would really be able to help a new council and somewhat new mayor,” Andrew said.
He added he will meet with Maner in December “to really get the groundwork of what we want to see happening.”
“I’ll be working with you between now and that meeting to get a sense of some issues we’re interested in and want to pursue during the retreat.”
Andrew said the retreat would come on the heels of the city starting its budget process.
“I think this will be a real good sense of putting a foundation on what we want to see happening with the budget, with the capital plan and getting a good start on the 10-year plan the mayor has discussed,” he said.
Miller has said he would like the city to develop a 10-year plan for addressing roads, utilities and other needs.
“We’ve got growth coming — we know that, so we’ve got to put that vision on paper. We’ve got transportation and some infrastructure things we need to address,” he said.