Perdue, Legislators Lecture Warner Robins Officials on Conflict

5:47 PM, Oct 21, 2010   |    comments
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Gov Sonny Perdue

Gov. Sonny Perdue and Houston County state legislators are warning Warner Robins city officials that their bickering may hurt the city's reputation and its future.

They're offering their help, and that of the state's Carl Vinson Institute, to smooth out conflict at city hall.

Perdue, state Sen. Cecil Staton, and state representatives Larry O'Neal, Willie Talton, and Tony Sellier signed the Sept. 8 letter.

They sent a copy of the letter to Mayor Chuck Shaheen and all six council members. 13WMAZ requested one of the copies through an open records request. Council member Mike Daley's letter was the one provided, but each letter contained the same message.

VIEW THE LETTER HERE

The letter says Warner Robins' "sterling reputation" has helped it weather the recession, and they cited its Little League success and honors by a national magazine that named it one of the nation's best places to raise a family.

But the recent conflict among city council members and Mayor Chuck Shaheen, the state officials wrote, "does not warrant bragging rights" and could hurt economic development.

"This type of negative attention does not encourage economic development prospects, and the city may find it challenging to earn grants and loans," the group wrote.

 Their "dysfunctional actions" do not fairly represent the people of Warner Robins, the letter says.

They offered the services of UGA's Carl Vinson Institute to counsel city officials on how to manage the city more efficiently and guide them on how the mayor-council relationship should work.

And they also urged them to adopt the team spirit of the city's winning Little League teams.

"The media coverage of the Warner Robins government is not positive and will have detrimental effects on the city, her citizens and this entire state," the letter says.

 Spokesman for the governor, Bert Brantley, said Perdue wrote the letter out of concern for his hometown, but he said this week, tThe intent of the letter apparently "didn't work out".

Council members Daron Lee and John Williams made national headlines Thursday, because of a comment about a "cotton field", during a council meeting.

Daron Lee said Wednesday, he agrees with Perdue that city leaders should come together, but he says the Governor needs to know all the facts before commenting.

Lee said, "If he really cares about the city, not saying he doesn't, he needs to take time to come down and meet us. We'll be happy to sit down and talk, and we will explain what's really going on in Warner Robins, Georgia."

Council member Bob Wilbanks said the Governor's words reiterate what he's being saying since January.

Wilbanks said, "If we follow our rules, our ordinances and state law, we wouldn't have chaos to begin with."

Mayor Chuck Shaheen could not be reached for comment on the letter, or the controversy surrounding Daron Lee and John Williams.

 

 

Shaheen said Monday, that he did not hear the exchange about the cotton field, between Lee and Williams.

Lee told Williams, "I'm not working in a cotton field." Wiliams replied, "You should be."

Williams has said repeatedly, that he did not intend for his remark to sound racist.

Williams says he will not resign from council, despite the NAACP's call for his resignation.

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