CLARKSTON CITY COUNCIL
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Mayor: Ted Terry
Council: YT Bell, Jamie Carroll, Awet Eyasu,
Ahmed Hassan, Laura Hopkins, Debra Johnson
City Manager: Robin I. Gomez
City Clerk: Tracy Ashby
City Attorney: Stephen Quinn
- CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Terry called the meeting to order at 7:09pm.
- ROLL CALL/ PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Present: YT Bell, Jamie Carroll, Awet Eyasu, Ahmed Hassan, Laura Hopkins, Debra Johnson
Jamie Carroll made a motion to amend the agenda to add Item G2) to Approve a Settlement Agreement. YT Bell seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
- ADMINISTRATIVE BUSINESS/ PRESENTATION
C1) Approve Minutes: Council Meeting 1-7-2020 and Executive Session 1-28-2020
Ahmed Hassan made a motion to approve the Council Meeting 1-7-2020 and Executive Session 1-28-2020 minutes. YT Bell seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried. (6, 0).
C2) Recognize Clarkston Employees Service: OFC Hazlewood, Dan Defnall
Mr. Gomez recognized Officer Jedidia Hazlewood for five years of service.
Mr. Gomez advised that Dan Defnall, Finance Director is unable to attend this meeting and he will be recognized at the next meeting.
C3) Recognize New Hires: Sgt. Bodron, OFC. Frazier, Pete Livingston
Assistant Chief Hess recognized and introduced new hires Sgt. Bodron and OFC. Frazier.
Public Works employee was unable to attend the meeting and will be recognized at the March meeting.
C4) Blue Ridge Atlantic – Proposed Development
Christopher Eisenzimmer provide a presentation on their proposed housing project to be built at 4692 E Ponce de Leon Avenue and he announced a Community Meeting scheduled for 2-22-2020 for further public input.
C5) Clarkston Neighborhood Alliance
Lisa Williams discussed the Neighborhood Alliance and she read their mission statement.
1) Planning & Zoning Report
Shawanna Qawiy reported the next Planning and Zoning Meeting will be held February 18 and she hi-lighted that two requests for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) submitted by the NAMB and a CUP request from Brava Auto will be heard. The HPC will be graduating from their training on 2-6-2020 and she welcomed public input to that committee. The new CDA members have also completed their DDA training.
2) City Manager’s Report
Mr. Gomez reported on the status of the 2020 Census and he stressed the importance of the Census. He provided the Financial Report on unaudited figures for 2019. He discussed the progress with the Streetscapes.
Chief Hudson and Assistant Chief Hess gave an overview of Police statistics for the month of January and the status for new hybrid patrol vehicles. Council Members addressed questions to the Chiefs.
3) City Attorney’s Report
Stephen Quinn stated he would hold his report until Item G2.
4) Council Remarks
Awet Eyasu reminded that February is Black History Month and he discussed his attendance of the funeral for Ms. Betty Amin in January.
YT Bell echoed Councilmember Eyasu’s remarks for Ms. Betty. She discussed the Welcoming America assessments results. The City scored 31 out of 45 and the Action Plan to address corrections for deficiencies.
5) Mayor’s Report
Mayor Terry reported on visiting the Capitol with the City Manager and the Vice Mayor for DMA day and he mentioned the current proposed legislations that might impact local cities. He also wanted to pursue recognizing Ms. Betty Amin for her legacy works in Clarkston.
E. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Any member of the public may address the Council, during the time allotted for public comment. Each attendee will be allowed 3 minutes for comments at the discretion of the Presiding Officer. The public comment period will be limited to 40 minutes and it is not a time for dialogue. If your public comment contains a series of questions, please submit those to the City Clerk in writing. This will facilitate follow-up by the council or staff. The City Council desires to allow an opportunity for public comment; however, the business of the City must proceed in an orderly, timely manner.
Tracy Bishop welcomed the new Council Members and discussed his concern with the Mayors internet and campaign emails practices.
Amina Osman discussed issues with the construction companies leaving behind trash.
Mark Ford, Dawghouse addressed concerns with the business.
Warren Hadlock thanked the City manager for addressing a resident issue.
Chris Busing welcomed the new council members and he discussed usage of the committee system.
Susan Hood offered an apology for her comments at the last meeting and she commended the streetscape progress and she thanked the City for addressing the concrete pad installation at market and Rowland.
The Mayor closed public comments.
F. OLD BUSINESS
F1) Confirm Attorney
Awet Eyasu made a motion to confirm the Stephen Quinn as the City Attorney for the period January to December 2020. YT Bell seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
F2) Confirm Auditor
YT Bell made a motion to confirm Maudin & Jenkins as the auditors for 2020. Awet Eyasu seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
F3) Confirm Judge
Judge David Will spoke on his service as the Judge and he commended the Court Staff and Chief Hudson for their assistance with managing the courts. He discussed the state requirements for court and the outreach efforts he takes to address language interpreters issues and substance abuse issues. He addressed questioned posed by the Council. Awet Eyasu stated he has attended the court and he commended Judge Will on how he oversees the Court.
Ahmed Hassan made a motion to approve Judge Will to serve for 2020. YT Bell seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
F4) Confirm Solicitor
Christopher Diwan spoke on changes in the court operations. Discussion by the Council that the proposed agreement will be thru May 5, 2020 to provide an opportunity for the new council members to attend and become familiar with the court process. Mr. Diwan addressed questions posed by the Council.
Awet Eyasu made a motion to approve Christopher Diwan to serve as solicitor until May 5, 2020. YT Bell seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
The current Public Defender Frank Gaither Jr, (appointment made by the Judge) discussed his taking over the position in mid-2019 when his father had to step down for health reasons. He detailed how he addresses cultural and language issues in his service. Mr. Gaither addressed questions posed by the Council.
The Mayor asked Council to attend the courts and determine if they want to make any changes to be considered for the May Council meeting.
G. NEW BUSINESS
G1) Adopt Resolution for Municipal Court Policies
Jamie Carroll discussed the need and purpose of the resolution based on issues raised by the Southern Center for Human Rights and the Institutes for Justice to confirm policies for:
1) Indigency and Ability to Pay Determinations
2) Certified Interpretive Services
3) “Good Time” Credit
Laura Hopkins requested the interpreter information sheet be translated into seven different languages to insure attendees understood their options.
Jamie Carroll made a motion to adopt the Resolution for Municipal Court Policies and include Laura Hopkins recommendation to convert the interpreter information sheet into seven different languages so attendees can identify if they need an interpreter. YT Bell seconded the motion. Mayor Terry thanked the City Manager and City Attorney for addressing these concerns promptly. Stephen Quinn reported he worked closely with the Southern Center for Human Rights on this resolution and they had expressed they were pleased with the City’s response. A vote was called and the motion passed (6, 0).
G2) Amended Agenda: Approve a Settlement Agreement
The City Attorney detailed the purpose of the preliminary Settlement Agreement with the North American Mission Board to end the pending litigation. Discussion on the item and requested language changes to the public statements.
Laura Hopkins made a motion to permit public comment. Debra Johnson seconded the motion. A vote was called for YES – 3: Laura Hopkins, Debra Johns, Awet Eyasu, NO-3: Ahmed Hassan, YT Bell, Jamie Carroll.
The Mayor broke the tie and voted YES, the motion passed.
Mayor Terry closed the public comments.
Further discussion on proposed language changes to the public statements.
Laura Hopkins made a motion to amend the statement to delete the phrase “the law not on our side in this matter” and read “however, we ultimately determined that it is now in the best interests of the Clarkston community to give up this fight and focus our resources on other matters.” Debra Johnson seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (5- Yes: Laura Hopkins, Debra Johnson, Awet Eyasu, Jamie Carroll, YT Bell, No- 0, 1: Abstain – Ahmed Hassan)
YT Bell made a motion to amend the NAMB statement to remove “had no choice but” to be replaced with “decide or filed.” Debra Johnson seconded the motion. The Mayor clarified that if approved and NAMB rejects, then the Council will have to come back for another meeting. Mr. Quinn confirmed that was correct. The vote was called and was split evenly (Yes-3: Ahmed Hassan, Jamie Carroll, YT Bell, No- 3: Debra Johnson, Laura Hopkins, Awet Eyasu. The Mayor broke the tie, voted yes, and the motion passed.
Jamie Carroll made a motion to approve the settlement with the two amendments to the statement attached to the settlement agreement. YT Bell seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion passed (Yes-4: Debra Johnson, Laura Hopkins, Jamie Carroll, YT Bell, NO-2: Awet Eyasu, Ahmed Hassan).
Mr. Quinn stated he would send this document to NAMB’s attorney and advised it has been approved by Clarkston subject to the two changes. It will then be up to him to indicate whether NAMB accepts the changes and if so Mr. Quinn will inform Mr. Gomez to release the public statement. If not the Council will be informed and they can determine to call a special meeting or wait until the next work session.
H. EXECUTIVE SESSION
To Discuss a Personnel Matter
Awet Eyasu made a motion to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter. YT Bell seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
Executive Session – Personnel Matter
Debra Johnson made a motion to close the executive session and go into open session. YT Bell seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
YT Bell made a motion to adjourn the Council Meeting. Awet Eyasu seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).