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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of July 16, 2013

I began recording the City Council late last year, because of my desire that the City do it on their own as any modern 21st century community began doing long ago. I had people tell me that they couldn't make it to the meetings, but they would like to see what is going on. I was also told by some council members that my summaries did not truly reflect the record, so having a video/audio recording cannot be misinterpreted.

So below is the City Council meeting. Beside each agenda item, you will see the minute:second. You can drag the marker on the video display to the point in the broadcast that you are interested in seeing.

Agenda about the City Council meeting of July 16, 2013

Special Presentations
A. Presentation of Business Well Crafted Award to Johnson Piano Exchange - (1:20)
B. Presentation of Retiring Members of Volunteer Boards and Commissions - (7:00)
C. Presentation of the 17th Consecutive Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the City of Hickory by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) - (13:35)
D. Presentation from Business Development Committee Member - Ryan Lovern (16:20) speaks about Real Estate process and planning changes in the City of Hickory.

Persons Requesting to be Heard (23:00)
Addendum Citizens Requesting to be Heard

Consent Agenda (47:30)

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Rezoning Petition 13-09 for the Property Located at 3254 NC Hwy 127 South, Hickory. - (48:00) - Presentation by Shimari Myer (spelling?)

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant Agreement for Agile Specialty Inc., dba Dennison Precision Machine Co. - (51:50) - Dave Leonetti presentation

2. Catawba County Gang Initiative Hickory Police Department will update Council on the Catawba County Gang Initiative. (56:30) - Presentations

3. Legal Counsel Advisory Opinion on Conflict of Interest Policy. 
(1:06:30) - City Staff Attorney Arnita Dula Presentation
Conflict of Interest Documents from the HDR article of July 7, 2013
I will let this presentation stand by itself without any more said than above. What Arnita Dula presents here is Hickory Inc.'s opinion and they are not the final arbiters of what is and what isn't conflicts of interest. The final arbiters will be the public.


Harry Hipps said...

The response by the City and the Mayor in regard to conflict of interest issues has, predictably, gotten to a discussion of the law and what you can and can't get away from. While this is important and has to be dealt with, this issue goes beyond legalities and goes to the heart of what is wrong here in Hickory.

The city may work for the good of all citizens sometimes, but there is definitely a "club" or "clique" here that caters to insiders. There are actions taken which may not be strictly illegal, but aren't fair either. The example of city loans that are not well publicized to the general public, but have gone to council members children are a good example. These citizens are eligible for the loans, but what about the many that don't even know they exist?

I can tell you that I had some work done at my house and I needed the utilities to be marked before digging. Piedmont Natural Gas showed up promptly, Duke Power came promptly. The City did not respond. Why? Because City officials don't mind stepping on the persona non grata.

The lack of fairness and mutual concern is a stench on Hickory and this City has a reputation (as an executive from Atlanta once told me) of having "the good ole boy network from hell".

I believe that some Council members have crossed the line by voting to give City funds to organizations that they are members of and benefit from. (And if there is no benefit, then why are we spending the money?) But as long as we have leaders that focus on a certain group of people and don't concentrate on the whole City we aren't going to progress.

James Thomas Shell said...

Yeah, I'm not playing ball with the cabal. You are exactly right. This is the problem with Hickory. We are going to try to beat it, but it will be an uphill struggle. The insiders are going to do everything in their power to protect their little turf and it will stay little.

We know what the problems are and how to fix them, but it isn't going to fit in the template of certain people.

In Hickory they are more worried about keeping things from happening, because they can't get a piece of the pie or until they can get a piece of the pie.

Here's to their demise. I pray to God about that every night.