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City considering code of conduct, parking changes
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Paul Simonton, of P.C. Simonton and Associates, briefs the Hinesville City Council and Mayor Allen Brown on road projects during a planning workshop in St. Simons Islands. - photo by Cailtin Kenney

ST. SIMONS ISLAND — Hinesville City Council and city administrators attended a planning workshop Friday and Saturday at the Sea Palms Resort and Conference center.

The annual workshop allows city officials to discuss projects, ask questions and decide on priorities for the rest of the year.

Items on this year’s agenda that were previously covered by the Courier included the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, water fluoridation, the city’s transit system, forming a youth council and a tree cutting ordinance.

Other items included:

Code of conduct

Mayor Allen Brown said the city needs a “code of conduct for elected officials and elected officials’ duties and responsibilities pertaining to city employees and contractors.”

Roswell’s code of conduct was given as an example.

District 2 Councilman Jason Floyd said that in a discussion the day before, the mayor mentioned that a council member had questions about going about talking to certain people and Brown thought, especially for new members to the council, “it would be good to have a general discussion about how council members should approach issues … and then in researching it I don’t think we have a written language, definition of those things, so we looked at cities that did,” Floyd said
Brown said he had recently taken a government class that discussed how a council should not “meddle in the day-to-day administration of the city. If your city has a city manager, let that individual serve as the liaison between the city’s staff -- department heads and others -- and the mayor and council.” Brown said he wanted to adopt a policy so the council had guidance.
Some council members questioned the need to adopt a code, citing a law that already lays out their duties and responsibilities, as well as their own professionalism. They said they have called on City Manager Billy Edwards or Assistant City Manager Kenneth Howard regarding issues in the city.

District 4 Councilman Keith Jenkins said council members all need to have an “understanding” about what they should do and that “some things don’t take a policy.”

They discussed the matter as well as their roles as elected officials for almost an hour.

“Within an organization, we’ve got to act like leaders and stuff, and we’ve got to have some type of trust with, amongst ourselves,” Jenkins said.

On working with each other, “it comes to communication,” Floyd said to a chorus of approval from the others. “We have to be able to talk to each other, and it’s all right to disagree. That’s what I’ve always said before, is there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing on an issue, and it doesn’t mean that it’s personal or you’re angry about it. It’s just you have a different perspective.”

At the end of the discussion, council members said it had been beneficial.

Parking in yards

Councilwoman Vicky Nelson added an agenda item, discussing residents who park vehicles in their yards because they have multiple drivers in the households and are unable to park all of their vehicles in the driveways.  

Nelson said she has given residents copies of the ordinance.

“And, technically, it’s a little confusing, and parking in the front yard to them means parking in front of their front door or whatever. But these people are parking on the side, adjacent to their driveway.”

Nelson said that if a car is parked adjacent to the household’s drive way, the owner should not be bothered by the city. She later added that if the car is carelessly parked in the front yard, then it is a problem.

Council members agreed that they had to find a way to word the ordinance so residents could understand how and where to park.

At the end of the discussion, they agreed to ask code enforcement to relax notifying residents for parking cars on their grass until the council could consider changing the ordinance.

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