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Walthourville mayor upset over 'lack of participation'
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"If you don't have time to be committed to the position you hold, then you need to resign."
That was the message Walthourville Mayor Daisy Pray delivered to city councilmembers during last week's council meeting while discussing her displeasure over the recent cancelation of an all-day planning workshop due to "lack of participation."
Pray had requested since March to hold a daylong retreat for herself, the council and other city officials to hash out an agenda for tackling some of Walthourville's most pressing issues, including the ongoing water and sewer projects.
In April, the council unanimously agreed to meet at the Liberty County Development Authority building May 17, but according to Pray and councilwoman Patricia Green, the meeting was called off when "not everyone could attend."
Pray said she was disappointed the workshop was canceled because of the inability of some council members to attend; however, she would not release the names of those who planned to be absent.
"We're behind (in planning) and we need to catch up. If you're not willing to be here to catch up, you need to resign. I'm just being honest about my feelings. If you don't have time to be committed to the position you hold, then you need to resign," the mayor said. "We're elected officials and we have to look out for the city. Sometimes we have to let personal things go to be here and to carry on with what's right for the city."
Green concurred with Pray and cited a recent planning meeting of Liberty County officials during which Walthourville was not mentioned - an example of why the mayor and council must rally together to create a voice for the city and protect its interests.
"We're the second largest city in the county and (county officials) are not even talking about Walthourville, so we're going to have to get together and do what we have to do ... to make things better for the city," the councilwoman said. "If we don't get together and plan together and share our ideas together, we're not going to grow. We're not going to do anything."
Pray said she wants "to get everyone involved and get input" from each of the five council members, but if that meant holding the city back from progressing, she would "carry on and move on" without absent officials.
With councilman Charlie Anderson and Mayor Pro Tem Larry Baker not in attendance, councilman James Hendry sat quietly as Green and councilwoman Luricia Lovette agreed with Pray that another date should be set to hold the workshop.
A Saturday in June was tentatively set as the reschedule date for the workshop. The council will choose a final date for the retreat during a June 12 meeting.
"We're going to be there," Pray said when describing the intensity of the planning workshop, "until we get everything ironed out and put on the table about where we're going to take this city."
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