MILLEDGEVILLE — After my four years of public service ended last December, I looked forward to many things, not the least of which was letting someone else’s name be in the newspaper in place of mine. Growing up in front of everyone is not the easiest thing to do, especially when we make mistakes. To quote a famous punk-rock tune, “Should I stay or should I go?” was a mini narrative that I hummed while walking the sidewalks during slow sunsets on many a day. But I’ve always subscribed to a theory that – no matter where you go, there you are.
In March of 2011, I asked a simple, innocent question; “Why don’t we have fireworks anymore?” With a lot of help from a lot of people, I was lucky to play a part in bringing them back that summer - much to the delight of our community. We continued the tradition in 2012 and 2013, my final years as a public official.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been, but I was a little surprised that the City asked for my assistance again this year. I accepted to volunteer and began planning another fun fireworks event, which in turn, required me to return to City Hall – at least minimally – to get proper permissions and make sure plans were being operated smoothly. As this fun, albeit time consuming, task about a happy occasion was MY small orbit of concentration the juxtaposition of recent headlines and its effect on City Hall couldn’t have been of a graver contrast. For those who claim there is indifference, I can attest to that not being the case.
It is not my place to cast judgment upon others, not after what I’ve experienced. What I do know is that hundreds of truly amazing people work for the City of Milledgeville. These are the people whose names do not make the paper. For a brief few weeks this June, I was able to revisit the friends I made and work with departments in which I held (and still hold) in the highest regard. For those who attended the fireworks, there were no unfortunate accidents or incidents and traffic flowed like a swift summer breeze afterwards. That’s our police department. The locations for the pyrotecnics on one side of the mall and entertainment on the other were perfectly set up and secured. That’s our public works department. We set off $8,000 worth of explosions with no one hurt, no damage to a single twig of a tree. That’s our fire department. The company that came to Milledgeville to put on the display told me how precise, responsive and organized the process was – better than most cities they said. That’s our Planners and Permit departments.