I cannot be silent about the Union Recorder report, transcript, and recording of a large portion of our city's elected and appointed officials. I am compelled to speak out. Our community must not think the city council's reported behavior is condoned, emulated, or acceptable in other governments in our county.
By the lack of outrage at the continued arrogance of some our city's officials, I must conclude that many in our community know no better, expect no better, and/or believe they have no recourse. Our community deserves better than the arrogance of “the public is only going to perceive, what we tell them.” We should not have to tolerate likely serious violation of state Sunshine Laws. We should not have to be quiet about the likely conspiracy of “have you got both copies, so you can shred them.” No publicly elected official should participate in a discussion of retaliation based on a citizen exercising their First Amendment right to free speech and then justify it by “what is wrong with retaliation” and “it's is the way you do business.” Is this what we have become?
In the last few days I have heard several justifications for failure to challenge city officials. Every justification for doing nothing came down to fear of retaliation in some form. We must get along, to get along. We might need or want something. Everyone must do business with the city. Maybe someone will do something. … In summary, it is local government business as usual.
For those of you who have never left Milledgeville and Baldwin County, this is not how successful and thriving communities in the United States operate. We must not accept misbehavior of our community officials.
I have completed two careers governed by codes of honor, character and integrity. I never stood by and did nothing when action was required. It is now obvious there will be no action by the city council. After all, one of the city council defines integrity as “doing the right thing when people are watching.” Our community deserves a formal evaluation of the legal and ethical issues. This is what I have done, representing only myself as one of your elected officials. Requesting State assistance and advice, I sent copies of the published Union Recorder printed transcripts to:
Georgia State Attorney General
State Rep. Rusty Kidd
State Sen. Burt Jones
To any elected or appointed official who considers retaliation for me exercising my First Amendment right, “I DARE YOU!"
Henry R. Craig