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ATLANTA CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD

APRIL SPECIAL CALLED MEETING MINUTES
55 Trinity Avenue, SW, Committee Room One
Atlanta,Georgia30303
April 18, 2012 / 6:00 P.M

ROLL CALL

(Eleven Members of the Board)

ACTIVE MEMBERS PRESENT

PAMALA ALINIECE (Aliniece)             
RYAN JOHNSON (R. Johnson)
PAUL BARTELS (Chair/Bartels)            
RUTH PRICE (Price)
BARBARA HUBBARD (Hubbard)                     
JOY MORRISSEY (Morrissey)
WILLIAM HARRISON (Harrison)        
MACEO WILLIAMS (Williams)
CHARIS JOHNSON (C. Johnson)                      

ACTIVE MEMBERS ABSENT

ALAN MORRIS (Morris)

ONE VACANT APPOINTMENT

Office of the Mayor (vacant 9 months)

STAFF ATTENDEES

WILLIAM CASTING (Casting), City Law Department, Assigned Board Attorney;
SHEENA ROBERTSON (Robertson), Investigator;
SHARESE SHIELDS, Interim Executive Director;
MYOLA SMITH, Transcriber (Smith)

A G E N D A

MEETING CALLED TO ORDER

The Special Call Meeting was called to order by Chair Bartels at 6:00 p.m.  The Chair welcomed citizens and guest announcing Public Comments will be heard later into the agenda, and if anyone cared to speak, to please sign up.  Comments are limited to three (3) minutes per person.

AMENDING AGENDA - APPROVAL OF MARCH MINUTES

The Chair asked the Board to amend tonight’s agenda to consider approval of March 8, 2012 minutes still pending.  He then entertained a motion. 

It was moved by Harrison to amend the agenda to include approval of March 8, 2012 minutes.  The motion was seconded by Morrissey and hearing no discussion, the motion as approved by a vote of seven (7) to one (1).  The Nay vote was made by Williams.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES – March 8, 2012 Meeting

The Chair directed the board’s attention to March 8, 2012 Board minutes.  Referring to the last page, under “Board Votes Following Closed Session” the following motion was made regarding the Personnel Committee Recommendations:  “Morrissey moved to accept the Personnel Committee recommendation.  The motion was seconded by Aliniece;” however, following the motion and second, there was no record of the vote.   

Discussion...

Chair Bartels stated, “According to my recollection, there was a unanimous vote to accept the recommendation.”

Williams said, “As long as it is brought forth that this is your recollection.”  Bartels agreed, “Yes, that is the best of my recollection, but certainly if anybody has any other input we can talk about that.”

Interim Director Shields stated,Mr. Chair, I think the question was at some point, Mr. Williams left the meeting early and I think the uncertainty was whether he left before the vote or after the vote.  So it may have been unanimous but I don’t know if Mr. Williams was present for that.”

Williams said, “I was present for the vote and I voted against it.  I left after the adjournment but before the huddle that you all did back there on that side of the room and I was asked if I was going to be a part of it (the huddle) and I said, no.”

Shields said that if Williams recalls voting against the motion, then the record should reflect his vote.

Bartels suggested adding Williams comments to the record, a motion can be made to that effect.

Note:  It should be noted Williams asked for a copy of the minutes to review his statement and after reviewing the minutes and the statements in question, he was asked if the minutes refreshed his recollection, he said, “It didn’t but we go along with whatever we need at this point in the agenda.“

It was moved by Harrison to add to the March minutes the corrections as stated by the Chair indicating that the vote was unanimously approved.  The motion was seconded by Morrissey.  Hearing no further discussion, the motion was approved.

PERSONNEL MATTERS – EXECUTIVE SESSION

Chair Bartels entertained a motion to go into Executive Session to discuss personnel matters or remain in regular session. 

Williams asked the Board not to go into Executive Session and for the meeting to continue openly, so that the public could see the guidance and direction of the Board.  Hearing no motion to closed session, the meeting continued.

Chair Bartels stated the purpose of the Special Called meeting.  He stated, “This meeting was asked for by a majority of members.  I understand there were some questions regarding the selection process.  I have asked Mr. Casting (Board assigned Attorney), to look into that and get some specific information regarding any questions that were raised, as well as, an opinion on the propriety of the process.”

Casting reported, “There are two types of positions with the City, ‘Classified’ and ‘Unclassified.’  This one for the Executive Director would be an unclassified position with the City.  The way that works as far as an unclassified position when they are opening it up for applications, the position can close at any time, when Human Resources (HR) feels they have a sufficient number of applicants.”

“This unclassified position attracted approximately 150 applicants during a four day period and HR closed it at that time.  Joy Morrissey as Chair of the ACRB asked HR if they would re-open the position for an additional day.  I checked with HR, Ms. Thomasania Robinson, and she said it is not uncommon for HR to be asked to re-open a position so that more can apply.  During that extra day, fourteen (14) new people applied for the position.  HR was asked to review all the applications and submit the fifteen candidates whose application best fit the qualifications of the position.  After verifying with the HR Representative, Ms. Robinson, who was assigned this task, that Board Members did not call for any specific names be included or excluded from the final list.  I asked her this on more than one occasion and she said, “No one asked HR to add names or drop names or did they even mention any names.”  “Of the fifteen people who made the HR cut, five of those fifteen applied on the additional day of filing including Holly Wiseman and Sheena Robinson.”

Bartels thanked Casting and then he opened the floor for discussion reminding everyone to discuss facts and not personalities, attack motives or reputation. 

Discussion…

Price asked, “If a 150 people applied from January 3rd to January 6, what was the purpose for asking for some additional time?  Why was it opened a second time if you had 150 candidates at the closing of the first time, why did we re-open the process?”

Bartels stated, “I didn’t have any direct knowledge of that.  We were informed by Mr. Casting that it is not unusual.” 

Harrison stated, “I think that my concern with the process was not so much that it was opened and then closed and then reopened, my concern would be that it may have been reopened at the recommendation of a former Executive Director who was recommending our final selection.  If in fact we have a former Executive Director who may have asked the former Board Chair to re-open the process so that one person can get in and that particular former Executive Director was under investigation, that’s who I have a little problem with, me personally.  Were you able to look into that?”

Casting said, “Like I said, it was not improper.  She (Morrissey) was Chair.” 

Harrison, “I mean the former Executive Director making the recommendation.”

Casting, “I went with the facts that I had.  It is not uncommon.”

Harrison, “Okay, that’s my only concern.  I think that for me posed a little problem.”

Williams, “Former director being who?”

Harrison answered, “Cristina Beamud.” 

Williams, “So that is who asked for it?”  Harrison responded, “That is what I understand.  I have not made any proceeds for any type of records, no documents, and no request for the production of documents.”

Williams, “Who asked for the additional dates?  Did Cris ask for the additional day or did Joy (Morrissey)?

Casting stated, “I have some emails that I would be glad to give the Board.  I asked Ms. Morrissey if she could give me all her emails that went to the HR folks and it just says, ‘Can we open it for just one more day.’  No names were mentioned as far as what people are interested in the position or anything of that sort.  I do have copies of those emails if anyone would like to see them.”

Williams said, “According to my recollect, I think that in the previous meeting, it was asked about the young lady from New Orleans and it was said that Ms. Morrissey had already talked to this person and knew she was interested in that was before re-opening up the selection process.”

Morrissey responded, “I never spoke or emailed or had any conversation with Holly Wiseman other than when she walked into the public forum.”

Hubbard asked, “How long had the position been open since the additional day was asked for?”

Casting answered, “Four days.”  Hubbard, “Only four days?”  Casting, “And they had a 150 applicants.”

Bartels interjected, “Just to clarify, it is HR’s usual practice to close the position that is non-classified when there are a certain number of applicants.”  Casting added, “What they do when they feel like they have a sufficient number or when it starts getting a little bit unyielding, they’ll close it.  Like I said, it is not uncommon for them to open it and like I said, five or 1/3 of your final fifteen that you decided on came from that open day.”

Harrison, “I noticed that you have given us emails from Ms. Morrissey, but do you have emails from Ms. Cris Beamud?” 

Casting, “I don’t know anything about Cris or any allegation.  All I know is that I was just asked to investigate to see if there was anybody with the Board had contacted HR, and I talked with HR and what I told you is exactly what was discussed.”

Harrison, “Do you have any emails from Cris Beamud to Joy Morrissey?”  Casting answered, “No.”

R. Johnson, “Just for clarification purposes and I heard you (Harrison) say that she (Beamud) was under investigation.  Is she under formal investigation?”  Harrison responded, “You may want to ask the City that.”  R. Johnson said, “No, but you stated that though.  Was there a connection to this or anything?” Harrison responded, “I’m not at liberty to say that.”

Bartels, “I don’t think any specific accusation about anybody being under investigation should be made until there are concrete facts that can be presented to back that up.  We are not trafficking in rumors here.  I think the other thing we probably need to consider here, is it really that unusual for somebody who’s departing from a position, to make a recommendation for a potential candidate they think is qualified.”

Williams, “It might be just as you said and not be unusual, but at the same time, you have to consider the person.  At the same time that same individual who is leaving to give a certain day for leaving and turn around and add certain days on.”

Bartels, “That’s not what we are discussing here Sir.”  Williams asked, “What then are we discussing Sir?”

C. Johnson said, “I think one of the concerns I had, because I was on the Personnel Committee, was the fact there is such a thing as disclosure or being aware that this process has taken place and if the posting of the position had been closed and I don’t know what officially, the Chairperson at the time, is suppose to do or not do, but I think it would have been at least better or more prudent if more persons were aware that that process was going to take place rather than one or two people being privy to that.  I think the reason why there is concern is because there is always that appearance that things are not quite right.  So I think that we want to have as much disclosure in this process.  Regardless of the fact if you think the person ultimately is the best candidate for the job, the way in which that person gets there to the position you don’t want to have that shrouded in any kind of secrecy or impropriety or something that doesn’t quite seem quite right and I think that is the reason why this meeting was called.  Because I feel as though, when we made the vote we made the vote with a certain understanding.  Then after the vote was cast and after we had concluded the meeting, I felt as though we had we had then became aware of the fact that the position was reopened.  I felt as though that was something that we, the Board, should have been aware of.  Let’s just say, for example, what if the media had found that out and you were asked that even though, as a board member, you were totally unaware that that process had taken place, I think that puts the Board, in totality, as well as individually, in a kind of awkward like position.  That is my concern.”

Aliniece asked, “Was HR aware that Cris was no longer on board when she made that request?”  Bartels answered, “Well Human Resources control personnel records, so I would assume they were.  Mr. Casting can you address that?”

Casting responded, “HR doesn’t know anything about Cris Beamud.  They were just asked if they could open up the position for one day.  The Chair asked them to do it and it is a common practice.  So they did it.  There was no question or conversation between HR and Cris.  They don’t know who Cris is necessarily, depending on who you are talking to.  But I did talk to the HR person on two separate occasions and they said they were never given any names to add to the fifteen they were ultimately given to the Board and they were never asked to add any names or take any names away or never were suggested any names.  Like I said, five of your total fifteen, came out of that last day.  There were a total of fourteen that last day, five of which made the final cut.”  Bartels added, “And that position was posted on the City’s website?”  Casting responded, “Yes.”

Price, “It is still not clear in my mind because I was going to asked if Joy (Morrissey) could tell us what was going on in her mind, when she decided that she wanted to re-open it when a 150 people had already applied.”  Harrison agreed, “I was going to asked if Joy (Morrissey) could address that question.”

Morrissey said, “I’m glad to do that.  The very first email that begins this is one from Cristina Beamud to Alan Morris and me.  It says, (Morrissey reads email…“Good morning, I was trying to send the positing for the ED job to a friend who is in New Orleans and may be interested.  Her name is Holly Wiseman.  I went to send her the link because I had seen it posted last week and I can no longer find it on the City’s website.  Did you know that it is no longer up? Maybe I missed it, but I don’t think so.  I hope you are well and you enjoy the New Year.”…end of email.  Morrissey continues her comments, “Alan responds to Cristina (Beamud) and copy’s me and says, “Joy can you contact Thomasenia about this issue?”  Morrissey adds, “Then we get into a string of emails.  I sent an email to Thomasenia and want to let Williams see it while I read it and it is to Thomasenia, of HR, and I am copying Sharese Shields and Myola Smith.  The subject line is ACRB Directors, “Ms. Thomasenia, as of today, a potential applicant could not find the posting on the city website.  I looked and didn’t see it either.  Can you give us some insight into this?”  Thomasenia, HR. responds to me and Alan Morris, “The job is now posted on the NEOGOV.com.”    Morrissey then asked the Board, “So what is the question?”

C. Johnson answered, “I think the question is and I don’t know if it is more so of a question as a statement, but my concern is that the disclosure or the information or the awareness that the job was going to be reopened was conducted just among a few people.  I think that it was a process that seems and don’t want to say, ‘a bit questionable,’ but on the other hand, we are here because as I said, I was on the Personnel Committee, I was not aware that the process was one of which the posting was close and then re-opened per your request.  I guess my concern is why that information was not provided to us just to make sure we all felt comfortable with that process too.  Everybody on the Board may or may not have felt comfortable about it.  It could have been one or two people who said, if you missed the deadline, you miss the deadline, we got a 150 people, and it happens.  It is an unfortunate situation so for you not to be able to provide that information to everybody and make people aware of that it gives the appearance potentially, the appearance that there is some collusion or some corruption or taint in the process. So that is my concern.”

Bartels interjected, “But we’ve been informed that there is no regulation or law prohibiting that from being done.” 

C. Johnson stated, “But we didn’t know that until we had to call this meeting.  We were never told that.  So my concern would be is that you are telling me where we have made a vote, we went through a four month selection process, we do a vote and we don’t find out until we are standing after the meeting has concluded, after we have made the vote, based on the information we were relying on.  As I said, the point is not whether not that candidate or the person who has been selected is the best candidate; it is the process in which this is done is my concern.  I think that you all should be concerned about that as a board.  This is a public entity…this is public money and public trust that we need to be concerned about. This is the public sector that we need to be concerned about.”

Morrissey asked C. Johnson if she had a question. 

C. Johnson responded.  “I don’t have a question, it is a comment.”  Bartels agreed that C. Johnson was making a comment, expressing an opinion.

Harrison, “I think Joy (Morrissey) would be the better person to explain why it was not disclosed to everybody and that is why I was asking you (Morrissey) because the statement she (C. Johnson) made was in regards to disclosure and you (Morrissey) were the one who made the decision.  So my thinking would be could you explain to the Board how that all came about?”

R. Johnson commented, “Ms. Morrissey alone cannot select the individual that we were going to bring to the Board.  She can’t do it by herself; it was the duty of the Personnel Committee.  Now we again, may have a question about how the pool was presented to us, but that doesn’t change, as Charis (C. Johnson) said, whether or not that person was qualified to carry out those duties.  We feel uncomfortable about it but we all still took a vote.  If we saw somebody else that we selected that we had interest in, we could have selected that individual as well and not even gone down the road of selecting a questionable candidate.”

Harrison said, “But I think the problem we have is non-disclosure on re-opening the process based on an email from Cris Beamud.” 

R. Johnson said, “But that is part of the process.  Harrison agreed, “That is why we want Joy (Morrissey) to address it and explain.”

R. Johnson, “I am not saying that what you are asking is irrelevant, I’m just saying that there is kind of safe guard in place…it’s not like she herself appointed this person to come before the board.”

Williams, “Then are you saying you and the whole Personnel Committee was part of that?”  

R. Johnson answered, “I’m not saying anything.”

Morrissey responded, “The email that Cris sent to me and the Chair of the Personnel Committee was addressed.  Alan (Morris) was very busy and he asked me to check on the issue.  I checked with HR and what I was told, is that it could be re-opened. I spoke with Alan (Morris); he is the Chair of the Personnel Committee.  He thought that was good idea so we did that.  Nothing clandestine occurred.  No one meant for anything not to be above board.”

Bartels stated, “I would also like to make a comment at this point.  I think being a chairperson of a committee like this is something you don’t really understand until you have done it.  Since I was elected Chair in February, I’m getting to understand what that is like and part of that is that especially, during times like the times the Board has gone through the last few months, you have to make decisions almost on a daily basis.  There is not time to consult every member of the Board on every decision.  That is part of the reason why a Chair is elected to make decisions like that without necessarily conducting everybody on every point.  There sounds like there is some disagreement on whether this is something that should have been presented to the Board.  I hear people’s opinion on that.  I acknowledge that disagreement but these are judgments that somebody acting as chair has to make pretty quickly doing what they know at the time and doing what they think is best at the time.  I am not saying that nobody has a right to know what is going on but it is kind of like don’t judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.”

Williams,Mr. Chair, are you saying you don’t believe in full transparency.” Bartels, “No, I am not saying that at all.  I’m saying that sometimes decisions have to be made without consulting every single member of the board.  That’s all I’m saying.”

C. Johnson said, “May I asked this then, was there ever any consideration given to the Personnel Board? I understand the emphasis made on Chair of the Board and Chair of the Personnel Committee, I get that; however, isn’t there some connection also if you are having a conversation as the Chair of the Board with that of the Chair of the Personnel Committee and the next Chair, and I don’t know how much you (Chair Bartels) were aware of this at the point either, (Bartels interjected, “I wasn’t.”) but was there any consideration in terms of providing that information to the rest of the Personnel Committee?  That is would Joy (Morrissey) have told Alan (Morris), who was the Chair of the Personnel Committee and then in turn, Alan (Morris) would have informed the entire Personnel Committee and we would have been aware of the process.  So we wouldn’t feel as though…at least, I wouldn’t have felt as though I have been bamboozled.  Because I feel I have been kind of blindsided by this process.  So that is just my feeling.”

Harrison, “So what we have basically is only certain members of the Personnel Committee who were charged with selecting a new Executive Director knew that the process had been reopened.”

C. Johnson, “Paul (Bartels) was on the Personnel Committee too.” Bartels interjected, “I didn’t know.”

Williams, “What I am hearing is the person who was subject to that transmission is the same person who is subject to getting in after the extension, is the same person that got rejected by the New Orleans community twice…twice.”  Bartels interjected, “We are not here to discuss that.”  Williams said, “I want to have my say, since he (Casting) is acting as Joy’s (Morrissey) attorney.  However, but what I am saying is the whole process was wrong from the beginning.  I said that at the very beginning and I say it right now…from the instant appointments, to the people who were left out the selection, to the opening of just a mere window of opportunity and then to close it.  The whole thing is just a joke.”

Price said that she asked to be on the Search Committee when she first came on the board.  She then asked if she could read an email from then Chair Morrissey.  She read, “In regards to appointing the committee, I choose members who have some time on the board as oppose to those who were most recently appointed {referring to me and Mr. Harrison, who were the last ones appointed}.  I aimed for a cross section of appointing agencies which I believe is a unique sampling of the city.  I considered members who have demonstrated common sense, integrity, lack of bias and a heavy dose of impartially.”  Price stated, “Now those are some strong words and evidentially, your Chairman didn’t really think you needed to know.”

Bartels said, “It sounds like that is a personal issue directed at a person.” 

Price answered, “I don’t think so, and these were her feelings when she was forming her committee (Personnel Committee).

Following the discussion, Chair Bartels asked Attorney Casting to give his opinion on how the Board should proceed from this point.  Casting stated, “You need to decide if you are going to start from scratch and redo this or go with the person that you elected.”

Discussion…

Williams commented, “Please keep in mind that this (advice) comes from an attorney for the City.  He is the city’s attorney, as well as, the people’s attorney when they come before this Board.”

Harrison asked, “Bill (Casting), there’s not a basis for us to start over from scratch, is there?  We have not violated any rules with regards to the selecting of Holly Wiseman?”

Casting answered, “Since Holly is yet to be formally offered the position, if the board decides to throw out the election results, they can and they can start from scratch, if you want to.”

Harrison, “Or we can keep the selection we have and go from there.”  Casting answered, “Sure, it is your (board) choice.”

Williams said, “And can we also pick a whole new Personnel Committee for the new selection?”  Casting answered, “You can do whatever you want, but if you do, it could go on forever.”

Williams responded, “But it would show transparency to the public.”

Price commented.  “I don’t think it is fair to the 150 people who meet the deadline for us to scratch the whole thing and start over.  I say scratch the 14 people who did not meet the deadline since our Chairman cannot intelligently tell us why she decided to open it up again.  It is not fair.”

Casting added, “What you have got to remember is 1/3 of the final 15 that you voted on, came from that last day.”

Price stated, “That because that is what we were given.”

Williams, “We never received a resume’ from none of them accept the final four.”

Following the discussion, it was moved by Harrison to go into Executive Session.  The motion was seconded by R. Johnson.  The motion was approved with one Nay vote from Williams.

Chair Bartels announced the closed session and asked everyone to leave the room; however, the request was met with some objection from the public.  The objections were being made based on the matter not being a personnel issue but a policy issue.

It should be noted that when asked by Chair Bartels to render an opinion, Attorney Casting stated, “You can go into Executive Session to discuss and deliberate upon the appointment, employment, compensation, hiring, disciplinary action, dismissal, periodic evaluation or rating of a government officer or his employee/s.  Since you are talking about hiring, you can go into Executive Session.”

The board then went into closed session.

** Executive Session** 

Closed session ends by a motion from Harrison and seconded by Williams.  The motion passed.  Regular session resumes.

The Chair opened the floor.

Williams moved to drop the proceedings and start a new search for an Executive Director.  Reselect a new Personnel Committee and have the job posted for the maximum days allowed by HR.  Price seconded the motion.  Calling for the vote, the motion failed with five Nay votes: Harrison, Morrissey, Aliniece, R. Johnson, and Bartels.

BOARD COMMENTS

Discussion:

Williams said, “Why are we skipping around this issue right now.  Why are we tap dancing around this issue?  This needs to be taken care of right now in front of people for this evening news so that the City can understand the transparency of this board.  Why are we are going to sit up here and say that we don’t want to reopen the process.  What is the reason behind this and we know there is a problem behind showing this to the people of Atlanta and knowing that they got transparency…there is a problem.”

R. Johnson said, “It may be an idea for us to explore options that we can take on further.  I think tonight is a good example or a great time for us to get together and discuss what has taken place which is a form of transparency.  I think we need a solid idea because a lot of good questions were raised and a solid firm path that can be again presented to the citizens which we are here to represent and not be just thrown in shambles.  Nobody is saying that we are taking and scraping the process off the table, but I am thinking there may be something else we can do.  Given the appropriate time to us, we may be able to collectively come up with some good ideas.”

Following the discussion, it was moved by Harrison to postpone making an offer to Holly Wiseman; form a new personnel selection committee; and re-open the process for a period of five (5) days and notify all of the former applicants and have them reapply for the job and move forward with selection process as it should have been done in the beginning.

Discussion…

R. Johnson asked, “Are you asking us to still keep Holly?”

Bartels, “We just voted on that,” 

Harrison, “His (referring to Williams) wording was wrong,”

Casting, “I thought you just voted.” 

Bartels, “My impression is we just voted against the motion to scrap the selection process and start all over again.  How is what is being suggested any different than what we voted against?”

Casting, “Mr. Williams said that they are going drop the proceedings, start all over again, re-select the Personnel Search and post the position for as long as HR will let them and you voted against it.”

Harrison, “Yes I voted against it because I didn’t like the idea of holding it open for as long as HR will let us.  I think that it should be five days.  I also added number one…”  Casting interjected, “But it was more than that on the table.  You can’t vote for a portion of what he said and not vote for another portion.”

Harrison, “The thing is for his (Williams) motion I don’t want it open for a longer period of time.  I didn’t think of amending it until I had heard from Ryan (R. Johnson).”

R. Johnson asked as a point of clarification, “Were you asking also to still have Holly re-apply also?”

Harrison, “Yes, just have her re-apply…everybody re-apply.”

Bartels said, “So your motion is what Mr. Williams was suggesting other than making it open for 30 days.”

Harrison, “It was the language that he used.”

Following the discussion, for the sake of clarity, the Chair asked Harrison to repeat his motion.  Harrison stated, “I moved that number one, we postpone making an offer to Holly Wiseman; number two, re-select a personnel committee; and number three, re-post the job for a period of five days and contact the applicants and asked them to reapply including Ms. Holly Wiseman and move forward with the process.  The motion was seconded by Williams.  Call for discussion.

Discussion…

Williams, “Why Five days? Why not 15 or 30 days? 

Harrison, “Because at the time we will be without an Executive Director. There will be nobody in that position and we need to move forward.  We are doing this expeditiously as possible.”

Williams, “The bottom line, like I said back in October, we can put Sheena (Robertson) as Interim.”  Bartels reminded Williams that personnel issues couldn’t be discussed.

Following the discussion, Williams requested, as a friendly amendment, for Harrison to extend the days from 5 to 15 and allow an Interim.  Harrison rejected the amendment.  The vote proceeded.  The Chair called for the vote.  The motion passed with three Nay votes: Morrissey, R. Johnson and Bartels.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Chair Bartels opened the floor for public comments reminding each speaker of the three (3) minutes time limit allowed per person.  The following people spoke:

1st Speaker:  Helen Butler

Ms. Butler is the Executive Director of the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda.  The Coalition is convened by the Honorable Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, civil rights advocate and leader.  Ms. Butler stated, “We are truly concerned with this process.  We lobbied very strong to get this Citizen Review Board in place when Mayor Franklin was in office which she did agree to and the City Council passed an ordinance to put it in place.  For us as regular citizens that we represent, in the City of Atlanta, it is crucial that this be a transparent process.  I was a VP of Human Resources for some twenty some odd years and therefore, would say it is of the utmost importance that you have integrity in your process; that there is transparency; that you provide equal access and opportunity to all candidates; that your process be posted so that the people knows what it is about and can readily access it; and so that you post it in places that would be accessible in order for us to get the most qualified individual.”

2nd Speaker: Rev. Anthony Motley

Rev. Motley stated, “I associate myself completely with Ms. Helen Butler.  I am a part of the Georgia Coalition of the Peoples Agenda and a disciple of Dr. Joseph Echols Lowery.  I associate myself with BLOCS and concerned citizens.  The death of Kathryn Johnson is still fresh in my mind, and the historic pattern of police brutality and racial profiling of Black men and Latino men, in particular in this country.  Trevon Martin is fresh in my mind and all of our minds.  We are going to conduct a serious review of the Review Board.  You need to be reviewed because if you are concerned with a cozy relationship with the police department and the powers that be, then you don’t need to be on this board.  If you are just glad to be here and more interested in the status of being on this board, then you don’t need to be on the board.  If you don’t have a burning desire to serve as a serious check with the historic pattern, and I emphasis historic pattern, you don’t need to be on this board.”  “We will be watching you and we hope that you brother Chair will not be hostile to questions that come from folks like Maceo and cooperate in the process and allow folks and satisfy the citizen.  That is your assignment.”

3rd Speaker: Dr. D. Farmer

Dr. Farmer echoed similar concerns. “The first thing I want to say is that all applicants should be notified that the process will be open for five (5) days, no less than three days prior to the positing and opening of the position.  I would like to suggest that you make an advertisement that will be placed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Creative Loafing, the Atlanta Voice, the Atlanta Daily World and the Atlanta Inquiry announcing that the position will open and close and that this also be notified in advance of the opening.  I think the resumes of the finalist, once you come to that point, should be posted on line and made available to the public at least ten (10) business days prior to holding another community forum and not as you had before in which one paragraph of each individual was available which did not give the public the opportunity to have appropriate data regarding those finalist that they would ask appropriate and important questions to aid in the selection of the most appropriate candidate.  I would like to address Ms. Morrissey.  I believe you owe Mr. Williams and the public an apology.  It is rude and disrespectful for you to say that one of your other board members talk too much.  That is an inappropriate action that you took here this evening.”

4th Speaker: Moki Macias

Ms. Macias is a member of BLOCS.  She focused her comments on the search process and some of her concerns were the length of the application period, and not establishing a time frame or deadline for the applicants to apply.  She indicated that she and members of her organization had previously brought to light that the application period was only four (4) days.  She said, “We raised this issue before as a concern, but it didn’t seem like this was a concern to you.  The Board said we don’t have a problem with the process.  Why is it then we are back here tonight about some alleged lack of transparency?” 

5th Speaker: Tamika Middleton

Ms. Middleton is a member of BLOCS.  She also expressed concern about the Board’s decision to re-open the search process for the Executive Director position.  She asked the Board, this time around, to expand their search to attract the best and most qualified people and to hold another community forum with the final applicants.

Special Note:   It is not the practice of the ACRB to respond to remarks made during Public Comments; however, in response to a question raised by the fourth speaker and concerns in general as to why the process was re-opened, Vice Chair Harrison stated that the Board was not made aware there was a problem with the process until after they voted.  He said, “We didn’t know that the process had been tainted.  The majority of the board did not know there was a problem until after we voted.”

ADJOURNMENT

Chair Bartels entertained a motion to adjourn.  Harrison moved to adjourn the meeting. 

The meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m.

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