City Council of Peachtree City
<br /> Retreat Meeting Minutes
<br /> March 11, 2022
<br />9 a.m.
<br />The Mayor and Council of Peachtree City met for a retreat on Friday, March 11, 2022, at 9 a.m., at
<br />New Hope Baptist Church South Campus. In attendance were Mayor Kim Learnard and Council
<br />Members Gretchen Caola, Frank Destadio, Mike King, and Phil Prebor, along with City Clerk Yasmin
<br />Julio and City Manager Jon Rorie.
<br />Member Services Director Pam Helton and Member Services Consultant Michael McPherson of the
<br />Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) were the facilitators. McPherson told Council he worked for
<br />them and was always ready to assist, as was Helton. He explained that the GMA was helping out the
<br />Carl Vinson Institute in facilitating at these retreats because one of the Institute's employees, the
<br />greatly respected Gordon Maner, had passed away, leaving a year's worth of facilitating jobs. It was
<br />not an ideal situation, McPherson went on, because facilitators should be a third party, and the GMA
<br />worked for its municipalities.
<br />The role of a facilitator was to keep the discussion moving and make sure everyone was heard. They
<br />would keep a written record. Council would have to reach a consensus on some topics. Perception of
<br />what they did was important to the community, and Peachtree City seemed to be a tight-knit
<br />community. Each member of Council said they were doing this because they wanted to give back to
<br />the community. Today's goal was to figure out goals and priorities.
<br />He noted that the father of Joel Cowan, one of the founders of Peachtree City, was president of the
<br />GMA at one time, so Cowan grew up with an understanding of how a city worked. McPherson said
<br />Peachtree City was created at a time when counties held most of the power in government.
<br />He told them they would check their titles at the door—everyone was equal. This gathering would
<br />focus on the future and broad strategies for the community. Council should look at things from 30,000
<br />feet, and the City Manager and department heads could handle the details. He wanted them to feel
<br />confident in speaking out and let go of personal agendas. Council agreed on those ground rules.
<br />The City Council was a team and what they did in the public spotlight had to look like that. They
<br />wanted the citizens to be proud of who they picked. He asked them about their favorite part of being
<br />an official and to share an interesting fact about themselves. Most of them said, in some fashion, they
<br />liked feeling that they had an impact on the betterment of the community and connecting citizens to
<br />government. McPherson noted they all wanted to work together, and communication was vital. That
<br />required they get to know each other. They did not have to agree, but they had to be civil. They
<br />seemed to be close on their opinions, but they needed to understand where everyone was coming
<br />from when they disagreed.
<br />McPherson said they were going to go over some things he and Helton found interesting about
<br />Peachtree City's charter that were not typical of other municipalities. It said the Mayor would preside
<br />over meetings and maintain decorum, but it did not specify that Robert's Rules of Order would be
<br />used. If they used another method, it should be stated. Destadio said Julio had stressed using Robert's
<br />Rules of Order, so he assumed that is what they used. McPherson said some councils did spell it out,
<br />others did not. Peachtree City's charter said the Mayor would be an ex-officio member of all
<br />committees, and that was not typical. The Mayor should make sure all funds were properly accounted
<br />for and revenues properly collected, the charter read, and McPherson said that was unique.