This is the third or fourth time I have started this letter. Since each draft repeated the same three themes, my decision was to keep things simple: shock, disappointment and extreme dismay sum up my reaction to reading about the June 19 City Council work session decision to pursue yet another run at a Sandy Springs campus for Gwinnett Tech. This decision appears to have been primarily supported by Rusty Paul, the [Sandy Springs/Perimeter] Chamber of Commerce chairman, and our mayor, [Eva Galambos].
The response, which was due by July 1, once again requires a commitment of a $5 million “incentive” to attract a taxpayer-funded facility. The work session agenda item was titled “update on GTC RFP process.” Public comments are not accepted at work sessions, but may be brought forth during the regular session. No other notice was provided to the public in spite of the contentious experience in January 2011, when our mayor cast the tie-breaking vote to pursue that original Gwinnett Tech RFI — against the very obvious dissent from the majority of our city’s residents and taxpayers.
It would appear public input is only valued when it does not disagree with certain agendas. And perhaps the chamber would better serve the area by continuing to focus on the pursuit of quality private-sector business instead of publicly funded institutions.
Shock, disappointment and extreme dismay.
Mary Jo Marx
Editor’s note: Sharon Kraun, a spokeswoman for the city of Sandy Springs, said in an email the city, working with the chamber, have submitted a response to the RFP but have not yet received a response from Gwinnett Tech.