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Transparency a priority for new Douglasville council members
by Bill Baldowski
January 08, 2014 12:11 PM | 1733 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Douglasville City Council incumbent Larry Yockey and newly-elected Councilman Mike Miller said they are hoping residents are encouraged a bright future is ahead for the city in 2014.

Yockey, who was re-elected as Ward 1 councilman, and Miller, who won the Ward 2, Post 1, seat over incumbent Dennis McLain, were joined by re-elected councilmembers Samuel Davis in Ward 3, Post 2, and LaShun Burr Danley in Ward 3, Post 1, in taking their oaths of office last week.

Miller, an attorney and former Douglas County Board of Education member, said he hoped city residents and business owners are encouraged because his intention is to heighten their involvement in decisions made by the council.

Yockey, the mayor pro-tem, said he believes the city has many tools already in place which are assets, such as great restaurants, a new conference center, golf course and plenty of hotel rooms for visitors.

“We have the tools but we need to enhance our efforts in publicizing them and emphasizing what our great city has that will attract visitors who will then sleep in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop our merchants,” Yockey said.

Another issue of concern to Yockey as he entered his second term is the loss of city police officers to other jurisdictions.

“This past year,” he said, “we lost 14 people out of our police force and we need to know why they are leaving.”

Transparency in government is also one of Yockey’s issues.

“What I have heard from a good number of people is that maybe we are not transparent enough in regard to some city issues, such as, for instance, the Douglasville Conference Center,” Yockey said, adding that residents need more information regarding the operation of the conference center.

“Maybe we need to receive quarterly reports on the operation of the center.” Yockey said he would remain on top of the issue.

Miller, who emphasized his plans for transparency as a member of the city council throughout his campaign, said he looked forward to establishing Douglasville as a “paragon in attracting business.”

“One of the issues I am concerned about is the same issue that concerned me on the school board,” he said.

Miller, whose district includes much of the downtown Douglasville area, said feedback he has received from his constituents does not speak well of the school system, especially regarding elementary and middle schools which serve his district.

“We have lost a number of families with children who have moved out of the area because of the negative perception they have of the school system and [they] do not want to send their children to our schools,” he said.

Miller said this negative perception of the school system has to be rectified and, to do so, city leaders must “refocus our efforts on education.”

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