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Hambrick hosting public-input session Saturday

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Residents in Clayton County Board of Commissioners District 2 will have an opportunity for a face-to-face, one-on-one meeting with Commissioner Gail Hambrick, and voice their concerns about the county this weekend.

The commissioner will hold a "What's On Your Mind?" community-input session, on Saturday, from 9 a.m., to noon, at the Virginia Burton Gray Recreation Center, located at 1475 East Fayetteville Road, in Riverdale.

The session will be an opportunity for residents of Hambrick's district to meet with her, in a one-on-one setting, to question her about issues in the community, said Tina Howard, the commissioner's constituents aide. Howard is handling planning for the session.

"If it's county-related, that she [is] knowledgeable about, then, they can ask her about it," Howard said. "It's whatever is on your mind."

Howard said the sessions hosted by Hambrick will be on a more intimate level than the standard concept of having the commissioner sit with a large audience of constituents, with everyone addressing her at the same time. There will be no audience, the constituents aide said. She explained it will just be Hambrick and the constituent who is addressing her.

"Constituents, who might not feel comfortable speaking in front of a large group, can make an appointment to speak with her on a one-to-one basis," Howard said. She added that people, who have attended these sessions in the past, tend to "come ready" with questions.

Hambrick could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The "What's On Your Mind?" sessions come at a time when Hambrick's name has been mentioned in several controversies in the county.

Those controversies include: Allegations that she used Clayton County Housing Authority funds to pay for security at a Fourth of July party she hosted; the removal of a housing authority commissioner, who raised questions about the security payment; a public-comment ordinance that some have derided as an infringement on freedom of speech; her's and Commissioner Sonna Singleton's response to Commission Vice Chairman Wole Ralph's recent arrest in Atlanta, and accusations by Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson that Hambrick, Singleton and Ralph may have committed a felony by passing a resolution that Lawson said may constitute interfering with witnesses in a case that is being heard by a Clayton County grand jury.

If someone wishes to speak with Hambrick on Saturday, Howard said, there is generally no time limit on how long they can talk to the commissioner. She said, however, one person can not go past the start of another person's appointed time. People are being encouraged to set up appointments in advance, for a specific time to speak with Hambrick.

The commissioner will also meet with residents who walk in, off the street, on the day of the event, however, as long as there is time between people with appointments, Howard added.

This will be the third time Hambrick has held a "What's On Your Mind?" session, but it will be the first session held in 2011, according to Howard. The commissioner held two sessions last year, said Howard, who added that plans are in place to hold many more before the end of this year.

Howard said such public-input opportunities are not uncommon for members of the county commission. She explained that other members of the commission regularly host such sessions, including Chairman Eldrin Bell, whose series of monthly gatherings is called, "An Evening With The Chairman."

To set up an appointment for "What's On Your Mind?" -- call (770) 473-5751.