Gippert disputes Lockhart’s responses

Dear Editor:

I thought the John Parker article (Oct. 30) was quite appropriate. I would like to add just a little information.

In the article, Mayor Lockhart mentioned that he had sent an email to John Parker wanting me to call him and that he did not want me fired. It was a little funny because I did call Mayor Lockhart but not because I got a message from John Parker to do so but because Dwight Ginn, a Lake City councilman, sent me the message to call the mayor.

I called Mayor Lockhart and he asked why I thought he wanted me fired.

I replied that, “When you call my boss, the city manager, and tell him you want me fired and not to draw another city paycheck that was a pretty good indication you want me gone.”

His reply was “But did he tell you why?”

That gave me a clear indication that it actually happened and he wanted me fired. In our conversation, I reiterated that the reason for getting into the schools and teaching the students what could be recycled was so the students would go home and teach their whole family what could be recycled in hopes of boosting our single stream recycle revenues.

He took the whole “shaming” thing out of context.

The mayor in that conversation informed me that we needed to change our whole media concept on advertising recycling — our newsletters, web page and all of our printed material. The mayor stated that all we need to say to our residents and business owners is that we want them to recycle so that we can make money on the materials and give it back to the residents and business owners.

The mayor wanted no mention in the literature of “Going Green,” saving energy, saving the trees or saving Mother Earth. Keeping trash out of the landfills was not our business since that is how the landfills make their money, according to the mayor.

As a public works official, at the time, with all my affiliations including APWA, Georgia Recycling Coalition, SERC and SWANA, our whole focus is on recycling, saving energy, saving trees and saving Mother Earth.

Mayor Lockhart told me in the conversation that as long as I would change our whole media plan and eliminate the “Going Green” aspect on recycling, he said we would work well together. Needless to say, I did not believe we would be able to work together.

I also could not help but chuckle a little over the fact that, according to Mayor Lockhart comment, John Parker’s contract was not done correctly, according to the City Charter. That fit his purpose at the time.

Yet all the ethics violations filed against him — which were all violations against the same City Charter and Ordinances — were dismissed by the affirmed “Lockhart” Ethics Board and even the analysis by his own city attorney.

Of course, these did not fit his purposes. That is why the then-sitting Ethics Board that was in place at the time was not allowed to hear the complaints — even though by City Charter and Ordinances the then-sitting Board was still official and capable of hearing the complaints.

Manipulation, that seems to be the ethics of the current administration. What happened to transparency?

Mike Gippert

Forest Park