Police escort man out of heated Euharlee meeting
by Jessica Loeding
Feb 02, 2011 | 4678 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tuesday night's Euharlee City Council meeting was a mixed bag of emotions from tears and shouting to the removal of an audience member.

The night began with the approval of a resolution to rename the baseball field at Osborne Park the Robert H. Taylor III "Little Rob #5" Memorial Ball Field. Taylor, 13, was killed in an accidental shooting in December.

Taylor's parents, Rob and Veronica, accepted the resolution with tears and words of thanks for the council.

The meeting ended on a different note.

When council reconvened following executive session, Glen Harris with the Woodland Middle School Dugout Club addressed the mayor and council over concerns about the use of Osborne Park.

In September the council entered into an agreement with The Baseball Group, Inc. Under the agreement, which runs through the end of 2011, the city maintained control of scheduling. TBG agreed to make improvements to the fields, including mowing, painting, pressure washing, providing tarps, rebuilding infields, building a bullpen for the larger field, installing new foul poles and so on.

It also was expressed that Woodland Middle School, whose softball and baseball teams use those fields, would maintain top priority in scheduling.

Harris said a conflict arose last week after TBG contacted the school to say renovation work would begin Monday -- the first day of the season for WMS.

He provided a copy of an e-mail sent to the city in October detailing the school's schedule.

"[Paul Wilson of TBG] knew in October when they were going to start. I find it a little funny that he's going to start at the very same day that this e-mail, sent to the city detailing their schedule, saying they were going to start Jan. 31," Harris said.

Mayor Kathy Foulk said the weather had delayed Wilson, who attempted to complete the work last week but was forced to postpone the improvements due to inclement conditions.

Wilson said he had spoke with school officials via conference call about moving teams to the smaller field, but was told the team needed a dirt mound. He said his offer of a portable mound and throw-down bases was declined.

"We tried everything we could to work something out," Wilson said.

When Harris stated he was given a differing story by the school, Foulk shouted, "Bingo! Right there," implying that Harris had not been involved in those conversations.

Practice for the WMS teams was moved to Hamilton Crossing Park in Cartersville, a move Wilson said he worked out with county officials because of the work at Osborne Park.

Harris said calls had been made to Hamilton Crossing prior to Wilson's attempts.

The mayor's response: "Yeah, OK."

Late in the conversation, a member of the audience, who was witnessed making remarks throughout the debate began to speak and refused to stop when asked. He was then advised to "step up, walk out and leave" by Euharlee Police Officer Clay Patterson.

"We're not going to tolerate this here in a public place," Patterson said.

Discussion cooled following the man's departure.

Harris again expressed his desire to see the city and the school enter into an intergovernmental agreement detailing the terms of usage.

"If the city is still in control and the middle school has priority, something needs to be done. The things that have been taking place on that field the last three days have set the middle school program back at least two weeks because of the weather that we've gotten," he said, adding that the events of the last two days have sent a message "that the park is no longer public" because everything has to be dictated by TBG.

Foulk said the city looks at the situation a bit differently.

"We have to look at the bigger picture. ... There's work that needs to be done on that field and nobody else is willing to do it. So if you have somebody who is willing to make the improvements and the city has a contract with that person to make those improvements, then why would you not want that not only for the school, not only for the travel teams, but not only for everybody who uses that park?" she asked.

Alan May, coach for a travel team, spoke last, asking to see the city's contract with TBG, which will be provided to him after he files an Open Records request with the city.

In other action, the council:

* Approved the 2011 Euharlee Police Department Special Fund and Municipal Court budgets.

* Approved an option allowing the sale of four vehicles through GovDeals.com. The option will allow the city to collect payment and then turn over the 7.5 percent premium charged by the GovDeals.com to the website.

* Began discussion concerning the Covered Bridge Store. A work session turned heated last month after allegations were exchanged between city officials and owners Ron and Nan Thomas.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Ron Goss Jr. said the replacement windows installed by the Thomases met requirements from the state. It was recommended by the state, however, that alterations be made to the new door purchased and installed by the couple.

When the council began conversation with the Thomases, City Attorney Boyd Pettit advised the council against speaking with the pair because the two had informed the city they retained an attorney.

* Approved the usage of Frankie Harris Park for the Crime Stoppers Mow Down. The event, in its second year, will be held Saturday, April 30.