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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What Do You Do When The Hired Expert . . . Isn't So Expert?


GSU Presentation to the DeKalb Operations Task Force

At the recent DeKalb County Operations Task Force meeting, held on July 16, 2014, a presentation to the Committee On Municipalization / Annexation was made by Dr. Laura Wheeler, a Senior Research Associate with the Fiscal Research Center of the GSU Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

During her presentation, which was marred by a computer failure which kept her PowerPoint presentation from being displayed, Dr. Wheeler made several statements that some in the audience knew to be incorrect or misleading. This was disappointing to hear, considering the supposed expertise that Dr. Wheeler, and by extension, the Andrew Young School, was expected to bring to the proceedings. What is worse is that the committee members, believing her to be an expert in these matters, were highly inclined to believe that everything she referenced was true and correct. Given the minimal level of their understanding of the issues before them, and my impression that these committee members are not inclined to do their own homework, this does not bode well for the entire process.

A audio recording of the meeting can be found HERE. This is the only accurate documentation of what was said in the meeting as it was not televised or recorded by the County.

Herman Lorenz, of the City of Briarcliff Initiative, was in the audience and was equally troubled by what he heard. As Herman is one of the most knowledgeable and well-read individuals in the entire incorporation debate, his words should be heard and appreciated. His understanding and expertise on many of the issues before the Task Force would seem to go well beyond that of their hired 'expert'.

Operations Task Force - Meeting of the Committee On Municipalization/Annexation

Please note that only 5 of the 8 appointed committee members bothered to show up. (The list of committee appointments can be found HERE.) Commissioner Stan Watson, Rep. Mike Jacobs and BoE member Jim McMahan were absent. I would further note that Commissioner Watson has not shown up to ANY of the Task Force meetings.

Herman's comments, after the break.


The Email

In an Email sent to Ms. Phyllis Mitchell, Director of External Affairs (the county appointed Task Force facilitator), from Herman Lorenz, of the City of Briarcliff Initiative:

     At the Task Force subcommittee meeting last week, I told you that I had some comments
     about the Task Force and subcommittee meetings. I’ve attached those comments. 

     My comments relate to statements made by presenters and by members. Some relate to 
     what appears to be errors or incomplete statements; some to interpretations by presenters 
     and members.

     I would appreciate your passing these comments on to people you feel might be appropriate, 
     to perhaps clarify and/or correct the information in later documents prepared for the 
     Committee and Subcommittee. I don’t pretend to be an expert, and it’s possible my impressions 
     are incorrect.

Herman's Comments to the Committee

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