At the Manassas city council meeting on Monday, the 12th of December, three of the four council members admitted to not having had the state-mandated elected officials training, and agreed to attend this training in the new year.
Pictured above are the three officials in question, each wearing the royal purple, perhaps reflecting their voting as one mind: Councilwoman Tonya Edwards (left), her son Councilman Shaun Edwards (center) and their newly seated friend, Councilwoman Emily Callaway (right). Not pictured is long-time councilman Michael Godbee, who was absent. This action photo shows the trio at the moment of admission to not having had training, and thus, by extrapolation, literally not knowing what the hell they are doing in their respective offices, stumbling around like blind mice.
Since this state-mandated training is only offered a few times per year, as Mayor Wanda Rogers was quick to point out, only Mrs. Callaway has the excuse of having not attended this training. Unless the chronically absent Mr. Godbee has recently found time to squeeze in this training (and if so, good for him), the three long-time veteran council members have diligently avoided past years’ opportunities to attend.
Until Leech City began shining the spotlight on them.
To date, then, the only Manassas council member to have ever attended this training is our own Audrey. You may recall that Audrey resigned in disgust after reporting numerous deficiencies by the city after her training session and being rebuffed by certain members of the council as well as the mayor’s vigorous refusal to provide lawfully requested information. We’ll drill into that entire episode later.
In other news, shortly after the above photo was taken, Councilwoman Tonya Edwards then launched into an atypical whine about the scheduling of the training itself, complaining that it is hard for someone running a business to attend. This, however, didn’t stop Audrey from attending despite her duties at SoftBaugh; we made it a priority for her to live up to her responsibilities to the public. Any public official who is not willing to set similar priorities regarding their responsibilities should resign.
Why was Councilwoman Edwards’ whine atypical? Although she is no stranger to the subversive art of badgering the unwary, particularly when safely perched upon her council seat during meetings, and thus more or less immune from open debate, this time her condemnation was directed toward the Georgia Municipal Association. We’ll drill into the theoretical and practical roles of the Georgia Municipal Association (or GMA for short) in the future. But, what is important here is that, in the past, Manassas has seen the GMA as their unwavering champion, helping them navigate uncomfortable issues that should not exist with a well-trained and conscientious council, mayor and clerk.
I have no doubt that the city’s past relationship with the GMA has involved a certain amount of juvenile badgering, along the lines of pestering mother for permission for some trinket while her arms are full of other squalling infants until she finally relents. It is also difficult to immediately condemn GMA for some of their more bizarre answers without seeing what filtered information they have been presented about a given issue, and through what filtering their responses have been subjected before being made public. Perhaps some of this will come out in discovery some day.
More important for the moment is the fact that her complaint, following the resignation of both Manassas’ long-time auditor last summer, and their relatively new attorney this fall, may mean that the city has whined to mother GMA once too often, and about issues that they should be handling for themselves and with more obvious rationality. If the GMA is beginning to lose patience with Manassas, then this reaction is consistent with what we have seen with many local dignitaries, who, since May, have found reason to avoid their invitations to council meetings.
Stay tuned as we continue to shine various spotlights on Manassas, and join us in watching the race between their being dragged, screaming, toward compliance with state law, or their descent into that of the crazy cat lady municipality, abandoned and friendless.
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