As a resident of Money Creek Township, I attended today's (Aug. 27) Houston County commissioners' meeting to support my township board chair, Dale Omodt, and his cousin, Lucille Omodt Crow. The Omodt family's roots in Money Creek Township go back over 150 years.

During her two-minute comment period, Ms. Omodt Crow presented the commissioners with specific factual information of yet another Houston County Planning and Zoning Commission violation of its, or the county's, own ordinances.

At their July 23 meeting, the commissioners agreed to hold a public hearing on implementing term limits for Planning and Zoning Commission members. In order to better align Houston County with best practices adopted by its surrounding counties, the commissioners are considering a limit of two three-year terms (six years total). With the usual staggered terms, this would mean that county residents would benefit from the experience of members already on the commission as well as hearing fresh perspectives. It's a win-win.

As reported by the Caledonia Argus, Commissioner Schuldt said in that meeting:  "I see nothing wrong with term limits at all, but I'd like to do some calling or asking." And Commissioner Storlie stated that "I think we need to make sure we don't alienate everybody. I think discussion is very important." "In an effort to include all opinions the board scheduled an evening hearing."

Thus, imagine my surprise in today's meeting when these same two commissioners now questioned the idea of term limits and a public hearing! They said that they did not think that Planning and Zoning had done anything wrong. This is in spite of recent commissioners' meetings, videos, newspaper reports and first-hand accounts - all showing or admitting numerous irregularities. And unfortunately, Commissioner Storlie once again asserted her power over the otherwise well-intentioned, wise, smart and completely competent Commissioner Walter. Why the sudden about-face? I think that it is important for us to know where our commissioners stand. And I think that it is important for our commissioners to hear from us - the folks who elected them to represent us.

In an unexpected twist, after the meeting, when the Omodts and others were in discussion with commissioners, including Storlie and Schuldt, three police officers, including the Houston County sheriff, appeared in the doorway. They had been called in. Yet, there was no argument, no heated discussion, no threat, no assistance needed. Nothing. They almost seemed embarrassed.

What have we come to if publicly elected officials feel that they need to protect themselves from listening to or engaging with the very citizens who elected them to represent their interests in the first place? Isn't that an important part of the job description?

Please plan to attend the public hearing on term limits for Planning and Zoning Commission members on Monday, Sept. 30, 6:30 p.m., at the courthouse. Let your voice be heard!

Respectfully submitted,

Drue Fergison

Money Creek Township