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Dearing mayor wants increased participation

Even though Sean Kelley is the mayor of Dearing, he does not care to run the town solo. So, at the last town council meeting, Mayor Kelley expressed his frustration at the lack of attendance by council members to the two members who were present: Allen Axon and Kristopher Wells.

"I don't want two people making the decisions for everybody," Mr. Kelley said.

And no business could be conducted at the August meeting due to no quorum - only Mr. Kelley and Mr. Axon were present.

For the August meeting, the mayor said Daisy Ansley reported that she became overheated previously that day, and Mr. Wells and his wife were bringing home their newly-born baby from the hospital. The mayor said he did not hear from Judson Story.

"I understand you can't make every meeting, but you also can't run a government without everybody present," he said.

Taking care of business for the town is time consuming, and the mayor admits that neither he nor the council members are paid for their time. But the fact that he and Mr. Axon are the only two who consistently attend meetings is hurting progress as they seek to prioritize projects and grants.

"I understand his concerns, but Sean knows exactly where I am and what I'm doing," Mr. Story said in a telephone interview. "I've been keeping Sean up to date, and it sounds like he's a little confused."

Mr. Story said his employer, High Voltage Specialists, has been working on a contract with the U.S. Navy in Kings Bay, Ga., which is over four hours away. Mr. Story said there is no way for him to get off from work at 5:30 p.m. and make it to Dearing in time for the meetings. During his free time in the evenings, Mr. Story said he has been "working on things for the town."

He said has been gaining experience with grant writing to better understand the technical information required, "signing up a heap of companies" to provide equipment for fire department grants, and speaking with Deputy Barry Whitfield to line up another Neighborhood Watch meeting.

"So just because I'm out of town, it doesn't mean that I'm not working. I'm still working for the town because I agreed to do that," he said. "It's not something that I've been walking away from by no means."

Mr. Story said his company's contract is complete, and he expects to be home and available for the next meeting.

Town council meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Town Hall.

Web posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007

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