Dienhart off to rocky start with PTC Council
For someone who pledged to improve relationships among council members, Peachtree City councilman-elect George Dienhart didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts.
During the campaign, Dienhart pegged sitting councilman Eric Imker as being a significant source of the strife among council members.
Dienhart also went out on a limb saying he felt Imker’s opponent, Steve Allen, “would be easier to work with” for himself and the other councilmembers.
Those brash statements drew criticism from sitting councilmembers Kim Learnard and Vanessa Flesich, who both said they have enjoyed working with Imker, and they were supporting his re-election.
Learnard further criticized Dienhart for attempting to put words in her mouth and argued that Imker was very easy to work with.
So before he even technically “won” the election, Dienhart was off to a rocky start with his fellow councilmembers. He is hoping to convince them that his campaigning for Allen was “just politics.”
“I’m sure both Eric and I can put aside politics now and work toward the best interest of the city,” Dienhart said. “I know we both have that in mind in the decisions we make. I think one thing we can agree on is that council needs to work together.”
Dienhart said he wants to have a private meeting with Imker and Mayor Don Haddix, who have clashed several times at council meetings, with an eye on brokering a truce between the two.
If Dienhart were in office, such a meeting wouldn’t be possible because Georgia open meetings law frowns on a quorum of city council members meeting outside of the public eye.
Dienhart said Thursday afternoon that Haddix has already accepted the offer, but he has not yet heard from Imker.
“I think we’re fighting over shades of gray almost,” Dienhart said. “The rest of the stuff we need to agree to disagree. ... I think everyone is at the point where they want to do that, but they need someone to point them in the right direction.”
Dienhart is pledging to use his website to explain each of his votes within five days of any given council meeting, in an effort to keep citizens informed of his thinking. He also will be using Twitter, and is looking forward to quarterly “meet and greet” events.