WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — After a month in office, Warner Robins' mayor says she's ready to start putting her agenda into action.
We sat down with Mayor LaRhonda Patrick to find out what she's working on and where she hopes to take the city.
Patrick took office on January 1. For her first 30 days, she said she didn't do anything to further her platform.
"That was just meeting with people, making those introductions to leadership in our city, in our county, and even in our state," Patrick said.
Going forward, she says she'll be working on new initiatives and strategic planning. One of her goals is to make Warner Robins a "true international city." She said, "We have so many cultures here. That's why we got the name International City, but you don't see a lot of representation of that," so she wants to start a committee focusing on cultural connections to brainstorm and plan events celebrating other cultures.
Councilmen Keith Lauritsen says Patrick has been doing "extremely well," but disagrees with her suspension of city administrator David Corbin.
"I feel like we hit a little bump in the road here with the situation, but I feel like we can get through it and move forward," Lauritsen said. "I believe the city administrator was acting in good faith as he was given permission by the city council to pursue this whole thing, and including up to signing the document, as far as I am concerned, I believe it was a technicality myself, but he'd been given permission by the entire council and he voted and agreed upon on it. I am really concerned, because I believe Mr. Corbin did what he did in good faith and I think he had every right to, so I just feel like we have to also act in good faith when we are communicating and dealing with each other. It is my hope that we can do that in the future."
Councilmen Charlie Bibb and Kevin Lashley says they want to work with Patrick, but say so far, she hasn't been communicating her ideas or plans with them.
"A lot of this stuff that we are finding out what's going on right now has been just when the community has found out, too, a lot of announcements," Bibb said."
Lashley said, "It is a overwhelming task, especially first month getting lay of the land, how to implement her style of running City Hall and the city itself takes time, but I would love to see more communication. Within the first month, we have had very little communication on things she is interested in doing, actions she is planning on taking and has taken. We tend to not find out [things] until it's already in motion, and I would like to see that change."
Patrick's other projects include planning for a new city swimming facility, bringing a new city center possibly to the downtown, and creating "workforce housing."
"That way, individuals who are working and can't afford a $2,000, $2,500 a month for a house, they'll have other options to live," Patrick said.
She also says, another one of main priorities will to be the expansion of the city's sewer system.
On the 22nd, Patrick plans on announcing new committees for council. She's also thinking about partnering with Georgia Municipal Association, which on a public study to see what people want for a downtown area in Warner Robins.