August 27, 2020 – 4:00 p.m.


Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the City Council work session and City Manager’s Briefing was held via Zoom video communications at 4:00 p.m. Mayor Johnson then asked Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz to offer an invocation.


PRESENT:  Mayor Van R. Johnson, II, Presiding

Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter, At-Large, Post 1, Chairman

Alderwoman Alicia Miller Blakely, At-Large, Post 2

Alderwoman Bernetta B. Lanier, District 1

Alderman Detric Leggett, District  2

Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan, District 3

Alderman Nick Palumbo, District 4, Vice-Chairman

Alderwoman Dr. Estella Edwards Shabazz, District 5, Mayor Pro-Tem

Alderman Kurtis Purtee, District 6



City Manager Pat Monahan

City Attorney Bates Lovett

Clerk of Council Mark Massey

Workshop Agenda Items
1. Discussion regarding Personnel, Litigation and Real Estate

Item NOT DISCUSSED, REMOVED from the Agenda per Mayor Johnson.

2. 2021 One-Year Action Plan Budget Recommendations
Exhibit 1: Presentation - 2021 One Year Action Plan.pdf

Mayor Johnson announced the Discussion Regarding Personnel, Litigation and Real Estate will be removed from the Agenda.  He began the work session with the 2021 One-Year Action Plan Budget recommendations for the United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Plan for the City's five-year housing and development goals.  City Manager Pat Monahan introduced the additional presenters.

PRESENTED by City Manager Monahan, Community Services Chief Taffanye Young, Community Services Director Kerri Reid, along with Housing & Neighborhood Services Director Martin Fretty and Grants Manager Patricia Waye.

Mr. Monahan gave a brief introduction of the annual United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Plan for the use of Federal funding received each year to achieve the City's five-year housing and development goals.  This presentation to Council starts the process to comply with HUD's requirements for public participation, including two public hearings, an open and competitive grant application process, public notices, and a thirty-day comment period.  The Plan must be approved by HUD.  Mr. Monahan called on Ms. Taffanye Young and Ms. Kerri Reid for the presentation.

Ms. Young gave brief opening comments and explained the total process.  She informed Council they would not need to make any decisions today, but the Plan deadline is November 15, 2020.  She introduced Ms. Reid who made the presentation of the draft Plan for HUD jointly with Mr. Fretty and Ms. Waye.

Following the presentation the Mayor and Aldermen/Alderwomen asked questions and had discussion:

Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan requested a chart of houses by district from Mr. Fretty.  She asked Ms. Reid if funds could be reassigned from one program to another program.

Alderwoman Miller Blakely requested a copy for Council of what agencies will be applying for funds.  She also wanted to know how agencies would apply for the funds.

Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz asked if the deadline for the grants has expired.  She requested Mr. Fretty to send the maps for housing to Council Members.

Alderwoman Lanier asked if the disbursement of funds is population driven.  She suggested the City work with agencies within the low to moderate neighborhoods to establish community benefits, i.e., jobs.

Mayor Johnson described the CDBG process and the agencies supported by CDBG.  Those agencies do a good job of supporting each other because the CDBG funds fluctuate. 

Alderman Palumbo highlighted the exterior maintenance program for senior citizens.  He feels this is a great program and thanked the staff for supporting the program.

Alderwoman Gibson-Carter spoke as a former Director of a non-profit organization and stated how the application process has changed over the years and expressed her desire to see a less rigorous application process for nonprofits.  There should be agencies the City supports that should not be required to participate in the application process.  She would also like to see an increase in funds to each agency. 

Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked Ms. Reid for the definition of an entitlement community.

Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz encouraged local agencies to tap into Chatham County's programs also to receive funding.

3. Recreation Re-imagined

POSTPONED to the September 10, 2020 meeting as per Mayor Johnson's recommendation.

Alderwoman Gibson-Carter asked Mayor Johnson, by postponing the Recreation Re-imagined presentation, will this affect any decisions by Council that coaches and their players might be expecting.  Mayor Johnson replied no, the presentation is informational.

City Manager Monahan informed Council the City is not sponsoring any leagues (public or private) and not issuing any permits for use of City facilities.  The City is prohibiting the use of its fields until COVID-19 numbers improve.  There will be a reassessment in the middle of October to see if the COVID-19 numbers have decreased. 

4. Arena Construction Workforce
Exhibit 1: Presentation - Arena Construction Workforce.pdf

Mayor Johnson noted there was significant conversation at the last City Council meeting concerning the guaranteed maximum price of the Arena.  The City Manager was instructed to meet with the partners and give Council updates.

City Manager Monahan avised the construction manager will increase local employment.  He met with the construction manager and some of the local trades.  He then introduced the Arena Project Manager, Chief Operating Officer Bret Bell to give Council the game plan.     

Additional presentation participants were as follows:

  • A-1 Staffing Agency representative Victor Campbell
  • DFH and Associates representative Tiffinie Deal
  • Cyntechs representative Barry Crocker
  • AECOM Hunt representative Patrick Wipperman
  • A. Riley Consultants Arneja Riley
  • Local 256, Carpenters Union representative Meddy Settles
  • WorkSource Coastal Interim Director Sheron Morgan

Following the presentation, the Mayor and Aldermen/Alderwomen asked questions and participated in discussion with the presenters:

Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked A-1 Staffing how many people have been employed so far and what type of work those employees will be assigned.  No employees right now, but eventual projections are, they will hire 150.  Those employees will be assigned various responsibilities according to contractors needs; maintenance, ground maintenance, HVAC, plumbers, and installers.  Interested residents can contact

Alderwoman Gibson-Carter asked A-1 Staffing if they would receive a fee for placement and what the starting wages will be.  Yes there is a fee and the starting wage will be between $15.00 - $25.00 per hour based on skill level.

Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan asked Ms. Deal of DFH & Associates if she had experienced any delay in payment on the project.  Yes, sometimes it would take up to 180 days, but she overcame the delays with private loans.  The process has gotten more streamlined over the years, but she recognizes it will take 45 to 50 days for payment.  There are local banks and the SBAC who help with short-term loans for small businesses.  Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan asked Mr. Bell if the system makes sure the small businesses are paid in a more timely fashion, and does the City currently have workshops for small businesses on how to get certified as a DBE.  The City launched a new program earlier this year for this project to make sure the small businesses are paid in a shorter timeframe.

Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked Mr. Crocker the number of employees at Cyntechs. Four full-time employees now, but he plans to employ an additional ten people for the Arena project.  Alderwoman Miller Blakely suggested Mr. Crocker reach out to Savannah Technical, Savannah State, and Georgia Southern Colleges.

Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz wants to make sure contractors have a signed contract and are paid in a timely fashion.  The City's DBE goal for this project is 26.1%.  She would like to see the City's percentages on the Arena project, look like the City's population through all kinds of races, economic classes and genders.  She mentioned the importance of City businesses obtaining their business license and she encouraged certifications.  Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz announced previously, on a national level with the DBE program, the GDOT program was not race conscience or race neutral.  GDOT is soliciting public comment about the DBE program goals for the federal fiscal year 2021 through 2023.  She read into the record, the GDOT program's plan to achieve a total 16% goal for race conscience and race neutral participation.  She encouraged the businesses to get certified.

Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked Mr. Bell where subcontractors go to get the loans that he mentioned in the presentation. It's the contractor financing program administered through the SBAC.

Alderwoman Lanier asked Mr. Bell if there were any numbers or track records available on the contractor and training program.  Mr. Bell will get the information for Alderwoman Lanier.  She stated the City needs to look at the certification program to make sure there are no barriers.  She is glad to see the City working with the Unions.

Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan was pleased to see Sheron Morgan and gave kudos to the workshops.

Alderwoman Gibson-Carter asked Mr. Bell when the tentative awards will be finalized.  Now that the guaranteed maximum price was approved by Council, the City Manager's signature will finalize the process.  Since the awarding of contracts has gone to the same companies numerous times, she would like to know what staff has done to make sure the City is creating a fair and balanced process with local businesses by way of getting them certified.  The City's Office of Business Opportunity has an aggressive program to get companies certified.  They are doing more outreach now, since the Arena project has started, and there has been a transition between the NDBE & WBE programs to broaden the pool.  The City needs to focus on developing more businesses and making sure they complete the process.

Mayor Johnson emphasized the entire Councill is now onboard.  Previously there was no motivation or direction for the local business development, but the marching orders have changed and the businesses have a more positive direction. 

Alderwoman Gibson-Carter maintains communication will be key, but snail mail and email is not the best form of communication.  The City will need to be more creative in communications.       

5. Community Benefit Agreements
Exhibit 1: Presentation - Community Benefits Agreement.pdf

POSTPONED to the September 10, 2020 meeting.

6. Panhandling Discussion
Exhibit 1: Document - Panhandling Campaign.pdf
Exhibit 2: Presentation - Panhandling.pdf

POSTPONED to the September 10, 2020 meeting.


Mayor Johnson adjourned the Work Session at 6:06 p.m.


The audio recording of the Council Meeting can be found by copying and inserting the below link in your url: 



Mark Massey, Clerk of Council

Date Minutes Approved: September 10, 2020

Initials:  mm

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