Georgia Civil War Commission
Quarterly Meeting Minutes
Saturday, December 8, 2018

Chairman John Culpepper called the meeting to order at 1:12 on December 8, 2018 at Kennesaw State Continuing Education Center, Kennesaw, Georgia. Commissioners present were John Culpepper, Kelly Barrow, Karen Ledford, Brain Wills, Curt Collier, Inger Eberhart, Ken Griffiths and James Yancey. Commissioner not present were Hank Segars and John Carroll. Cassie Barrow, Chief of Staff, was present. Members of the audience consisted of Kenneth Ledford, William Barrow, Georgianah Barrow, and MJ Stephens.

Chairman Culpepper told the audience who we are and our mission. He then went on to state that he sent an announcement of the meeting to the Marietta Daily Journal on December 28, 2018 to publish in the notices, as well as the announcement was posted on social media and at the location in compliance with the Sunshine Law.

A quorum was established by Chairman Culpepper, allowing for the meeting to be considered legal.

Commissioner Barrow opened the meeting in prayer. Commissioner Yancey lead the pledge to the United States’ flag and Commissioner Collier lead the pledge to Georgia’s flag.  

Chairman Culpepper requested for each of the Commissioners present to introduce themselves. Following this, Chairman Culpepper welcomed the audience and requested they introduce themselves and the group he/she was representing.

Chairman Culpepper requested a motion to approve the agenda. Commissioner Collier made the motion to approve the agenda as printed and Commissioner Barrow seconded; motion carried. Agenda is attached to the minutes.

Chairman Culpepper reminded everyone the minutes from the August Quarterly Meeting were emailed to each Commissioner for review prior to this meeting. Clerical changes were sent to Chief of Staff Barrow and made prior to the meeting. Commissioner Wills made a motion to accept the minutes with clerical errors corrected; Commissioner Barrow seconded. Motion passed.

The 2018-19 financial report was read by Chief of Staff Barrow. Chairman Culpepper explained that the Commission only has $25,000 for the fiscal year. Treasurer report is attached to the minutes. Commissioner Eberhart made a motion to accept the report, Commissioner Griffiths seconded, and motion carried. The 2017-18 financial report was given to Commissioner Eberhart of the internal audit at the August Quarterly Meeting. She would send the audit to Chief of Staff Barrow and Chairman Culpepper to be filled.  

At this time, Chairman Culpepper asked if anyone in the audience had anything they would like to bring before the Commission that was not on the agenda. Nothing was presented.

Under Old Business: Chairman Culpepper stated that he had not heard from Henry Bryant, Chairman of BATL, to give the Commission an email update on the McPherson and Walker monument restoration project as the Commission had requested previously. Mr. Bryant was told at the August Quarterly Meeting, which he was in attendance, that the financial statement and status report was to be sent to Chairman Culpepper by November 10, 2018. Commissioner Griffiths commented that he had visited with Mr. Bryant following the last meeting. Chairman Culpepper requested what would the Commission have him do since the reports were not sent? It was agreed upon by all Commissioners present that Chairman Culpepper should send a reminder style email to Mr. Bryant requesting the information needed within seven days of the email. If a response was not received, the Commission instructed Chair Culpepper to do as he saw fit in reference to sending a certified letter or another email.

Chairman Culpepper announced that he had been reappointed by Lt Governor Cagle. The chairman met with Senator Mullis and gave the resumes of Fred Aiken. Ken Smith, and Tracy Noman in order to try to fill some of the vacancies the Governor and Speaker of the House still has. Commissioner Collier was given the same bios so he could work with Governor Elect Brian Kemp in the event Governor Deal did not fill his vacancies.

Commissioner Eberhart sent a draft of the End of Year Report for each Commissioner to review. Chairman Culpepper requested again that Commissioners share any pictures or notes about anything they were a part of on behalf of the Commission. Chief of Staff Barrow and Commissioner will have a work session just after the first of the year to finalize the End of Year Report. Limited copies will be made; however, the final version will be sent electronically via MailChimp and social media outlets. Chief of Staff Barrow is charged with making sure key legislators receive a hardcopy of the report. Additionally, it was discussed that Chief of Staff Barrow make a presence on behalf of the Commission after the Session begins.

Chairman Culpepper asked Chief of Staff Barrow to give a report on the website issues and what she had learned since the August Quarterly Meeting. It was reported that Commissioner Wills had enquired at Kennesaw State University to see if the computer/ technology department could be of assistance, but that did not seem to be an avenue that was pursuable. The BlueHost hosting fee was past due because Chief of Staff Barrow was unsure if by paying it, there would be more website issues similar to those that had occurred previously. Chief of Staff Barrow spoke with Thomas Harris, a technical major from the Griffin area who works from his home, about possibly becoming the PRN IT person for the Commission to help determine where and what type of issues the website has. He would be a go between for the Commission and Jerry Wells at JerMar and would speak the technical lingo. Mr. Harris has agreed to this agreement and would only charge the Commission $15 per hour, as compared to JerMar’s quote of $75 to $150 per hour. The goal would be to get all the technical issues dealt with prior to January 1, 2019 so that the website can be updated and active again. He would determine what was needed when it comes to BlueHost and change the administrator from Commissioner Carroll to Chief of Staff Barrow. This would remove the Chief of Staff from dealing with Mr. Wells at JerMar and allow a third person who can properly communicate with Mr. Wells about the technical aspects of the website. A motion was made by Commissioner Griffiths to contract with Thomas Harris to settle the website issues with JerMar by December 31, 2018. The hourly agreed upon cost is $15 per hour but not to exceed 35 hours total. A weekly status report will be sent to Chief of Staff Barrow, who will forward it as needed to the Commissioners. After January 1, 2019, Mr. Harris will be retained to continue to maintain the website. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Collier and passed.

Under New Business, Chairman Culpepper recognized MJ Stephens to discuss the propose street names in Atlanta. Ms. Stephens handed out a flyer about all the monuments that had been vandalized as a point of reference to her presentation. She discussed the 40-page summary presented by the advisory board appointed by the City of Atlanta under then Mayor Reed. Incoming Mayor Lance Bottom did not address this report at the beginning of her term, but it appears that “Confederate Avenue” had been changed recently. Chairman Culpepper shared with Ms. Stephens that we had been a part of the research for the report and had helped as the Commission saw fit; however, it is was more in reference to the monuments listed, not the street names. Chairman Culpepper went on the state that the City of Atlanta had been changing street names for years and that was a local issue for tax payers and businesses, and not one the Commission needed to be a part of. Chief of Staff Barrow gave Ms. Stephens the resolution supporting Georgia Code 50-1-3, which pertains to monuments, to remain as written in the current code. Chairman Culpepper stated that while many Commissioners may agree with her on a personal level, but this does not fall under the Commission’s jurisdiction. Commissioner Barrow stated he contact Councilman Carla Smith about who would receive the street signs “Confederate Ave” and received a response from Dave Mitchell of the Atlanta Preservation Center saying that that instate had received all of the signs, minus the one sent to the Atlanta History Center. Commissioner Barrow recommend the Commission look into placing an interpretive sign about the history of the Confederate Veterans Home at the Georgia State Patrol that is located on the old site of the home. Chairman Culpepper agreed this was a good idea and appointed a committee of Commissioners Barrow, Collier, Yancey, and Griffiths to investigate the possibility of placing an interpretive sign at this location. Chief of Staff Barrow would assist as needed. The committee was given the charge to make a recommendation by the next Quarterly Meeting so this project could be discussed by the Commission as a whole. Ms. Stephens was thanked for bringing this topic to the Commission to be discussed and Chairman Culpepper stated that she would be notified if the committee recommend for the Commission to explore this option further.

Next on the Agenda was the Public Relations Committee, which is a subcommittee of the Education Committee. Commissioner Segars is the ad hoc Chairman of the committee. Chairman Culpepper requested if there had been any sort of correspondence with this subcommittee and goals and objectives established. Since Commissioner Segars was not present, there was no report presented. Chairman Culpepper requested this subcommittee meet to determine if there was a need or not for it and report by the next Quarterly Meeting.

Chairman Culpepper recognized Chief of Staff Barrow to give the education report. First addressed was the Georgia Council of the Social Studies Convention in Athens for public school teachers in October. An email from the organizers stated that there were over 500 attendees from all over the state. Chief of Staff Barrow reported that due to a family emergency, the booth was set up with all the free items, but no one manned the booth. However, all the items were taken and there were no leftovers. She presented the program and email for the Commissioners to review; items are attached to the minutes. At this point she requested if the Commission would like to participate in the 2019 Georgia Council of the Social Studies Convention, which will be held once again in Athens. The dates are Oct 10-11, 2019. Commissioner Griffiths made a motion that the Commission setup a booth again and that Chief of Staff Barrow attend to represent the Commission. Commissioner Eberhart seconded the motion that carried.

Next, Chief of Staff Barrow asked the Commissioners if they wanted her to attend and have a booth at the Epic Homeschool Expo in South Cobb County? There are usually around 200 or more families that attend. Epic Homeschool Co-op, the organization that sponsors the expo, is one of the largest co-ops and most active. Commissioner Eberhart made a motion to have Chief of Staff Barrow represent the Commission at the Epic Homeschool Expo and her expenses are to be paid; Commissioner Griffiths seconded. Motion passed. Eberhart reported that she delivered copies of the 2019 Commission calendar that showcased 2018 art contest winners to all Cobb County libraries, as well as information on the 2019 contests and pencils.

While there is a budget line item for the Southeastern Homeschool Expo that is at the Cobb Center the last weekend in July, Chief of Staff Barrow asked if the Commissioners still wished for the Commission to have a presence at this expo. Commissioner Griffiths made a motion for the Commission to continue to have a booth at the Southeastern Homeschool Expo, and for the Commission to pay the expenses associated with this, including Chief of Staff Barrow and any Commissioner who attends expenses. Commissioner Eberhart seconded the motion that passed.

Chief of Staff Barrow brought the recommendation from the Education Committee that the $250 field trip reimbursement request from CT Walker Traditional Magnet School be accepted. She stated that receipts, pictures, thank you notes, and a video were on the back table for the Commissioners to review, thus fulfilling the final field trip reimbursement guidelines. Commissioner Ledford made the motion to have Chief of Staff Barrow reimburse CT Walker Traditional Magnet School $250 since all the field trip reimbursement guidelines had been met. Commissioner Griffiths seconded and the motion carried.

In the past, the Commission has given a $1,000 sponsorship to KSU Civil War Center Educational Symposium in March. Chief of Staff Barrow asked if the Commission was still desiring to do this in the 2019-20 fiscal year? The next one is March 23, 2019 and the topic will be transportation, more specifically trains, with the keynote speaker being Tom Parsons from Corinth, Mississippi, as well as a representative from the Atlanta History Center. Commissioner Collier made the motion to continue this sponsorship and Commissioner Griffiths seconded. Motion passed. There was discussion about better or different pr or advertisement for this event, maybe something in different magazines or publications. A motion was made by Commissioner Griffiths to allow $500 of the earmarked funds from the Friends of Nash Farm Battlefield to go towards advertisement if KSU Civil War Center or the Public Relations sub-committee felt it would encourage attendance. Commissioner Yancey seconded the motion that passed. Commissioner Eberhart said she would send it out via MailChimp to help reach educators, legislators, and others that have signed up to receive our emails. This, however brought up an important issue. She brought up that since we have over 2,000 contacts on MailChimp, the cost to send out emails is $30 per month. Commissioner Wills made a motion that the Commission incur the $30 a month since this was the perfect way to send out our material electronically. Commissioner Griffiths seconded the motion that passed.

Chief of Staff Barrow stated that last fiscal year the Commission sponsored the Collector’s Showcase, which is where we had our art expo. She reminded the Commissioners it was a huge success and that Commissioner Wills stated that the Commission could once again have the art expo at this event. Commissioner Barrow made a motion to continue the $1,000 sponsorship of the Collector’s Showcase, with the agreement that the Commission can have the art expo at the same time. Commissioner Collier seconded the motion that carried.

Finally, Chief of Staff Barrow reminded all Commissioners that the art and essay contests deadline is February 12, 2019 and the winners will be determined at the next Quarterly Meeting. She reminded the Commissioners that the Education Committee judges the essays and she only organize the process. This year, the Commission will invite the winners to the Collectors Showcase in July so that the awards may be given. The Education Committee is already discussing ideas for next year’s contests.

Chairman Culpepper gave an updated the Commission on the District Hill African American Cemetery, which was the first African American Cemetery in Walker County. Chairman Culpepper reminded the Commission that it sponsored the ground penetrating radar that was the begin phase of this project. There are over 125 graves that were located during that process. UGA Environmental and Design Department has created a Master Plan for this historical cemetery and the Frank Pierce Foundation has dedicated $30,000 towards the project. The Commission is proud to help have been a part of this venture.

Chairman Culpepper than shared that our publication with the Georgia’s Dept of Economic Development, Crossroads of Conflict, would not have another publication. He was given less than 40 books from GADoE for the Commission to use as they saw fit. The books that UGA Press has on hand will be all that is available. There was discussion if the Commission would like to purchase more books or not. This discussion was tabled until the next meeting. Chief of Staff Barrow was asked to investigate the situation more and report back to the Commission.

At the end of the meeting, each Commissioner may bring something before the Commission. Commissioner Eberhart said she was finally moved and thanked the Commissioners for working with her during it. Commissioner Barrow asked how the Commissioners would feel about having a private FaceBook discussion group so that everyone could discuss different projects and ideas. There was concern about violating state law with the open meeting situation, so it was determined that this was not in the best interest of the Commission. Commissioner Chairman Culpepper informed the Commission that an interpretive sign was hit and that he was working with Jim Ogden about getting it fixed. 

The next Quarterly Meeting was next on the schedule. It was discussed that the Americus meeting that was scheduled ended up being a disaster with attempting to verify a quorum and planning. It is hoped that vacancies would be filled so that the football season would no longer hinder the Fall Quarterly Meeting. The next Quarterly Meeting would be after the Educational Symposium at KSC on March 23, 2019. The symposium would begin around 9 and the Quarterly Meeting would begin at 1:00. If a Commissioner was attending the symposium, a hotel room would be provided for Friday night. If a Commissioner was only attending the meeting, a hotel room would not be needed. Chief of Staff Barrow stated she would pool the Commissioners later to verify who would need a room or not. Commissioner Collier made the motion to adjourn and Commissioner Wills seconded. Meeting ended at 3:24.

Respectfully submitted by Cassie Barrow, Chief of Staff