Georgia Civil War Commission
Quarterly Meeting Minutes
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Chairman John Culpepper called the meeting to order at 2:23 on March 24, 2018 at Kennesaw State University Center in Kennesaw, Georgia. Commissioners present were John Culpepper, Kelly Barrow, Karen Ledford, Brain Wills, James Yancey, Curt Collier, Inger Eberhart, Ken Griffiths, and Hank Segars. Commissioners not present were Todd Groce, John Carroll, and Charlie Lott. Cassie Barrow, Chief of Staff, was present. Members of the audience consisted of Kenneth Ledford; Brenda Culpepper; Harper Harris, Marietta Confederate Cemetery Board; Steve Reilly, Sons of Union Veterans; Marie Segars; and West Tipton. Prior to the start of the meeting, Commissioners present, as well as guests, had the opportunity to complete the final judging of the 2018 GCWC Art Contest.
Chairman Culpepper sent an announcement of the meeting to the Marietta Daily Journal to publish in the notices, as well as the announcement was posted on social media and at the location. This complies with the Sunshine Law.
Commissioner Barrow opened the meeting in prayer. Commissioner Barrow lead everyone in the pledge to the United States and Commissioner Collier lead the Georgia pledge.
A quorum was established by Chairman Culpepper, allowing for the meeting to be considered legal.
Chairman Culpepper recognized the newest Commissioner, Hank Segars from Madison. Lt. Governor Cagel re-appointed Commissioners Barrow, Yancey, and Ledford, and appointed Hank Segars and W. Todd Groce. Chairman Culpepper reached out to Commissioner Groce but had not received a response from him.
Chairman Culpepper requested for each of the Commissioners present to introduce themselves. Following this, the members of the audience were asked to introduce themselves and the group he/she was representing.
Chairman Culpepper requested a motion to approve the agenda. Commissioner Barrow made the motion to approve the agenda as printed and Commissioner Ledford seconded; motion carried. Agenda is attached to the minutes.
Chairman Culpepper reminded everyone the minutes from the December 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 Griffiths made a motion to accept the minutes with clerical errors corrected; Commissioner Ledford seconded. Motion passed.
2017-18 financial report was read by Chief of Staff Barrow. Chairman Culpepper explained that the Commission only has $25,000 a fiscal year. Treasurer report is attached to the minutes. Commissioner Eberhart made a motion to accept the report, Commissioner Collier seconded, and motion carried.
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: First under Old Business was the Commission Art and Essay Contests. Chairman Culpepper recognized Chief of Staff Barrow to give the Commissioners a status of this project. Chief of Staff Barrow gave an overview of both the art and essay contests for the guests. Chief of Staff Barrow stated the Education Committee had judged the approximate 20 essays that had been submitted for the 2018 essay contest and the four recommended essays were available for the Commissioners to review. They were as follows: Middle School 1stPlace Anne Ramsey from Griffin Middle School; David King a homeschooler; Samiksha Gaherwar from Riverdale Middle School and in the High School category 1st Place Katherine Turner. The Education Committee did not feel like the other high school essay received was award worthy; therefore, did not award a second place in that category. Commissioner Wills made a motion to accept the slate of winners as presented by the Education Committee and Commissioner Collier seconded the motion that carried.
Chief of Staff Barrow stated the Education Committee recommended that next year and following years the essay contest include 5th graders due to the fact they are studying this time. Also, the Education Committee recommended removing the high school category since there seemed to be a lack of desire for this age group to participate. Chief of Staff Barrow shared that Commissioner Eberhart had sent both contest to every county Social Studies chair, and still there were only two essays received on the high school level. Commissioner Wills made the motion to allow 5th graders to participate in the essay contest going forward, and to remove the high school category. Commissioner Seagars seconded this motion and a discussion ensued. Commissioner Wills amended his motion, striking the part to remove the high school category with the logic that as the middle school winners get older, the possibilities of them participating is high. Commissioner Barrow seconded and the amendment to the motion passed. The question was called, and the motion carried.
Chief of Staff Barrow went on the report that the Education Committee recommended Georgia’s Great Locomotive Chase for the 2019 Art Contest and Roswell and/ or New Manchester Mill Workers for the 2019 Essay Contest. Commissioner Collier made a motion to accept this recommendation and Commissioner Wills seconded the motion that passed.
Chief of Staff Barrow reported that one essay had been plagiarized almost in its entirety and another had a section that was copied. These two essays were disqualified but wanted the Commissioners to be aware of this issue.
Finally, Chief of Staff Barrow reported that it was recommended that the winning essays be made into a booklet again this year and a calendar be made with the winning artwork. Commissioner Wills made the motion to accept this recommendation and Commissioner Segars seconded. Motion passed. It was agreed that the winning artwork would be showcased at the May Quarterly Meeting and at Kennesaw State University Collector’s Showcase on July 21. Awards will be given to winners at both locations or other arrangements will be made.
Chairman Culpepper asked Chief of Staff Barrow to give an update on the Field Trip reimbursement program. Chief of Staff Barrow explained the program to the guests and reported that numerous inquiries had been made, an application had not been received. Commissioner Eberhart would send the information to all the county Social Studies chairs so they could disseminate it to their teachers.
Next, Chairman Culpepper asked Chief of Staff Barrow to report on the status of the Southeastern Homeschool Expo in Cobb County on July 27 and 28, 2018. Chief of Staff Barrow stated that she had reserved the booth and would need help from any Commissioner that would be available on that Friday and Saturday. Commissioner Eberhart shared her experience from the previous year and encouraged every Commissioner to attend to understand the size of this expo.
Chairman Culpepper gave a report on the interpretative marker about Union General Sherman being in Walker County, Georgia, which was approved previously by the Commission. The text is an article written by Lee White, a park ranger at Chattanooga/ Chickamauga National Battlefield, who gave the Commission permission to use. Chairman Culpepper said the sign is ready and now waiting on the final approval for it to be placed. Commissioner Barrow was asked to give a report on the James S. Boynton, James Hughes, and the Georgia Military Institute interpretative signs. Per Commissioner Barrow, the signs have been formatted. The GMI sign is on hold due to the fact that the Friends of Resaca and the State of Georgia are now unsure on the procedures of allowing a third party to place a sign at the battlefield. Once the procedures are in place, Ken Padgett will contact Chief of Staff Barrow to discuss the placement of the GMI sign. The other two signs are ready to be placed once final approval from the Oakhill Cemetery is obtained. It was explained by Chairman Culpepper that the signs were National Parks standard and the Commission has placed numerous over the years to tell the more about Georgia’s obscure history.
Chairman Culpepper then read a letter from Jeane Parker, President of the Longstreet United Daughters of the Confederacy Chapter, that explained that the funding the Commission gave to this entity had been applied to the down payment of the project. (Letter attached to the minutes) Chairman Culpepper asked Chief of Staff Barrow to request a copy of the receipt for our records. Chairman Culpepper asked Chief of Staff Barrow if a final receipt for the Milledgeville monument had been sent. Chief of Staff Barrow stated that the thank you letter sent by Ms. Kennedy stating the project is complete, which was read at the prior meeting, was all that had been received. Chairman Culpepper asked that a receipt be obtained on this project as well. At this point, Chief of Staff Barrow reported that she had reached out to BATL, an organization who is to refurbish the Walker and McPherson monuments in Atlanta and the Commission gave money towards the project, again to determine when and if they would continue with the project. Henry Bryant, President of BATL, told Chief of Staff Barrow that the group was unsure about the project due to many complications. Commissioner Yancey made a motion to request that BATL return the $7,000 that the Commission has given towards the project. The money will be held for the fiscal year of 2018-19. BATL will be able during that time to come back and give an update to the status of the project. If the project is not started in the 2018-19 fiscal year, the $7,000 will be put back into the Commission’s budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. Commissioner Eberhart seconded the motion and it passed. Chief of Staff Barrow was asked to draft a letter that Chairman Culpepper would send to Mr. Bryant.
Chairman Culpepper updated the Commission on the request of support from The Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic to place a bronze marker at Andersonville honoring the LGAR. Chairman Culpepper had sent a letter to the Department of Interior as requested, but he was unsure of where things stood at that moment.
Chairman Culpepper went to the next item on the agenda, OCGA 50-3-1 resolution. The Commission had passed a Resolution at the last meeting stating support of the current law to remain as written with no alterations. The Resolution was sent to every Georgia legislator. Chief of Staff Barrow spent several days at the Capitol talking to legislators and getting a feel for what might happen to this law. It seemed that the current atmosphere was to leave the state law that protects all military monuments as it was written.
Under New Business, Chairman Culpepper reported about the vandalism to Resaca Confederate Cemetery, Resaca Battlefield, and Rome Confederate Monument. At this time, no one had been apprehended for the destruction. Ken Padgett, President of the Friends of Resaca, sent an email to Chief of Staff Barrow detailing the damage, which was shared with the Commissioners. Discussion about the extensive damage to the Rome monument was next. There has not been a request for assistance from the Commission, but Chairman Culpepper wanted to make sure the Commissioners were aware of the vandalism.
Georgia’s Open Meeting Act OCGA 50-14-1 was next to be addressed. At the Commission’s December Quarterly Meeting it was discovered that the Central Georgia Peace Alliance was recording the meeting, by a vote of the Commission the group was directed to cease recording and erase all had been recorded up to that time. Chairman Culpepper asked Commissioner Eberhart to reach out to Mary Jo Volkert, the Commission’s Representative with the Georgia Attorney General Office, to determine if the Commission had violated any state code concerning public meetings. Ms. Volkert did state that a person has the right to record an open meeting, even if the person does not seek prior permission; therefore, the Commission violated the Sunshine Law by asking Mr. Ayman Fadel to stop recording the meeting. Her response is attached to the minutes. Ms. Volkert then reached out to Mr. Fadel to share the ruling, in doing so acknowledging the breach, and apologizing for it. Chairman Culpepper shared that he wanted the Commission to be proactive by self-reporting our ignorance of this stipulation in the law.
Chairman Culpepper shared that Commissioner Rusty Henderson resigned from the Commission due to his inability to attend meetings. Chairman Culpepper expressed thanks on behalf of the Commission for all of the years Commissioner Henderson served. It was shared that former Commissioner Edward Shelor did not receive a reappointment from Lt. Governor Cagel, and again thanking him for all his time with the Commission. Currently the Governor still has two vacant position on the Commission. The Lt. Governor’s appointments are current until 3-19-22. The Speaker of the House now has one vacancy after the resignation of Mr. Henderson, and he needs to reappoint the active Commissioners. New Commissioner Hank Segars was welcomed again, and the Commissioners were made aware that W. Todd Groce was also appointed to the Commission by the Lt. Governor. Chairman Culpepper reached out to Commissioner Groce but found out he was out of town.
At the end of the meeting, each Commissioner may bring something before the Commission. Commissioner Wills reminded the Commissioners about the Kennesaw State University Center of Civil War Studies of the Dalton Bus Tour with Jim Ogden, Vincent Dooley Leadership Symposium, and the Collector’s Showcase that would be taking place over the next few months. Commissioner Wills also thanked the Commission for the monetary support of the educational symposium that took place that morning.
Chairman Culpepper gave a report on the luncheon at Mary Mac’s Tearoom that Senator Mullis treated the Commissioners to. Senator Mullis, who has always been very supportive of the Commission, was glad to hear about the different activities that the Commission was pursuing and was looking forward to hearing more. Chairman Culpepper reminded the Commissioners that Senator Mullis is the person responsible for putting the $25,000 into the State of Georgia budget for our operational expenses.
Commissioner Eberhart reported that the Cobb County Board of Commissioners would be considering changing the name of the Johnston’s River Line Park, which is where unique shoupades are located, to Mabelton Discovery Park. The shoupades are listed on the National Register of Historical Pleases. Discussion about what the Commission could do ensued. Commissioner Griffiths made a motion to draft a resolution in support of keeping the name as Johnston’s River Line Park, due to the historic nature of the property. Commissioner Ledford seconded the motion that passed. Commissioner Eberhart and Chief of Staff Barrow were asked to draft by the end of the day a resolution and email it to the Commissioners for review. Also, it was determined that Commissioner Griffiths would speak on behalf of the Commission at the meeting.
Commissioner Segars shared he was excited to be a part of the Commission and looked forward to working alongside everyone. Prior to the meeting, he was able to visit the Smithsonian affiliate The Museum of Locomotive and Southern History in Kennesaw and was impressed with it. He is hoping that Georgia Backroads, a magazine he writes for, will run an article on the museum.
Chief of Staff Barrow asked the Commissioners to consider a working weekend in August. It is possible the Quarterly Meeting could be held on the Saturday afternoon of this weekend. The goal would be to compile the end of year reports and focus on the goals for the upcoming fiscal year.
The next Quarterly Meeting was scheduled for March 12, 2018 at 1:00 at the Griffin – Spalding Regional Library in Griffin, GA. Commissioner Collier made the motion to adjourn and Commissioner Ledford seconded.
Respectfully submitted by Cassie Barrow, Chief of Staff
Georgia Civil War Commission