By Joe Johnson
The seat of Oconee County has been designated as a City of Civility by the Georgia Municipal Association.
A 2019 poll by Weber Shandwick revealed that more than 90 percent of Americans believe that incivility is a problem, with nearly 68 percent identifying it as a major problem.
Civility is more than just politeness; it is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions and teaching others to do the same.
On Feb. 15 the Watkinsville Mayor & Council adopted a civility resolution in GMA’s new Embrace Civility program on February 15, 2023.
“Thankfully, we typically behave with civility already in Watkinsville,” Mayor Brian Brodrick said “However, by adopting this Resolution, we are showing our support for the broader initiative in the state and confirm that we are a community that embraces these principles.”
GMA, in partnership with the Association’s nonprofit organization, Georgia City Solutions, created the Embrace Civility program to equip Georgia’s cities with resources to create more civility in their meetings and among their
residents and meeting attendees. Civil behavior and speech are critically important to a healthy, functional, and respectful society. For public service to be effective, there must be an atmosphere of respect and tolerance and a commitment to a healthy public exchange of diverse ideas and viewpoints.
“I commend the City of Watkinsville for embracing civility and adopting the resolution to become a GMA City of Civility,” said GMA CEO and Executive Director Larry Hanson. “We believe that Georgia’s cities have a great platform to model open, free, and vigorous debate, while maintaining the highest standards of civility, honesty, and mutual respect.”
To become a City of Civility, city councils are required to adopt a Civility Resolution and pledge to engage in civil behavior with each other as well as with residents and meeting attendees.