The relationship between the city of Brunswick and Glynn County has been mostly a formal working one, with a few acrimonious moments in recent history.
But elected and appointed officials believe things could be better. They met Tuesday for the first-ever “Unity Breakfast” to discuss how the relationship could improve.
Before the presentation, sponsored by the Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce and College of Coastal Georgia, Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey discussed the relationship between the city and county. He said serving on the Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water & Sewer Commission with county officials has made them realize the importance of working together toward common goals.
COVID-19 also forced elected officials to realize they have to work closely for public safety. Harvey said he wants to create an even stronger relationship with the county during his final year in office.
“We started fostering a good relationship with the past administration,” he said. “COVID hit, and it forced us all to work together.”
Meeting facilitator, Skip Mounts, dean of the college’s school of business and public management, and professor of economics, said 2021 should be a year to go in a different direction.
“Everyone in this room comes from an organization with a shared vision statement,” he said. “A shared statement shows unity. If we work together, if we talk together, we know we can be more successful.”
What gets in the way is personalities, he said.
“We need to solve problems from a human approach instead of an issue approach,” he said. “It’s the differences that keep us apart and the commonness that gives us strength. We have so many similarities.”
As for past differences, Mounts has simple advice: “Forget it.”
“It’s hard to move forward when you’re looking in the rearview mirror,” he said.
No issues were discussed during the meeting, but Mounts asked for similar breakfasts to be held quarterly. He suggested breakfast instead of lunch because everyone’s work schedule tends to get busier as the day progresses.
“It’s got to be breakfast. You have more time,” he said.
The expectations are even higher for the mayor of Brunswick and Glynn County commission chairman going into the future. Mounts recommended they meet once every two weeks — again for breakfast — to discuss issues of mutual concern. The mayor and county commission chairman would be allowed to bring one guest to the bi-weekly breakfasts.
“We can be more successful working together,” he said. “There’s plenty to talk about.”