Merge dissolve colossal fail? City officials speak out - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Merge dissolve colossal fail? City officials speak out

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Sunday we learn two Savannah officials in the midst of the merger dissolve believe the termination of the agreement is "a colossal fail for everyone." City Manager Rob Hernandez and Alderman Van Johnson admitted this at the monthly NAACP meeting on Sunday. 

Make no mistake neither Manager Hernandez or Alderman Johnson wanted a termination of the merger, but they say they are on board. They have to be. 

Hernandez says he wants everyone to know he is not leading the city. He is not a director or planner. He simply implements the plan our elected officials choose.

However, he says he did spend countless hours meeting with these leaders and the decision made was not made lightly. The resolution in place now and for the past decade was not working because the city and county were not abiding by it together.

This then forced our elected officials to end this merger. 

"When one party decided it was not going to abide by the dispute resolution process that they had agreed to, our city council felt their backs were against the wall and they had no choice but to make the decision to terminate the agreement," said Hernandez. 

These men don't like the road ahead - but say it's their job to join the city even if it's splitting apart.

"A decision has been made and the city of Savannah is going to move on," said Hernandez.

"Folks we have to be able to walk together," said Savannah Alderman Van Johnson. "We have to be able to work together. And I just hope and pray that we're able to work this thing out. Can someone say amen. Amen."

The community has its own prayers that more money won't come out of their pocket to fund this next step.

"It's gonna be a question of who is responsible for what," said Wendy Stepherson, Savannah Citizen. "Once you have a split - you have to clearly define what each party's role is gonna be."

A recent Berkshire study tells us the county owes the city millions of dollars for police services. The city feels their tax payers shouldn't foot the bill for county services anymore. The city manager says mutual aid agreements with neighboring counties and cities adds to the burden for the city taxpayers in this room. 

Both Hernandez and Johnson agree there is still a lot of preparation and planning to do before the dissolve. They plan to reconstitute the Savannah police department but says the transition for the people - rest assured - will be seamless.

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