Selling Girl Scout cookies in Guyton will go on — but the city is trying to crack down on what it considers aggressive sales techniques.
City council members approved an ordinance to prohibit aggressive solicitation last week, an ordinance prompted by several complaints from citizens, according to city attorney Ramona Bartos.
“This will prevent people from being harassed at the ATM,” she said.
Bartos said the new law won’t prevent salespeople such as Girl Scouts from plying their wares in the city.
“It is not intended to prohibit legitimate businesses or charitable organizations,” Bartos said. “It’s when someone is not interested and people persist in whatever they are trying to solicit.”
At the Jan. 13 city council meeting, Bartos said Guyton Police Chief Randy Alexander had alerted her to reports that citizens had been harassed by others either seeking work or soliciting money. Bartos issued her concern that such harassment may take place while someone is at an automatic teller machine. She researched to see if there were any possible 1st Amendment infringements.
“But there public safety issues,” she said.
According to the ordinance, aggressive solicitation is defined as “disturbing and disruptive to residents and businesses” and includes “approaching or following pedestrians, repetitive soliciting despite refusals, the use of abusive or profane language to cause fear and intimidation, unwanted physical contact or the intentional blocking of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.”
Under the ordinance, aggressive manner is defined, in part, as “intentionally or recklessly making physical contact with or touching another person in the course of solicitation without the person’s consent” and “making repeated requests after a refusal by the individual solicited.”
Punishment for violating the ordinance can be as stiff as a $1,000 fine and 60 days in jail.
Guyton council members also are looking to fill seats on the hospital authority and the city’s planning commission.
Dr. Franklin Goldwire has resigned his post as Guyton representative on the hospital authority and his seat on the city’s planning commission is about to be open since he has served two consecutive terms. City regulations prevent him from serving a third straight term on the planning board.
Another seat on the planning commission became vacant when Ulysses Eaton was appointed to fill Philip King’s council post.
The city is taking applications for the positions. To qualify applicants must live within the Guyton city limits and remain a resident of the city throughout the term of the seat.
Qualified applicants can submit a letter of interest and resume to the city clerk by March 2 at 4 p.m. Applicants are encouraged to utilize the letter of interest and resume to highlight their qualifications for the position.
The city council will review the letters and resumes and select replacements at its March 10 meeting.