Chair Votes No
The Oconee County Board of Commissioners voted 4 to 0 tonight to approve an ordinance specifying that the county administrative officer reports to the full board rather than just the chairman.
The ordinance contains an organizational chart for the county, specifies that the board will have control over its agenda, and outlines procedures to guarantee that the board plays a role in the budget process.
The board took the action after a final public hearing on the ordinance. Many of those who spoke asked the board to delay action and get more input from citizens.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis stated his opposition to the ordinance and also asked that a decision be delayed.
Commissioner Chuck Horton made the motion to approve the ordinance, and Commissioner John Daniell seconded. Commissioners Margaret Hale and Jim Luke approved.
Davis asked that his opposition to the ordinance be recorded in the minutes. The enabling legislation for Oconee County specifies that the chairman votes only in the case of a tie.
At the beginning of the meeting, Commissioner Daniell read a time line he had compiled of discussions of the need for a change in the way the Board of Commissioners operates that began in 2005.
Chairman Davis said that by his interpretation three-quarters of the people in the county opposed the changes proposed in the ordinance. He said he reached that conclusion based on public comments at the three public hearings and on email messages received by the county.
Luke challenged the usefulness of the data in judging public opinion.
County Attorney Daniel Haygood added two sections to the ordinance before it was approved. One specified how the ordinance could be changed and the other specified the administrative procedures for handling violations.
The ordinance was drafted by Haygood at the request of the four members of the board and in consultation with experts at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia.
Background information on the ordinance is contained in a posting here on Sunday.
Note: I could not attend the meeting. This posting is based on reports from Charles Baugh, Sarah Bell and Russ Page, who did attend.