Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Davis Retiring As Chair Of Oconee County Board Of Commissioners; Daniell Is Running For The Spot

Announcements Today

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis sent out an email message just before 2 p.m. today saying that he plans to retire when his current term ends on Dec. 31 rather than seek reelection for what would be a fifth term.

Commissioner John Daniell told me in a telephone conversation just after 3 p.m. that he will seek the chairmanship position.

Daniell’s decision means that in addition to the position of Commission chair, three Commission posts will be up for election this year, since Daniell must resign his slot as soon as he files qualifying papers for the chair position in early March.

Pat Hayes, chair of the Oconee County Board of Elections and Registration, told me this morning that she thinks she can hold the primary election for Daniell’s post on May 24, the same date as the primary for the other two open posts.

Commissioner Mark Saxon told me just before 3 p.m. today that Davis’ retirement does not change his plans to seek reelection to his current post, and Commissioner Jim Luke told me a few minutes later that the announcement does not affect his plans to retire.

So far, Daniell is the only one who has expressed any interested in the chair’s position, though others might come forward, and even Davis might reconsider, before the filing deadline on noon on March 11.

Other Names For Commissioner

Mark Thomas, a member of the Oconee County Board of Education, told me last night–and again in a telephone conversation this afternoon–that he is considering resigning from his BOE post and seeking a seat on the Board of Commissioners.

Davis 10/27/2015

Sarah Bell, who came within 100 votes of defeating Davis in 2008, has told me that she is considering running for one of the Commission seats.

Chuck Horton, former Commissioner who challenged Davis unsuccessfully in 2012, told me this morning he is not ready to make an announcement regarding his plans.

Daniell 10/27/2015

Current Commissioner William “Bubber” Wilkes told me late last year that he did not plan to seek the position of chair. Wilkes has been a stalwart in attending Commission meeting, but he has made no secret of his being in poor health.

All current commissioners are Republicans., and the Republican primary usually determines the election outcomes in Oconee County.

A runoff election for the primary, if necessary, would be on July 26.

The general election is Nov. 8.

Davis’ Retirement Email

Davis sent an email message to citizens serving on county committees and separately to “friends.”

The message to friends follows:

I wanted to share with you, prior to your hearing by the grapevine or reading in the newspaper, that I will retire as Oconee County Commission Chair at the end of this term of office. Esther and I plan to spend time together with some travel and participating in the many, many family activities with our children and grandkids.

It has been a real pleasure to work with each of you in various capacities during the past 16 years. Your assistance has enabled all of us to better serve our citizens and has made Oconee County a better place to live, work and play.

I look forward to the remainder of this term and continuing our fine working relationship during the next several months.


Davis sent me the message addressed to “friends.” I sent him a request last week for any announcement, which had been rumored, and again this morning.

Commissioners Daniell and Luke told me Davis informed them of his decision after the Commission meeting last night.

Davis’ retirement is the lead story in tomorrow’s edition of The Oconee Enterprise.


Anonymous said...

This is fantastic news for the future of Oconee.
It's time for a fresh perspective. It's time for a more diverse commission instead of five middle-aged/senior Caucasian males.

Bubber brings absolutely nothing to the table. We need commissioners with vision, not overly close ties to Jamie Boswell and Frank Bishop and the handful of old Oconee landowner dynasty families.

Do we want to become a Gwinnett County wannabee, with out of control growth and poor planning, or do we want to protect farmland and greenspace with smartly planned growth that enhances quality of life.

Yes, let's thank Melvin for his service (which paid him over six figures per year). For the first time in years, Oconee has a chance to move forward.

Doug Hansford said...

John would be a good choice for Chairman. I've known him since we were kids and he has always been level headed and a thoughtful leader.

Anonymous said...

I hope Jeff Benko will run for Bd. Chairman.

Anonymous said...

Hope Jeff Benko runs for Bd. Chairman.

Boo said...

Run Benko,run!

mike streetman said...

I have not always agreed with my friend Melvin's decisions and have given my opinion when he has asked. But you must admit Oconee has prospered over the last 15 years of his leadership.
Now with the opportunity of new leadership on the horizon and my friend John Daniel's announcement to run for the position of Chairman of the BOC I feel that his attention to detail and forthright out in the open leadership style will continue Oconees' growth in the future if he is elected. I have supported John in the past elections and will be happy to do so in this one.
Someone mentioned in the above comment that they wished that my friend Jeff would run for Chairman and I am sure he would do a good job if elected. He has done a good job in the position he now occupies and I would hope that he would remain in it.
There may be other qualified persons to run, But John is the first and again I pledge my support to him and will help any way I can if asked. Mike Streetman

Lifelong resident said...

Please don't let John Daniell become our next Chairman! He is worse possible choice!

Anonymous said...

Geddings or Benko got my vote if they've a mind to seek election.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:36, what can you tell us about Geddings? Don't know much, interested on pro's & con's.

Benko has let Melvin walked all over him for years. Melvin has been the de factor county manager.

The best run counties in the US have elected officials set policy and goals, and plan for the future, and hire a strong county manager to make it happen.

There is nowhere in the county bylaws that allows for the commission chair to be paid FOUR TIMES more than the other commissioners.

How in the heck did Melvin pull off that ruse?

Lee Becker said...

The salary of the chair of the Commission and of the other Board members is set in what is called the county's enabling legislation. The current legislation was passed in 1998. It sets the chair's salary at 113 percent of the highest base salary payable to the following county officers: the sheriff, probate judge, tax commissioner and clerk of superior court. The other four commissioners receive 27 percent of this same base. The enabling legislation is passed by the General Assembly and can be amended by the General Assembly.

Anonymous said...

Question to Mr. Becker-How does the enabling legislation change? Must the BOC vote for change or does it go to the voters?
Thank you.

Lee Becker said...

The General Assembly changes the legislation. The local delegation would have to support the changes. It is not necessary for the local government to request the change. Citizens can appeal directly to the legislators.

Anonymous said...

Excellent explanation Mr. Becker,thanks!