We have asked the Candidates for Gwinnett County Chairman for any last words to the voters before this Tuesday’s historic election.  Here are the candidates’ gracious statements.  Team Bold Spicy wants to thank all the candidates for their service, passion, and exhausting efforts in taking time to reach out to all of the readers and citizens in Gwinnett.  We wish you all, the best!  These statements are in order of receipt and their original answers from February’s article can be found immediately after their closing statements on this very page.

Dear Citizens of Gwinnett County,
I have enjoyed the opportunity to get out and meet many of you over these past several months.  It has been a pleasure hearing your thoughts and concerns about how the county is being run.  I would like to leave you with a few final thoughts before Tuesday’s election.  Our Founding Fathers envisioned a Government, OF the PEOPLE, BY the PEOPLE, and FOR the PEOPLE.  Over the years this has become translated into a Government OF the POLITICIAN, BY the POLITICIAN, and FOR the POLITICIAN.  The Dictionary defines a Politician as an individual who seeks public office for their own personal gain or advancement generally through sly or underhanded means.  I feel like this explains a lot when you look over our Local, State, and Federal Government.    I have said from the very beginning That I am a Proven Public Servant and not a Politician.  Another definition is that of Insanity- Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get a different result.  If you are satisfied with the way things are being done then I am not the candidate for you.  However, if you are looking for a candidate who will bring Honesty, Integrity, and Common Sense to the Office of the Chairman and someone who is truly interested in serving the Citizens then Vote for me March 15.
Thank you
Duane Kissel

This is it win lose or runoff this is who I am:

To all voters in Gwinnett I will ask you all to please go out and vote this March 15th if you have not all ready done so. Please vote for someone and the ideas that they have presented. I am seeking this position so that I can help bring more opportunities for you to ​take part in self governance. If you like the idea of a County Government that will maintain a sold infrastructure and provide some key services needed for a safe and healthy County I can assure you I will make that happen. If you are looking for a County Government that will micromanage you life you can vote for one of the other candidates. If you are looking for the opportunity to make the most out your own community within Gwinnett I will assist you with taking on that responsibility. If you want the County Government to do it for you I am sorry I am not the kind of person who seeks to be anyones master. If you want honest and fair government I will have an open door for all to see and all will be treated with respect. I WILL NOT take cash donations from companies or individuals who seek to or are doing business with the county, other elected officials are ok with this I am not. It is your responsibility as a voter to find out who is funding who for it is not appropriate for me, as a candidate, to publish any negative information about other candidates no matter how disturbing I may personal find it to be (or look to be knowing that often it is not the “bad” stuff published rather the stuff that looks bad). I have gotten to know the other candidates in this race and on a personal level I find them ALL to be good people even though I may question some of their judgment on a few choices they have made. I am not a perfect individuals and if you seek that in anyone I can assure you that you will always be disappointed. As a husband, a farther and a individual I will do what I feel is in the best interest of the people of Gwinnett. I will not be your master but I will expect you to take on your individual responsibility as a citizen of Gwinnett. I will be your servant but I will not let you request the power of government to abuse another.

If you agree with what I have to offer you and you are ready for that responsibility I ask you to Vote for Will Costa. If you disagree then I ask you to think of what you really expect from government and what you are willing to give up for that government there are 3 other candidates and you can also stay home.

Thank you
Will Costa

 

I appreciate the chance to share my message with Gwinnett voters one more time.  As I have said consistently throughout the campaign, I am running for Commission Chairman because Gwinnett is my home, and I care deeply about its future.  I have lived here all my life and spent much of my career helping to build a great community that has a bright future in spite of the challenges it faces.

County government is at a critical point now, though, where experienced leadership is desperately needed to step into the vacant Chairman’s position and guide the County through a series of major issues and tough decisions.  I believe that I can provide the steady strength that is needed to work with the District Commissioners and the other County officials in tackling the challenges which are waiting for the new Chairman.

Please take a hard look at my background and credentials.  Weigh these against those of the other candidates and think carefully about who is best prepared to serve as Commission Chairman.  Then be sure to vote on March 15th.

To Will Costa and Duane Kissel, it has been a pleasure to be on the campaign trail with both of you.  You have treated me with courtesy and civility—I hope that you feel that I have done the same for you.

To all the wonderful folks who have volunteered with my campaign, I am more grateful than I can describe.  I treasure the friendships that have developed as we worked on the campaign together.

Finally I appreciate so much the response of the Gwinnett citizens as I have met and talked with them over the last three months.  I have listened to their hopes for our County, as well as their dissatisfaction with its current state.  With their help, I am confident that we can make Gwinnett County great again.

In closing, I ask for your vote on March 15th.

-Charlotte

 

The Original and Entire ‘Q&A’ from February 18th is as follows:

The four candidates for the Gwinnett County Commissioner’s Chairman ‘special election’ on March 15th, 2011 (In Alphabetical Order) are:

Will Costa, Larry Gause, Duane Kissel, and Charlotte Nash.

Team Bold Spicy offered all of the remaining four candidates a choice to submit a previously prepared press-release, a chance to answer readers’ questions, or a combination of both.  The following is what was prepared by the candidates. This is unedited, unabridged, and without judgement or bias.  It is not for a real, balanced media outlet editor to endorse a candidate or skew public opinion.  We feel it is our job to introduce you to the candidates and let you connect with them to decide who fits your personal criterion and needs.  Being the exclusive media outlet for the Georgia Commerce Club, Bold Spicy News has an obligation to inform the business community about the candidates.  This election may be one of the most important elections in Gwinnett History.

The next Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for Gwinnett County will be cleaning up years of impropriety, poor judgement, ethical infringements, and a diminishing budgetary tax-base.  We need strong, pro-business, ethical leadership now.  This off-date special election is prime for very low voter turnout, when voter involvement may be more important than ever.

All of the candidates are approachable, friendly, and concerned about Gwinnett County.  We will inform all of the candidates if you use the comment/chat function to ask additional questions or need more clarity. Be respectful and on point or your comments will be deleted. Connect with all of them, vote early, and vote often.

Here is the list of candidates again, ORDERED, in which the answers were received.

1. Gerald Duane Kissel is a Snellville resident and retired Assistant Police Chief of Gwinnett.

2. William Costa is a Lilburn resident and a Libertarian Local Business Owner.

3. Charlotte Nash is a Dacula resident, Republican and the former Gwinnett County Administrator.

4. Larry Gause is a Tucker resident and a Retired Naval Officer

1. Gerald Duane Kissel

www.kisselforchairman.com

“Not a Politician, A Proven Public Servant”

duane.kissel@gmail.com

duane_kiss@yahoo.com

BACKGROUND:

I grew up in Eau Gallie, Florida where I was active in the Boy Scouts of America, and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. I graduated from Eau Gallie High School, in 1972. After graduation I moved to Norcross, Georgia and went to work for Rich’s Inc. in 1973. Shortly thereafter I was assigned to the Security Division as a Private Investigator in the Perimeter Mall Store. During this time I also attended DeKalb College and graduated with an Associates Degree in Business Administration in 1976. In May of 1977, I joined the Gwinnett County Police Department as a patrol officer where I worked in all areas of the department to include Fatality Accident Investigation, Crime Scene Investigation, Violent Crimes Investigation Commander, Public Information Officer, 911 Center Commander, Fiscal Manager for Police, Fire, EMS, and Dept. of Corrections. I also served as a Uniform Precinct Commander and was in charge of the 1996 Olympic Police services at the Gwinnett Tennis Venue. I was promoted regularly through the ranks to the level of Assistant Chief of Police. During this time period I also returned to college and received a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice from Mercer University (Cum Laude), and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Columbus State University. I retired with 30 years of credited service in Dec 2006.

I am married to my wonderful wife Beth and have 2 step children Clay 15, and Allison 11. I also have 3 grown children Adam – School Teacher Jackson County Ga, Dana – House Wife, Columbus Ga, and Jared – School Teacher Muskogee County Ga.

(Candidate’s Choice)

1. What prompted you to run for the Board of Commissioners Chair position?

Several issues brought me to the decision to run for Commission Chairman. The first, like many other home owners and tax payers in Gwinnett County I have become extremely concerned as to how those tax dollars are being utilized. Second, recent event that led to the chairman’s resignation and the indictment of another board member is an embarrassment to all who live here. It is time to bring honesty and integrity to our local government. As a retired veteran of the Gwinnett County Police Department I believe I can fill that order.

2. What do you think are the most pressing issues that the BOC must address?

It is extremely important for the BOC to balance the counties operating budget. There has been some considerable waste of tax dollars in the past few years. The county needs for the most part to get out of being in business that can and should be handled by private industry. Government is a service oriented operation and the BOC needs to see that Gwinnett gets back to this. County agencies need to be prioritized in order of importance to the needs of the citizens, and then funded accordingly.
Property Value Depreciation due to the extremely large number of foreclosures that have occurred. Gwinnett is leading the way in an area that you do not want to be known as a leader in. Every effort needs to be made to stabilize property values.
Gwinnett also needs to look for other methods of funding to shore up the lack of property tax revenue. The residential property owner is continually asked to carry the full weight of Government spending on their shoulders. This works fine when the economy is strong, but as we have seen in the last several years, this method is not very friendly in a sluggish economy.

3. The proposal to privatize Briscoe Airport has proponents on both sides of the issue. What do you see as the benefits and disadvantages? Overall, are you in favor of privatization or against it?

I am in favor of the privatization of Briscoe Field, in fact I believe that private industry could do a better job and save the county money. With this said, the privatization can only occur with the understanding that this airport is what it is. Attempting to expand Briscoe Field now for larger commercial flights is approximately 15 – 20 years too late. This area is currently developed with too many homes, schools, a hospital, and other public facilities for the airport to be expanded now.

4. There have been a number of proposals for easing traffic problems in the Atlanta area. What is your opinion regarding the best approach to reducing congestion in Gwinnett County?

There is no immediate solution for the traffic congestion in Gwinnett County. There are now over 800,000 citizens residing here and everyone wants to go somewhere. The county started a Public Bus transit system several years ago. I often see these buses running virtually empty and still not serving the entire 437 sq miles of the county. Citizens can not be forced to utilized this system. Many citizens have no access to our existing public transportation as it is currently operated. Although Public transportation is sorely needed county wide, now is not the time to expend this system with the current economic climate.

5. Charles Bannister was chairman of the Georgia Bioscience Joint Development Authority that is charged with studying and formulating plans to develop the 316 corridor. What is your
opinion of the Authority and what type of relationship do you hope to develop with the
current members?

The GBJDA is a group that was established by resolution and made up of a 12 member board. This board has 3 members each from Athens-Clarke, Barrow, Gwinnett, and Oconee Counties. The Chairman of each Counties Board of Commissioners shall serve as a member and each county shall appoint two other members of their choice. The sole purpose is to help provide guidance in developing the 316 Corridor. I believe a developmental plan is certainly necessary, and I would do everything I could to foster this effort.

6. Do you think the BOC can do anything to measurably improve real estate values in the
county?

Property values are driven by property sales. Unfortunately Gwinnett is leading the way in foreclosures which is driving property values down. I think the first key is to stabilize property values before any attempt is made to improve them. Efforts need to be made to increase residential property sales and eliminate foreclosures. This is not really a function of Local Government however, I think the BOC can return Gwinnett to its greatness and encourage additional home sales county wide.

7. Given current economic conditions, county revenues aren’t likely to increase in the near
future. How do you see the budget playing out in light of restricted revenue?

A balanced budget is a fairly straight forward process. You can’t spend more than you make. Government is a service oriented entity. Services need to be prioritized in order of importance and necessity. The wants of the government have to come far behind the needs of the people it serves. Unfortunately, for many years the County Government got used to purchasing and providing nothing but the best. This practice was okay when the money was flowing steady into the coffers. Today, we find that they still want to purchase only the best however, funding has drastically declined. They don’t need to buy the best desk available when an ordinary desk will do the same job.

8. You have never been involved in county government before. How do you plan to get up to
speed so you can be effective in a minimum amount of time?

While I have never served as an elected official, I spent approximately 30 years working for the Gwinnett County Government, before I retired as an Assistant Chief of Police. During my career I served as the Fiscal manager for the Department of Public Safety which included Police, Fire, EMS, Animal Control, and Department of Corrections. In this position I was responsible for the preparation and development of the Budget as well as maintaining accountability of all expenditures for approximately half of the county work force. I am familiar with all of the Commission Districts, some of the sitting Commissioners, and most of the Department Directors. I believe that I am capable of stepping in and taking the reigns with little to no problem at all. I possess an Associates degree in Business Administration from DeKalb College, a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice from Mercer University, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Columbus State University.

(Additional Q&A)

1.) In your opinion, what are the three biggest issues facing Gwinnett County?

I could use some of the cliche answers and say, Crime, Drugs, and Gangs. While these are serious issues they have existed for hundreds of years in the past and will exist hundreds of years in the future. Some would say traffic is a huge issue. This is true and can be solved by the people easier than by the government through voluntary carpooling, mass transit use, and telecommuting. With that said my three issues are as follows.
a.  The biggest issue facing Gwinnett County Government is regaining the trust of the citizens. Recent events have been an extreme embarrassment on our county. I believe that I can help tremendously is this area. I spent my entire life dedicated to doing the right thing, doing it the right way, because it was the right thing to do. As a Police Officer for right at 30 years integrity was the life blood of my profession.
b. Property Value Depreciation due to the extremely large number of foreclosures that have occurred. Gwinnett is leading the way in an area that you do not want to be known as a leader in. Every effort needs to be made to stabilize property values.
c. Gwinnett needs to look for other methods of funding to shore up the lack of property tax revenue. The residential property owner is continually asked to carry the full weight of Government spending on their shoulders. This works fine when the economy is strong, but as we have seen in the last several years, this method is not very friendly in a sluggish economy.

2.) Do you support the privatization of Briscoe Field? Why or why not?

Yes I do. As a general rule I don’t think the Government should ever be in a business where it competes with private industry. But, only with the understanding that this airport is what it is. Attempting to expand Briscoe Field now for Larger Commercial Flights is approximately 15 – 20 years to late. This area is currently developed with too many homes, schools, a hospital, and other public facilities for the airport to be expanded now.

3.) Are you in favor of modifying or repealing the trash plan? Why or why not?

I feel that the current trash plan was implemented in the wrong way. Government officials are elected to represent the citizens. Yet the citizens were never asked for their input in this, or several other recent issues that cost tax payers a considerable amount of money. My opinion as to whether it should be repealed or not is of little importance. A binding contract has been signed and to attempt to dissolve the contract will ultimately result in law suit the county can not afford at this point. However, not knowing all the details, terms, or length of the contract I would certainly say it is worth reviewing when the opportunity arises. At that time, I would recommend the county do what the citizens want for a change.

4.) Gwinnett County’s 2011 budget included subsidy cuts and a 15 percent reduction in library funding. Officials project the tax digest will shrink another nine percent this year and expect further revenue declines on 2012.

a.) Do you support increasing taxes as a way to offset the decline in revenues?

No! As I have already stated other revenue generating vehicles need to be considered and implemented . Currently the same line of thinking continues and has been in place to for too many years. New Blood means new ideas.
b.) How do you propose to balance the budget?

A balanced budget is a fairly straight forward process. You can’t spend more than you make. Government is a Service oriented entity. Services need to be prioritized in order of importance and necessity. The wants of the government have to come far behind the needs of the people it serves.
Unfortunately, for many years the County Government got used to purchasing and providing nothing but the best. This practice was okay when the money was flowing steady into the coffers. Today, we find that they still want to purchase only the best however, funding has drastically declined. They don’t need to buy the best desk available when an ordinary desk will do the same job.

5.) Next year, voters will be asked to approve a one percent Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax which is expected to provide additional funding to counties and municipalities for local transportation projects. Are you in favor of the TSPLOST? What local projects would you like to see funded?

At this time, I am not in favor of a TSPLOST. There are too many other issues in our current economic state that needs to be addressed. Gwinnett County started a Bus transit system several years ago. I often see these buses running virtually empty and still not serving the entire 437 sq miles of the county. Many citizens have no access to our existing public transportation. Although Public transportation is sorely needed county wide, now is not the time to expand any project in this area. Higher priorities exist.

2. William Costa

www.willcosta.org

Facebook

will@willcosta.org

404-867-1138

BACKGROUND:

I am married and my wife and I have one child who attends Gwinnett public school. I graduated from Georgia State University in 1992 with a B.S. in Marketing and from St. Pius X high school (just south of I-285 @ I-85)in 1987. I do value education but find that one’s philosophical outlook is more telling as to how one will govern.

William Costa has learned firsthand the skills needed to manage employees, payrolls, and production schedules. For the past 27 years he has worked in the successful pasta company which his parents started in Marietta, Georgia. As the economic crisis reaches frightening proportions, we need this kind of experienced leadership. William Costa is well prepared for the challenge. With your help, we can make this an historic year for Gwinnett County. William Costa is committed to reclaiming honesty and respectability to the Gwinnett County Chairman’s Office. With a change in direction, Gwinnett is poised to attract many new domestic and international interests, especially when Gwinnett’s extensive logistics infrastructure is emphasized. Costa plans to improve efficiency of service, identify wasteful spending and reduce the operating budget. Costa will streamline the relationship between the county and the individual cities in Gwinnett.

1. How do you intend to balance the county’s budget with declining revenues and increasing demand for services?

We need to cut any and all functions of government that are not a public safety or infrastructure related. We are going to have to hold off on an new capital improvements and new equipment acquisitions (exceptions for public safety needs). The County will also have to start cutting donations to charitable organizations. I would also like to have some conversations with the Judicial department within Gwinnett to see if we can convert some non-violent jail time into low cost public works time. I would also like to see about cutting some of the Federal and State mandates.

2.What is the backup plan for 2012 if Gwinnett no longer can access Lake Lanier as the source of drinking water?

The county needs to restart or start to build a reservoir system and a system to capture runoff water. The reservoir system would be used to hold excess water or a portion of daily allotted water released from Lanier. A more effective system of collecting runoff water could be used as a good will credit to get the right to take more water out of Lanier. Funding for any new water program would have to come from a slight increase in water bills.

3.What can the county do to stimulate the business economy especially among small businesses?

No new taxes and that would include no more SPLOSTS’s , unless we abandon property taxes in favor of sales taxes we can not afford one more penny tax on goods or services. There is a fair amount of empty commercial property and it will take more then property tax deals to stimulate our economy (“free rent” is worthless if a business has no working capital or sales revenue). The BOC needs to be an advocate that will stand up to the Sate and Federal Governments on behalf of business. Some regulation on commerce is needed but we are getting to the point where over regulation is stalling out the economy.

4. How do you plan to bring integrity back to the office?

NO land deals with the county for myself, any other member of the BOC, or our family members or any high level employee of Gwinnett Government. Make all non-security related notes from all meetings available on-line. Full disclosure of all “gifts” to BOC members as well as lower limits on the monetary value of any “gift”. Keep the people informed of the bad news as well as the good news.

5.How would you change the current structure of the commissioners’ offices?

Any change would have to be approved by the GA General Assembly . I would be in favor of adding one more district to bring the total to 5 plus Chairman and then Chair be non-voting or even better make it so that it takes a 2/3 majority to pass anything. Now if the goal is to more even representation for all in Gwinnett it is time to incorporate the unincorporated parts of Gwinnett. The population of Gwinnett has increased to the point were small communities can fund and support their own parks and quality of life extras. The existing cities in Gwinnett, when they build new parks, do not need nor take open input from Gwinnett citizens who live at the other end of the county. So why should a community in south Gwinnett need approval form a community in north Gwinnett?
One final comment!
The BOC will have more issues to deal with and many of the old ways of “solving” the problem never worked in the first place. Throwing money at a problem is more of stall tactic then a solution and years of throwing around dollars is finally catching up to us.

3. Charlotte Nash

www.charlottenash.com

Facebook

charlotte@charlottenash.com

678.948.8125

BACKGROUND:

I am a native of Gwinnett County and have lived my entire life in the Dacula/Harbins community. I graduated from Dacula High School, as Valedictorian. I was also named Gwinnett County Star Student and a National Merit Finalist. I earned a BBA degree, magna cum laude, in Accounting from the University of Georgia. Michael, my husband of 38 years, and I have two grown children and two granddaughters. During our marriage, we have been members of Ebenezer Baptist Church and Hebron Baptist Church.

I have been active in civic, business, and service organizations in Gwinnett. I have also served on the Gwinnett Recreation Authority and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority/Governor’s Development Council.

I ended a 27-year career with Gwinnett County in 2004. My service with Gwinnett County began as an Accountant in 1977. From there, I worked my way up to Budget Manager, Finance Director/Chief Financial Officer and, finally, County Administrator. Over the course of my career with Gwinnett County, I managed 24 annual budgets and implemented capital budgeting and long-term financial planning processes. I led the successful effort to obtain the coveted AAA/Aaa ratings from the three major bond rating agencies.

After retiring from Gwinnett County, I built a successful small business that provides consulting services to local government clients across Georgia. My career experience, community service, and involvement at the regional and state levels make me uniquely qualified to serve as Gwinnett Commission Chairman.

Responses to Questions:

1. How do you intend to balance the county’s budget with declining revenues and increasing demand for services?

Not only will County revenues not increase in the near future, but we can expect them to continue to decline even if the economy begins to recover soon. Local government revenues, particularly property taxes, lag considerably behind the economy. This means that the County’s budget situation will continue to be very difficult for the next few years. Holding the line on taxes will require further spending reductions, identification of true priorities and greater usage of fees where appropriate.
To deal with the 2011 General Fund deficit, we have little time to act. We should first identify and cut any purchases, projects, services and other spending that are not absolutely essential right now. These include what can be deferred to the future without severely jeopardizing operations and services. For example, many families have put off buying new vehicles; why should the County not make do with its current ones? We will also likely have to continue shifting funding to mandated and essential functions from other areas. Every effort should be made to reduce the impact of spending cuts on services but some effects are likely inevitable. It is the Commissioners’ responsibility to minimize these as much as possible and to explain them to those impacted.
Once the current year’s deficit has been erased, then the focus can shift to longer term approaches such as adjusting County services and spending to reflect the community’s true priorities. I visualize having honest discussion with the public about what services they expect from County government and the cost of providing these. We need to have good, fact-based data to share publicly as part of this process.

2. What is the backup plan for 2012 if Gwinnett no longer can access Lake Lanier as the source of drinking water?

First, I have never heard the County officially describe the backup plan for 2012 if we can no longer draw our water, which is a concern in itself. What I can say from my own knowledge and research on this issue is that there appears to be no viable alternative to Lake Lanier that can be implemented by July 2012 when the three year suspension of Judge Magnuson’s order expires. This means that the County’s access to Lake Lanier for its water supply depends upon successful appeal of the Judge’s decision, acceptable conclusion of negotiations among the three states and/or congressional action to add water supply as an authorized usage of the Lake.

To gain the strongest possible position for action by the Court, Gwinnett and the rest of the Atlanta region must demonstrate good faith efforts and documented progress in conserving water and planning for long-term limits on water taken from the Chattahoochee basin.

3. What can the county do to stimulate the business economy especially among small businesses?

Perhaps the most important action that the County can take to stimulate the economy is to remove as many barriers to legitimate business activity as possible and to play the supporting role that is its proper place. I understand that businesses create jobs, but County government has a critical role in ensuring a good business environment by providing adequate infrastructure, maintaining a safe community and managing its finances responsibly in order to control the tax burden it creates.

To assure that the County does not stifle business activity, I think that all County ordinances and regulations should be reviewed. The objectives of the review should include assessing their impact on businesses, determining if they are unnecessarily burdensome and evaluating their necessity in the current environment.

One other idea aimed directly at small businesses would be the establishment of a training program to teach small businesses how to compete for local government contracts. This could be designed as a joint program with the cities, chambers, business associations and so forth.

Finally, I am interested in hearing the ideas from businesses about how best to generate additional business activity. To seek advice from the business community, I am considering the formation of a Business Advisory Council to provide input on this issue if I am elected.

4. How do you plan to bring integrity back to the office?

I can say that I will be honest and behave in an ethical manner, but the real way to bring integrity back to the Office of Chairman will be through my actions. I recognize that being elected signifies that voters have placed their trust with the public official, but the public trust must be constantly earned through behavior and communication.

As a start toward earning the public trust and restoring integrity, I propose tougher ethics requirements, overhaul of the land acquisition process and open communication with the public on an ongoing basis. Some specific actions to strengthen the County’s Ethics Ordinance which could be considered include:

• Further definition and clarification of conflict of interest situations.

• Registration process for individuals who lobby the Board of Commissioners on behalf of organizations and clients or who otherwise represent clients or organizations in dealings with the Board of Commissioners.

• Reporting by lobbyists of funds spent on Commissioners and County staff for meals, gifts, entertainment and so forth.

• Hearing process and standing officer or panel.

5. How would you change the current structure of the commissioners’ offices?
-More levels of oversight, fewer commissioners that are full-time and well-paid, or something else?

The power to change the structure of the County Commission is reserved to the State Legislature. Since the current structure is set by the enabling legislation for the County, which was enacted by the Legislature, any change would require revision through the same process. The County’s legislative delegation would develop a local bill and introduce it for approval by the entire Legislature if they determine there is a need to change the current structure of the Commission.

If you study local government, you will find varied governing structures in use across Georgia and the nation. You will also find examples of each structure where the government functions well and other examples where it is dysfunctional. Obviously, the individuals who are members of the Commission affect how the body functions as much as, and probably more than, the structure itself.

Rather than focus here on a specific structure, I think that it is more important to discuss some issues and cautions about certain approaches. First, bigger is not necessarily better. A review of the larger governing bodies, those with nine or more members, reveals that decision making is more difficult and is usually burdened with a committee system, one more layer of bureaucracy. Thus, I would suggest caution about making the restructured Commission too large.

Second, election of the Chairman by the members of the Commission rather than by the voters directly creates some disadvantages. A Chairman elected countywide should provide a counterbalance to the tendency of district commissioners to concentrate on their own districts. If the Chairman is elected by only the voters in one district, then the ability of the Chairman to focus on issues from a countywide basis may be diminished. Additionally, rotation of the Chairman’s position among Board members, as is common when the position is filled though Commission vote, puts the County at a disadvantage at the regional and State level. Being effective at those levels is more likely when there is continuity in the individual who serves as the County’s representative at the Atlanta Regional Commission and with State officials.

Third, I believe there is value in having commissioners who operate in the real world. Having full-time commissioners tends to insulate the members of the governing body from the realities of the business world and the issues faced by their constituents.

4. Larry Gause

www.larrygause.com

Facebook

lgause@theprestonpartnership.com

770.833.2565

Note:  Please report any corrections, updates, or incorrect information on this piece to editor@boldspicynews.com .  Any unanswered questions will be added upon candidate’s request but will be marked as a dated change of post to be fair to all of the candidates and protect their views from poaching or twisting.

-Team Bold Spicy says VOTE!

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