Appointment's to IBA 'skipped'
In a scene that conjured nervous laughs, the Paulding Board of Commissioners efforts to move along in the agenda literally ground to a halt as no motion - even motions to table the appointments of Matt Buzzelli and Alan Shipp to the Industrial Building Authority - seemed able to pass, or in many cases, even gain a second.
The scenario of motions that either died for lack of a second, or were seconded only to fail to gain a majority was replayed like a broken record to the amusement of the gallery - so much so that Pat Tibbits, clerk of the Commission warned the crowd that the incident was not funny. Still motions were offered and rejected for denying the appointments, tabling the appointments, approving the appointments with no majority for going on fifteen minutes.
The scene was based on the commissions annual housekeeping task of making appointments - most are re-appointments - to the various county boards, commissions and authorities.
While the vast majority of the appointments were passed along as the housekeeping task it normally is, three re-appointments were targeted for controversy - those to the IBA (above) and the reappointment of Kerry Tidmore to the Airport Authority.
The contentiousness surrounding the appointments was expected as the three anti-airport post commissioners elected in last May's Republican primary have made it a point to thwart, punish, convince to resign, or threaten to remove from office any they feel they can reach that they feel had anything to do with the decision to pursue a commercial airport license. That included virtually everyone with a seat on the Industrial Building Authority and Airport Authority.
The bombshell dropped by Commission Chairman David Austin, prior to the afternoon meeting, was a legal opinion rendered by Marietta attorney and former Governor Roy Barnes, who wrote a letter suggesting that appointments to the IBA and Airport Authority were in the exclusive domain of the Commission Chairman. The legal opinion letter went on to say that the confirmation votes by the post commissioners sitting as the BOC were at best, a courtesy conveyed by the Chairman. Part of the basis for that is there was no legislative change associated with the appointment power of the county's CEO - the Chairman - for these posts in county government from the time Paulding had a single Commissioner/ordinary and that elected Ordinary had that exclusive power.
Post III Commissioner Vernon Collette objected and disputed that opinion but apparently was more inclined to support Mr. Buzelli for re-appointment to the post.
His support for Mr. Buzelli conflicted with the desire of Post II Commissioner Todd Pownall, who had up until today, appeared to be the leader of the three insurgent commissioners and, because of the majority vote he seemed to control, the tacit chairman. Indeed, it is widely anticipated that Mr. Pownall will challenge former Post I Commissioner David Carmichael for the chairman's position in next May's primary election. Mr. Carmichael has already announced for that position and resigned earlier in November in order to save the county money by scheduling his replacement's election to coincide with the Super-Tuesday Presidential Preference Primary in Georgia this spring.
The matter was finally resolved when Mr. Pownall, who had been insisting on the formal rejection of all appointments gave in and allowed the matter to be tabled until January after it was agreed that the county attorney would gather other legal opinions from the ACCG and/or other attorney's. The belief is those opinions would state the appointment power of the Chairman was not as great as he asserted and that the post commissioners' approval of the Chairman's appointments to the IBA and Airport Authority are more than a courtesy.
Chairman Austin asserted that the current members will continue to serve at his pleasure beyond their stated terms and may, depending on the results of the opinions and/or yet another court case, have their appointments renewed on the Chairman's authority.
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