Proposal would let voters pick chairman ; Glynn commission will hold public meeting Thursday on issue [Florida Times Union]
(Florida Times Union Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BRUNSWICK | Glynn County residents don't want to pay for a full- time County Commission chairman, but they still might get the chance to elect the chairman rather than have the other commissioners fill the post.
At the urging of Chairwoman Mary Hunt, the commission is going through a process that could change the way the county is governed. For decades, the commission chairman has been elected to a one-year term by the commission. Under Hunt's proposal, the county's voters would elect a chairman to serve a four-year term.
"I think it's important for residents to have that voice," Hunt said. "I really feel strongly about that."
Hunt's original proposal included making the chairman's job full- time with a salary of $100,000 to $120,000 commensurate with the responsibilities of the position. But the commission has made a point of stressing frugality and has cut positions while reducing its budget, and the notion of adding a high-salaried job didn't sit well with the general public, Hunt said.
"I took that part out," she said. "I think it's the next progression for Glynn County, but I don't think the county is quite ready for that. And that's fine."
The commission will hold the second of two public hearings on the proposal Thursday during a 6 p.m. meeting at the Glynn County Historic Courthouse so citizens can have their voices heard. If it's like the first one was last week, there won't be much to hear.
Only two citizens spoke, one for and one against the proposal.
Janice Britton, controller for Stambaugh Aviation, read from a written statement in favor of the proposal. She said that "unity of command" and continuity were needed in the chairman's post to promote economic growth. "To achieve further growth, I feel this warrants the chairman of the Glynn County Commission be a four-year position," she said.
Britton, who wore a Stambaugh T-shirt to the meeting, said she wasn't representing Stambaugh but was expressing her own views. The commission sided with Stambaugh during its feud with the Glynn County Airport Commission that led to the forced resignation of Airports Executive Director Steve Brian back in May. Stambaugh was joined, however, by other tenants at the county's two airports while some backed Brian.
Jeff Kilgore, an accountant who closely follows local government, told the commission the move to an elected chairman would be a mistake.
Kilgore said the job Britton talked about was already filled. "In my opinion, she has described the job and role of the county administrator," he said.
Hunt said the commission will vote on a resolution supporting the change after the public hearing Thursday. If it passes, the local delegation to the General Assembly will take the measure to Atlanta and, if it passes up there, it will come back to Glynn County where it will be placed on the local ballot as a referendum question.
Kilgore said he's worried that if voters approve the change, the commission will find a way to bypass the limits and make the job full-time with a big paycheck included.
"But I don't think the delegation will approve this, and if they did I don't think the voters would pass it," he said.
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