The Newton County Board of Commissioners narrowly approved this week a motion to restore the county chair with the full powers invested in the position by the charter, effective January 1, 2017, and to set up another citizens committee to review and update the language of the charter.
“It’s important to clarify to the citizens that the role of the Chairman is the same today as it was when the last election was held and when all of us arrived in office,” said Maddox, who made the motion. “Although tonight should bring closure and a final decision to this matter, the mechanics of implementing these options still need work and a review by a small citizens’ committee under a specific timeline.”
The citizen committee is to report to the board no later than August 1, 2015, so that the board can deliver the changes to the state legislature. Any changes to a county charter must be approved by the General Assembly.
Local resident Wesley Dowdy confirmed that he was selected by Commissioner John Douglas to serve on the committee.
The full panel has not been announced yet.
In 2011, three commissioners voted to strip then-chair Kathy Morgan of most of her powers and invest them in the newly-created position of county manager. Since then, elected officials and citizens alike have expressed frustration with the new system, and called for a restoration of the original form of government headed.