The future of Newton County's government will be discussed at a work session at 7 p.m., Monday at the Historic Courthouse when county commissioners discuss whether to switch to a full-time county manager system.
Currently, the elected chairman is the full-time chief administrative officer of the county. According to the county's charter, the chairman's acts shall be binding unless three commissioners object within 30 days of the act.
The chairman has the power to hire and fire all employees of the road and bridge department, also known as the public works department. The chairman also has the power to hire and fire other employees - except those hired by other elected officers or on the board of tax appraisers - with the approval of the majority of the board of commissioners.
According to the job description for county administrative officer, the position currently held by John Middleton, the administrative officer reports to the chairman and assists the chairman and board of commissioners with the management and operation of the county.
In addition, the administrative officer works with the finance director to create an annual budget and reviews department budgets; analyses the finances and management of county operations as requested; conducts intracounty meetings and facilities communication; monitors pending legislation; assists in strategic and long-term planning; and manages operations and staff in the departments under the board of commissioners.
On a practical level, the only difference between a county administrator and a county manager is that a manager generally has the ability to directly hire and fire department heads without the board's approval, Dave Wills a local government expert for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, said previously.
Hiring a county manager could take the hiring power away from the chairman and move to a county manager who would be appointed by the board. The bigger change would depend on whether the board wanted to further strip the chairman's power and make the position part-time as opposed to a full-time position.
The board is expected to discuss these options Monday. While the public is invited, public comments are generally not allowed during work session.
For an in-depth study on the subject, go to covnews.com, search for the July 24th article "City, county leadership to change" and open the attached PDF.