The Form of Government committee agreed to forego recommending an independent comptroller in favor of supportive language advocating for increased training and resources for the finance department.
“We’re not in the business to criticize operations, we’re in the business to be helpful,” said committee chair Ronnie Cowan during the committee meeting Monday.
Buddy Morgan, who had suggested the comptroller, said the new recommendations were sufficient .
The latest iteration of the draft report recommends the county “promote public confidence” by “strengthen[ing] its financial team with proper staffing, policy updating and training funds in order to establish better methods for monitoring the county’s financial assets.”
It also recommended revising financial policies to be consistent with best practices established by the Georgia Financial Officers Association (GFOA), Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
The committee will also ask the county to provide funds to allow its financial employees to receive advanced training through the GFOA certification program with a timetable for beginning that process.
The committee agreed that the report should recommend the county continue publishing the financial reports regularly on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis.
Committee Chair Ronnie Cowan said he had also received clarification from the county attorney and several commissioners regarding the committee’s mandate, adding that the board was seeking recommendations which would be used to update the enabling legislation.
The committee also discussed granting the county chair the power to “ratify” the hiring of the county manager, and whether that amounted to a backdoor veto if he failed to ratify the hire.
The committee will have at least one more meeting to finalize the report before presenting it to the Board of Commissioners in time for the enabling legislation to be amended in the Georgia General Assembly.