Elections board interviews 3 candidates (Nov. 8, 2011)
Judge orders elections board to decide on third member (Nov. 4, 2011)
Board of Election chooses third member (Sept. 28, 2010)
Citing the Democratic member as “obstructionist” and the Republican member as “hardheaded,” Rockdale County Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation dismissed both election board members after a four-hour hearing on Friday for failing to do their duty.
The two board members had failed to come to an agreement on appointing the third member earlier in the week after two days of candidate interviews, despite a court mandate to do so.
Nation said, “I think this case today is a good example of what's happening all over this country. We've become so partisan, we've become so distrustful, we've become so separated that we forget we're all Rockdale County. We're not just Republicans and Democrats… I hope the people who are on this board remember their job is to run good, fair elections. It's not be a champion of the party that appointed them.
“They've been entrusted to protect something that thousands have died for - and that's the right to vote and participate. When you obstruct that, when you're so hardheaded in your position that you can't trust but one person, I don't think that's appropriate.”
“Ms. Brown has made it clear she will accept no person other than Mr. (Cary) Bond. She took that position even though in the same breath as she admitted there were other good qualified people to serve on the board. But she didn't want to do that.”
Nation said Haynes could have settled the question of third member Cary Bond’s legality by going straight to the courts. “What did he do instead? He's chosen to be an obstructionist. He's cast doubt on the board to act. He's cast doubt on the third board member to participate. He's chosen not to attend board meetings. You've got to ask yourself why. I can't put myself in his mind. It could have been his objective was to delay a vote.” Nation speculated that Haynes was waiting until January for Democratic legislators to change the laws.
Nation also ruled that interim third member Cary Bond, whose term had expired in July, had been lawfully appointed and was legally a member of the board.
He also added that both Brown and Haynes were banned from being appointed to the board again until after the next appointment.
Elections Supervisor Cynthia Welch said the Ga. Secretary of State’s office was notified of the proceedings and is ready to process any new members as soon as they are selected by the local parties. As long as the new members are chosen by early next week, the board may be able to call for the special election for the Sunday alcohol sales referendum on the March 6 ballot.
After two days of discussion and interviews, Republican Lynn Brown and Democrat Garvin Haynes found themselves back at the same stalemate at the end of Wednesday – Brown insisted Cary Bond was her only choice for the third member and Haynes insisted Bond was an unacceptable choice and said Russell Moore was his choice.
Candidates that were interviewed included resident John Bickford, businessman Mike Hutton, and attorney Russel Moore, IV, and last minute candidate Tom Fox, the public safety director for Social Circle, former Porterdale city manager, and current Rockdale Water and Sewer Authority member. Interim third member Cary Bond was also a candidate but was excused from the interview process since both board members felt they knew him well enough.
(Nov. 11, 4:49 p.m.) IN BRIEF: Judge Sidney Nation dismissed both Democratic and Republican election board members after they failed failed to appoint a third member earlier this week, as ordered to by the court, and after a four-hour hearing on Friday.
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