The Board of Commissioners appointed Roselyn Miller as the finance director in a 2-to-1 vote amid heated public comments and criticism about her qualifications and lack of a four-year degree.
The main questions centered on which job description applied – one version required a bachelor’s degree and another version accepted an "equivalent combination of education, training and experience" – since there were multiple versions found. Miller has an associate’s degree and said she is working towards her bachelor’s degree at Georgia State University.
Commissioner JaNice Van Ness pointed out that the online job posting and previously approved descriptions required a minimum of a bachelor’s.
"I feel like I’ve been put in a really hard position right now," said Van Ness, at the Monday evening work session, which saw overflow crowds. "I value Roselyn tremendously. She’s been very helpful in many occasions getting information… I think there’s some confusion on what is the true approved job description for that position and if she is really qualified."
She pointed out that the county's fiscal officer, purchasing officer, finance manger, financial recording officer had a minimum of a bachelor's with five to seven years of experience. "We're asking them all to report to someone that has a two-year degree?" she said.
However, another version that was listed as "Revised by HR" and dated May 21, 2009, shortly before Human Resources head Arthur Reese resigned, had an additional qualification, "Or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience."
To address the matter, the board took the unusual step of calling an executive session in the middle of their Tuesday meeting to discuss "personnel matters." When they came back, the board proposed and passed in a 2-to-1 vote an amended job description that included the "equivalent combination of education, training and experience."
Van Ness voted against the measure, stating for the record that she was opposed to it and had only just seen the proposed amendment.
Hiring Miller was aimed at sending a message to county employees that hard work and dedication would be rewarded, said Commission Chairman Richard Oden, who, along with Commissioner Oz Nesbitt, gave glowing statements of support for Miller.
"I truly appreciate what you’ve been able to do with your team under extreme pressure," said Oden at the work session. "In years past, you stayed in there and supported your supervisor. You really have stepped up to the plate in every way… I think you deserve the opportunity to the appointment."
Nesbitt said, "I don’t minimize the importance of education and making sure you bring in the right people. But I also think that when you do have personnel on board who served this county 10, 15, 25 years, who’ve proven themselves, and they have an opportunity to advance and grow, we should look within."
Prior to the Monday evening work session, about 18 residents walked outside the meeting room to protest Miller’s appointment. More residents spoke for and against Miller’s appointment during the public comments section.