McDONOUGH — District I Commissioner Warren Holder said meeting behind closed doors may be a thing of the past if incoming board members have their way.
The Henry County Commission unanimously backed a resolution Monday to record minutes from executive sessions. Although Holder supported the measure, he said there may be no need for it.
“This could be moot because based on the new leadership there are not going to be any back-door meetings or back-room meetings and there won’t be a need for executive session,” he said.
The resolution is largely based on a model document from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, said County Attorney LaTonya Wiley.
“In 2012, as you’re well aware, the General Assembly enacted broad, sweeping changes to the Open Records Act and Open Meetings Law,” Wiley told the commission. “In one of those changes, the General Assembly increased the scope of discussion items that can be discussed in executive session and also required minutes to be taken in every executive session. Those minutes, however, will not be public record.”
Wiley said minutes from executive session are designed to record what is discussed in the event of litigation. Although the law allows commissioners to go into executive session to discuss litigation, real estate and personnel matters, it does not prohibit those items from being discussed in public session, she said.
The board also approved a budget amendment of $1.26 million for a transportation project on Fairview Road in northern Henry County. The project is being overseen by Henry’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program.
SPLOST Transportation Project Director Roque Romero said the Georgia Department of Transportation has pledged to put money toward a roundabout as part of the project. Holder, however, said GDOT has not designated funds for similar projects on the southern end of the county.
“It bothers me that GDOT thinks there aren’t any projects that qualify south of McDonough,” the outgoing commissioner said. “It may be me. If it is, they won’t have to deal with me long.”
A representative for GDOT could not be reached for comment.
Commission Chairman Elizabeth “B.J.” Mathis spoke briefly about the issue, saying state officials need to re-evaluate their priorities with regard to transportation.
In other action, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the following items:
• Installing speed humps in the Creekside Estates subdivision in McDonough;
• Declaring certain county vehicles as “junked,” authorizing transfer of those vehicles to the fire department for use in training exercises;
• Awarding a one-year contract to D&B Janitorial Service in Fairburn to provide janitorial services in county buildings;
• Repealing an ordinance related to the registration of cell tower antennas and billboards, and terminating an agreement with Georgia Tax and Regulatory Solutions for oversight of those devices, which was deemed unnecessary as a result of the repeal
• Adopting a health and wellness policy for county employees;
• Appointing Jim Risher to represent District III on the Zoning Advisory Board; and
• Appointing John Bozeman to represent District II on the Henry County Development Authority.
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