Tempers flare over county policy and procedure protocol

The seemingly mundane task of selecting protocol for approving new and updated county policies and procedures again sparked passions at Thursday’s Fayette County Board of Commissioners meeting.
The final item on the night’s agenda was consideration of staff’s request to change protocol for creating and amending county policy and procedure, tabled from a September meeting. Among possible options mentioned would be staff handling the work before adding any changes to the next meeting’s agenda to keep citizens in the loop.
Commission Chairman Charles Oddo said he felt no need to change a system that has been working very well, saying, “We don’t need to be micromanaging.”
Commissioner Steve Brown disagreed, proposing that all new and amended policies and procedures needed to be put up for an official vote. Brown read a prepared statement accusing County Administrator Steve Rapson of trying retain the ability to alter policy, saying he was “shocked” when he saw the new version of the agenda item.
“This looks like a ‘bait-and-switch’ deal where the title of the agenda item remained the same, but the action of changing the protocol was hijacked,” said Brown. He also noted that the county’s auditors recommended the board be in charge of review and approval.
“There is absolutely no harm in us voting on any policy and procedure change,” he added.
Commissioner Randy Ognio agreed that it was best for the board to be in charge of final approval. “I think now is the time for us to take back over this duty,” said Ognio.
Commissioner David Barlow was incensed by Brown’s comments, lashing back in support of Rapson.
“The problem I’m having is the cloud of suspicion that they’re putting on Steve Rapson. There’s not a single person that has the ability to run this county like Mr. Rapson does. If anything, we ought to be applauding him. As far as I’m concerned, no one up here comes close to toting his briefcase,” said Barlow, saying Brown is stirring up unnecessary animosity. “He is now creating controversy where there was no controversy when he was the chairman. It is too bad that I have sat up here silent and listened to this diatribe and trying to create some type of conflict and controversy on our county and our county administrator. I, for one, take offense to that, and I will defend Mr. Rapson until he gives me reason not to.”
Brown’s motion to have all new and amended county policies and procedures go before the Board for official vote passed 3-2, Brown, Ognio, and Rousseau voting in favor.

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Christopher Dunn has been the sports editor for Fayette Newspapers since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Game Day magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.


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