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This week's Herald

This week's Herald

This week's Herald


Gause's book to be available Veteran's Day
After months of anticipation, a book on the World War II adventure of Jefferson's Major Damon "Rocky" Gause is set to hit the bookstores. The book will first be available on Veteran's Day, Thursday, Nov. 11.

Click HERE to see Jackson County ballot.


Two big votes set Tues.
County board of commissioners change on tap
A rare opportunity will be on tap next Tuesday as Jackson County voters decide the future of their county's government. A complete overhaul in the county's government structure is on the ballot with a proposal to change from a three-member board of commissioners with a full-time elected chairman to a five-member, all part-time BOC with a hired county manager.
The county government vote will appear on the ballot in two parts: The first part will be a simple "YES" or "NO" question on whether to change the county government to a five-member board. The second part will have two options for electing representatives from four districts (the chairman is elected countywide in both options): Option One would mandate that representatives live in a particular district, but be voted on countywide. Option Two would mandate that representatives live in a particular district and be voted on only by citizens living in that district.
The referendum comes after Rep. Scott Tolbert introduced legislation during the General Assembly for the government change. Sen. Eddie Madden amended the bill to include the option on representation and made some other wording changes.
Created in 1901, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners has been amended numerous times over the years, but no comprehensive change has been proposed until this year. Several of the existing laws governing the BOC are in conflict with each other and the issue of how the current three commissioners share power is left unanswered.
Changing to a five-member board has long been discussed in Jackson County, but the political dynamics never took previous efforts very far. The Tolbert-Madden legislation is the first time the issue has come before voters in the form of a referendum.
Supporters of the bill believe it would fix several problems: First, it would take the day-to-day management of county government out of the hands of an elected chairman and put it in the hands of a professional county manager. The bill created a strong county manager government which outlines the specific duties of the manager and the board. Critics of the existing county government system say it is impossible to find candidates that have the qualifications to be a full-time CEO of county government.
Supporters also say the bill would make the BOC more representative by the addition of two more members and by mandating the creation of four districts. But opinions vary on how representatives of those districts should be elected. Some believe that since the county government is broad and sets tax rates, every member should answer to all voters, hence Option One. But others believe that people running in a district should be voted on only by those living in the district and point to the county board of education and other government bodies that work on the same principal as outlined in Option Two.
The only organized effort on the bill has come from the Jackson County Republican Party, which has endorsed the change in government and the Option Two proposal.

County Government Referendum:
What It Does
· Creates a five-member board of commissioners - four elected from districts with the chairman elected countywide. All board members are part-time. District members must be 21 years old, the chairman 25 years old. District members shall be paid $10,000 per year, the chairman $15,000 per year. All must have lived in Jackson County 12 months.
· The chairman can't vote unless there is a tie or unless his vote is needed to make a quorum. A vice chairman is elected by the board to serve when the chairman is absent.
· Says that the board must meet at least once per month.
· All purchases over $1,000 have to be bid by the BOC.
· Mandates that the board hire a county manager. The person hired must have a degree in public administration or five years experience as a city or county manager. The manager's salary is set by the BOC and he serves at the pleasure of the board. The county manager cannot also hold any elective office.
· The county manager's powers are to administer the affairs of the county; to hire and fire all department heads and staff employees except the county attorney, county auditor and those serving on various county-appointed boards; to develop the county budget recommendations; and to oversee all other day-to-day operations of the county government.
· The four district board members would either be elected countywide, or only in their individual districts depending on the outcome of the balloting. Option One provides for a countywide vote while Option Two provides for a district vote only.

Five city races on tap for Tuesday
Three incumbent council members and one board of education member will face opposition in the Nov. 2 election. Races are set for the Hoschton and Jefferson city councils and the Commerce Board of Education. In Jefferson, voters will also cast their ballot on the sale of liquor by the drink, a move seen by some as the way to bring more upscale restaurants to the city.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
In Hoschton, Post 4 incumbent David Healan and Post 6 incumbent Glenn Evans are both facing challengers. Rosemary Bagwell is running against Healan for the Post 4 seat and Gennoria Ree Bridgeman is pitted against Evans for the Post 6 seat. In Post 5, incumbent Ronald Holcomb is not seeking re-election. Those vying for that seat are Paul Turman and Sandy Fee Romer.
Post 4-David Healan and Rosemary Bagwell
Post 5-Paul Turman and Sandie Fee Romer
Post 6-Glenn Evans and Genoria Ree Bridgeman.
In Jefferson, incumbent Jack Seabolt will face Jim Joiner for the Post 5 council seat. Incumbent Steve Kinney was the only one to qualify for Post 1 and incumbent C.D. Kidd III was the only one to qualify for the Post 5 seat.
Post 1-Steve Kinney
Post 3-C.D. Kidd III
Post 5-Jack Seabolt and Jim Joiner
Jefferson voters will be also be asked to approve a referendum on the sale of liquor by the drink. This issue failed by only 10 votes in July 1998.
As for the Commerce BOE, incumbent Lanny Pope will face challenger Kimberly Kamp. The incumbents were the only ones to qualify for the other two seats up for re-election. They include: Bill Davis, District 3, and Steve Perry, District 4.

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