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Official rejects board proposal

2/14/2012

By MEGHAN PITTMAN
The Brunswick News

City Commissioner Johnny Cason says he will not support a resolution proposed by the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water Sewer Commission that would change the composition of the board's membership. Instead, Cason is proposing some changes to the amendment that he says are in line with what's proposed by members of the county's delegation to the Georgia General Assembly.

"I want to make some changes to the resolution and I believe it's what the delegation wants. It's what they are asking for," said Cason.

Cason's main issue with the proposed amendment to the joint commission, established by state law in 2006, lies with the appointment of citizen representatives by the utility board itself. As proposed, the board would appoint members from a list of potential candidates recommended by the grand jury.

Cason said the people should have a say in who sits on the board.

"It would be prudent for the citizens (on the board) to be elected or just appointed (outright) by the grand jury," said Cason. "We need to give the people more input."

Cason said it is his understanding that the local state delegation will not support a resolution that includes JWSC appointments, and that the city should move to resolve the matter.

Mayor Bryan Thompson said he is in favor of hearing any proposed changes to the amendment at Wednesday's 6:30 p.m. City Commission meeting. The commission will meet at Old City Hall on Newcastle Street.

"I'm certainly for some changes," said Thompson. "I am of the opinion that the public should get involved and they should be able to vote on the matter.

"We all have various opinions on how it should be handled, and hopefully we'll be able to reach a majority vote. If not, it would result in no action being taken and we'd have to discuss it further."

City commissioner Cornell Harvey, who sits on the Joint Water Sewer Commission as one of two city officials, is confident the city will take some action on the amendment Wednesday.

"If there's anything to reconsider, we'll talk about it on Wednesday," said Harvey. "This is the structure of the board and we want to get it right."

Commissioner James Brooks, the other city representative on the board, is in jail in Glynn County awaiting a bond hearing on a misdemeanor charge of theft by deception and a felony count of abuse of office.

The amendment also calls for increasing the board membership from five to seven members. It would include one city commissioner, one county commissioner and five residents.

City and county commissions must act on the amendment soon. Time is of the essence, said Glynn County Commissioner Clyde Taylor, chair of the utility board. City and county commissions must act on the changes to give the state delegation time to take the appropriate action in the state general assembly. The county commission is scheduled to take up the amendment when it meets at 6 p.m. Thursday at the old county courthouse.

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