Dougherty County supports non-partisan elections - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty County supports non-partisan elections

By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The possibility of government consolidation is at the forefront of discussions by County Commissioners.

Chairman Jeff Sinyard says a unified government has pros and cons, but ultimately, it's up to the voters.  "They are the ones that are paying their taxes. They are the ones to me that are the owners of the city and the county, so whether you are for consolidation or not I think its up to the citizens to make that final decision."

But before the people get to vote, the city and the county first must agree on a consolidated charter. Monday the county agreed to a charter that calls for non-partisan local elections.

"Because we deal with specific local decisions and we have an administrative form of government, to have partisan ties can sometimes have a negative effect when you are trying to promote or move things forward," said Sinyard.

But Sinyard says one of the greatest concerns is the disparity of pay between city and county officials.

"There is a discrepancy on how much the employees are paid in terms of the amount. Its a very emotional and very personal issue. We, like any good business,  have to be concerned with losing good folks so whether or not this process moves forward or the government stays the same as they are this is still going to be a major issue," said Sinyard.

The commission also voted that the position of the CEO will continue to be a part time position, not a full time job.

If the city and county governments agree on an charter, it will be submitted to the state House, where it would replace the original charter that was developed. If approved by the Legislature, it would be put before local voters.

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