County leaders shocked by elections bill - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

County leaders shocked by elections bill

Dougherty Co. Commission Chairman Jeff 'Bodine' Sinyard Dougherty Co. Commission Chairman Jeff 'Bodine' Sinyard
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Dougherty County leaders are now watching a bill in the General Assembly that could impact who sits on the board of elections. The legislation caught them off guard.

House Bill 632 gained momentum Friday when it passed through the House. It would give the local legislative delegation more power over the Dougherty County board of elections. But leaders in Albany are concerned about their lack of input.

Dougherty over House Bill 632, passed by the state House Friday. The bill allows the local legislative delegation to appoint one of the members to the Dougherty County Board of Elections.

It's a bill that affects government on the local level in Dougherty County, but local leaders were left out of the loop.

"Local legislation needs to have community and local involvement," said Dougherty Co. Commission Chairman Jeff 'Bodine' Sinyard.

Sinyard says Representative Winfred Dukes briefly mentioned the idea of proposing the bill a few weeks ago, but Sinyard had no idea Dukes would move forward with it.

"I had some concerns about what he was talking about. And after that conversation I hadn't heard anything else about it. I was not aware that this issue had become a bill. I was very surprised when it was mentioned that the bill had taken shape," Sinyard said.

There are five members on the elections board, appointed by the city, county and local Democratic and Republican parties. The 5th member is chosen by those four.

Duke's bill takes that job away from them and allows that 5th slot to be filled by the local legislative delegation, made up of Dukes, Gerald Greene, Carol Fullerton and Freddie Powell Sims. If approved, the bill will lead to the termination of the current at-large member, Alan Pendleton, who says he, too, was surprised to hear about the legislation.

Pendleton is chairman of the elections board, which last August got into a legal dispute with school board candidate Lorenzo Heard. Heard filed suit against the board of elections because they would not allow his name on the ballot.

No one will say whether this legislation arose from that dispute. The bill was sent to the state Local Government Committee, which will have to approve it before it can go to the senate.

Representative Winfred Dukes and Representative Gerald Greene sponsored the bill. They have not called us back for a comment. Representative Carol Fullerton did not vote on the bill.

More Info-

Established by Legislation (See Georgia Laws 1986, Page 3832).  This law abolishes the Joint Board of Registrars for Dougherty County and the City of Albany (Georgia Laws 1971, Page 3543) and the Dougherty County Board of Elections (Georgia Laws l970, Page 1127).

Replaces the City Clerk as Municipal Elections Superintendent.  Effective date: July 1, l987.  Members were appointed for 18 month terms, and appointees serve two year terms effective January 1, l989.

 Name 

Original
Appointment 

 Expires 

 Appointed by 

Freddye Phipps                                

8-22-06

12-31-14 

City

Commodore Conyers

12-19-05

 12-31-14    

County

Lonzie L. White                     

 1-01-06 

12-31-13 

Democratic Party

Walter Blankenship      

11-26-96

12-31-13    

Republican Party

Alan Pendleton                         

  2-93 

12-31-14    

Other Board Member

Ginger Nickerson, Supervisor

   

Tenure

 

 

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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