This week’s Newton Citizen Poll: Newton County commissioners are working to finalize changes to the county’s form of government. Do you think the county’s day-to-day operations should be overseen by the elected chairman or the hired county manager? Respond at 770-483-7108, ext. 403; email at email@example.com, online at www.newtoncitizen.com; or in writing at: Newton Citizen Poll, 969 S. Main St., Conyers, GA 30012.
“Definitely the elected chairman (or person) should oversee day-to-day operations. If you don’t stay in touch with the day-to-day stuff you don’t really know what is going on - otherwise you are subjected to ‘filtered’ in formation … To cite a prime example, the founder of Walmart, the late Sam Walton, would make a point to visit his retail stores as part of his normal routine and talk to employees &. customers. How do I know that? My wife worked at a Walmart in Texas and he stopped by, I was there that day and we shook hands and had a short conversation. He spoke longer with my wife. Mr. Walton was on his way to M.D. Anderson in Houston for treatment. I have lived in Newton County for over 20 years and have yet to have one elected county official stop by to get a ‘what are the people saying.’ Not a good track record, but it is consistent. But you will see them like cicadas just before election time — with that vote-for-me flier. I realize going house-to house-to get the pulse and an update of what is going on in Newton County is a difficult task. But holding a pre-announced ‘town hall style’ meeting, say at least once a year for each of the individual districts with the chairman and respective district commissioner, would accomplish the same. There are three very nice auditoriums — one in the high schools. As a property owner and taxpayer in District 1, we do help pay for those schools and to a small amount our contributions are in those paychecks the chair and commissioners receive on a regular basis. No doubt these elected folks do find time to visit with their ‘fishing’ buddies when necessary.”
“After working in local government for almost 40 years I have formed an opinion. A professional county manager should oversee day-to-day operations. This person is trained and educated to manage a government organization and requires accountability by all employees and contractors. While the elected full-time chairman may be a good person, they usually have no concept of managing a large government organization. In addition, if the appointed county manager is ineffective he or she can be removed and replaced immediately. If the elected county chairman is ineffective we must wait until the next election cycle, and even then they may be a better sweet-talker than manager and get re-elected. Remove the current confused operational organization format, put a professional manager in charge of day-to-day operations with one person being held accountable by our elected commissioners. Eliminate full-time paid chairman; make it part-time like other commissioners and let that person facilitate meetings and represent the county at other venues.”
“I believe that Newton County should be governed by a county manager form of government.”
“It is my opinion there should be a county manager to oversee the day-to-day operations.”