Commission Chairman John Raber does not run the county. Any promises, commitments, or deals he makes are null and void without approval by the Board of Commissioners (BOC). Any and all blame for what Raber does must revert back to the BOC. They have the power. Do they not realize their responsibilities after all these months or years in office?
The BOC, not the Chairman, is the successor to the Sole Commissioner of Lumpkin County. The BOC is the governing authority of Lumpkin County. According to the enabling legislation, the Chairman calls meetings, presides, represents county government at ceremonial functions, submits motions to the BOC for action, makes appointments with approval of the BOC, and performs duties delegated by the BOC or provided by law or ordinance.
The Chairman does not hire, fire, or have control over either the County Manager or the County Attorney. Only the BOC has that authority. The Chairman is out of line if he resolves issues and/or makes decisions with the County Manager or the County Attorney without the presence or prior approval of the BOC.
Based on Chairman Raber’s remarks during the March Work Session, he is making decisions, reaching conclusions and establishing policy with the County Manager and County Attorney. He lets the commissioners know what is going on at his leisure. Last fall, he dropped an unconstitutional petition issue on the commissioners the night before they were to vote on it. He pushed them to vote when they didn’t have a clue what they were voting on.
Not only are Lumpkin County citizens denied information required by the state’s Open Meetings law, our elected commissioners are regularly denied timely information they need to make informed decisions. As recently as the March Work Session, information possessed by Raber and staff was not made available to commissioners prior to the meeting.
Lumpkin County voters need to demand accountability from county government. What will it take for the voters to realize that our county commission is operating in violation of state law? Do our voters care enough to demand that our county government operate within the law?
Frustrated citizens are going around saying that the BOC is not working. The chairman’s buddies are lobbying to change back to a sole commissioner. The real problem is that we have a chairman who thinks he is a sole commissioner.
Lumpkin County residents need to let district commissioners know that we support them and expect them to do the job they were elected to do. If we, the voters, fail to support our commissioners, we deserve to suffer the consequences.
We cannot wait for some future election to have responsible government. Speak up! Tell the commissioners what you expect of them.