Cupid is circulating a detailed application for people to fill out who are interested in one of the spots.
The application must be turned in by April 5 for consideration, she said.
“It’s unusual,” county chairman Tim Lee said. “It’s never been done before, but if that’s how she wants to approach it, that’s her prerogative.”
Some of the questions ask if the applicant has held the position in question before. Others ask why the applicant is interested in serving and what they want to achieve if appointed.
The application, which Cupid said she designed after eyeing forms in other counties, also asks how long the applicant has lived in Cobb, their gender, their age range and their race.
Popping the race question
The race question, which is marked “optional,” is worded this way: “For the purpose of demographic balance, please provide the following” before asking the race of the applicant.
Cupid said she asked the county’s legal department to review the application prior to releasing it.
“Race always seems to be the big elephant in the room that no one wants to address, and certainly from the whole IMAGE debate, we’ve seen that race is certainly a significant issue for our county,” Cupid said. She’s speaking of a proposal she, Tim Lee and Commissioner Helen Goreham killed last month that would have required federal agents to review the hiring records of county contractors to ensure employees are legally able to work in the U.S.
Cupid explained why she wanted to know the race of the people she was appointing to boards ranging from the Cemetery Preservation Board to the Board of Tax Assessors.
“For me there’s some presumption here that my appointments will all result in people being appointed who look like me,” she said. “This helps me to ensure that those who are appointed are a representation of everyone in District 4, and believe it or not, everyone in District 4 does not look like me.”
Seeking demographic balance
A demographic balance is what she’s looking for, Cupid said.
“I think it’s important to make sure that we are capturing the diversity of Cobb to serve in leadership in Cobb, and you know, perhaps as much as I know, that there is not a lot of diversity that’s represented on our boards, so certainly I think there’s opportunity with this application to address that,” Cupid said.
Cupid said the application form grew out of an effort she is making to be respectful and inclusive of all people she represents, regardless of their diverse backgrounds or cultures.
“Because there are some people who might believe that I would be inclined to just appoint people who look like me,” she said. “So this is a way to safeguard me from making sure that does not happen to make sure that we are also supporting and showcasing the diversity within our county, yes, from a skill set perspective, but also from a demographic perspective.”
Cupid said the question about race was optional and would not be the sole determining factor.
Cupid said it was a concern that the various county boards are going without representation from south Cobb while she considers whom to appoint to the vacant posts.
“This I know will be about five, six months out until they get appointed, but my term is for four years, so looking at the grand scheme of things, I think it’s worthwhile to have waited for six months,” she said. “To me, it’s worthwhile to wait to make sure we give the best opportunity to find the best person for the role rather than to put someone in and find out that they may not have been the best fit.”
Looking out for her district
Living in District 4, while not a requirement, would be given a certain amount of weight, she said.
In January, Lee planned to ask the Board of Commissioners to appoint former Chamber of Commerce Chairman and Bank of North Georgia president Rob Garcia to a position on the Development Authority of Cobb County that had traditionally been held by someone who lives in South Cobb. Lee withdrew Garcia’s name at Cupid’s request.
The fact that Garcia doesn’t live in south Cobb was a concern, although it wasn’t the only reason she objected, Cupid said.
“It’s not necessarily because he was not a District 4 resident,” Cupid said. “But I haven’t seen — I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist — but I have not seen evidence from the Development Authority that they have put support behind projects within the district, and certainly those on that board represent all of Cobb, so one way for me to better feel that someone on the board is mindful of things in District 4 is to see someone from District 4 on that board.”
To obtain one of Cupid’s applications, call Saleemah Johnson at (770) 528-3311.