No votes were taken during Tuesday afternoon’s work session. Lee said he and Hankerson would develop the agenda items that would create the two committees.
Lee said commissioners could vote on the unpaid committees, which were recommended by the county’s Citizen Oversight Committee, as soon as the July 10 meeting. Members could then be appointed to the committees at the July 24 meeting. The five-member committees are expected to include the chairman; one district commissioner who rotates on a yearly basis; one other county elected official, such as the sheriff or a judge; and two citizens considered experts in the committee’s field.
For the moment, commissioners will not authorize a $350,000 Class and Pay study, which would have compared Cobb’s pay and benefits to other counties. Instead, Lee said determining if such a study is needed will be among the compensation committee’s duties.
The study had been recommended by both Hankerson and the 10-member oversight committee, which met for a year to find inefficiencies in county government.
Hankerson recommended against creating the compensation committee, which he said is only used by one other public jurisdiction he could find, that being Miami-Dade County in Florida. They are typically only used by corporations wanting to review pay and bonuses for top-level executives, not for all employees, which is what the Citizen Oversight Committee recommended, he said.
Hankerson and audit division manager Latona Thomas also advised against creating an audit committee at a May 21 work session, saying the county already independently performs audits.
Thomas works under a separate charter from other county employees, which Lee said gives her independence in performing her duties.
The audit committee will determine its purpose after meeting with Citizen Oversight Committee leadership and the county’s internal auditors, Lee said.
Commissioners are expected to authorize the committees for two years, Lee said.
Ideally, each district commissioner would serve on each of the committees for one year during their four-year term, said southeast Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott, who has long spoken out in favor of creating the new panels.
“By having the elected official and the two commissioners on there, it gives the opportunity for stuff to come back to the board if it needs to be looked at,” Ott said of the audit committee. “It was a good recommendation by the oversight committee, so I’m happy to see that we’re going to move forward with that.”
Ott said the committee meetings would be open to the public.
Commissioners also decided to go ahead with oversight committee recommendations to fill several vacant positions. Hankerson was authorized to search for a new public safety director, budgeted at between $101,587 and $165,651, in fiscal year 2013; a purchasing director for between $72,217 and $117,416; a public service director for between $96,803 and $157,809; and deputy Emergency Management Agency director for between $56,596 and $90,563.
The Citizen Oversight Committee consisted of Chairman Brett McClung, an accountant; former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr; Vance Booker of Kennesaw; retired state court judge Beverly Collins; financial investigator Laurie Dyke; Dr. Robert Plunkett; Futren Corp. owner James Rhoden Jr.; bank president Ford Thigpen; Deloitte consultant Darhyl Watkins and David Welden of west Cobb.