County Commissioners are officials elected by the voters of the county who make up the Board of Commissioners of Fayette County. This body is considered the “governing authority” of the county. The Board of Commissioners, along with a number of other Elected Officials, also known as Constitutional Officers, make up the framework of county government in Fayette County.
What do County Commissioners do?
As established by the Georgia Constitution and the Official Code of Georgia, County Commissioners in this State, including Fayette County, are charged with the responsibility of providing a system of local government services designed to ”protect the health, safety, and welfare” of their citizens. County Commissioners are empowered to make policy and pass laws if necessary in order to meet their responsibilities.
What sort of services are provided by our County Government?
Fayette County provides such typical local government services as police protection (Sheriff’s Department), Fire and Emergency Medical Services, recreation, planning and land use regulation, code enforcement including building, zoning and development regulations, solid waste management, library services, public works activities such as road and right-of-way maintenance, courts and related services, and administrative services such as tax assessments and collections, to name a few. A complete list of County Departments is available.
Who can be a County Commissioner?
Anyone who has resided in Fayette County for one year and who is at least 25 years of age is eligible to run for the Office of County Commissioner.
How many County Commissioners does Fayette County have and do they represent certain areas of the county?
Fayette County has five County Commissioners. The county is divided into three County Commission Districts, which means that each District is required to have one Commissioner on the Board who resides within that District. The other two positions on the Board are “at-large” positions which means that they may be filled by a candidate who lives anywhere in the County.
It is important to note that in Fayette County, all voters vote on all County Commission posts. In other words, you are not limited to voting only to fill the position of the Commissioner living in your District. You may vote on all County Commissioners.
How are County Commissioners elected and how long can he/she serve in office?
County Commissioners are elected by the voters of Fayette County and serve 4 year terms. Commissioners in our county are not limited in the number of terms they can serve. The terms are staggered to eliminate the possibility that all five County Commissioners would be new in office at the same time. The three Commission District posts are filled by election at one time, and the two “at-large” posts are filled by election two years later, resulting in an election of County Commissioners every two years.
Is the position of County Commissioner in Fayette County a full-time job?
No. County Commissioners in our county are not full-time employees of our county government. County Commissioners are typical Fayette County citizens who have other professions as a livelihood and perform their duties as elected officials on a part-time basis. They manage their Commission responsibilities through a series of monthly meetings and public hearings, individual interaction with citizens, special assignments, and through their local Office which is staffed with full-time, highly-trained individuals prepared to assist the public with issues related to the responsibilities of County Commissioners. In growing counties such as Fayette, the number of hours each week that County Commissioners devote to their official roles can be quite significant.
Are County Commissioners paid?
Yes. In Fayette County, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners is paid $29,666.00 per year and the other members of the Board are paid $23,352.00 per year. A limited amount of training hours, presented by the University of Georgia, is mandatory for County Commissioners. They are then eligible to participate in an optional training program .Upon completion of this program, they earn an additional $1,200.00 per year. It takes 1-2 years to complete the optional training program.
How is the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners elected?
In Fayette County, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board are elected by the Board itself every January at its Organizational Meeting.
Does the Board of Commissioners meet regularly or only when there is county business to conduct?
In a dynamic county such as Fayette, there is always an immense amount of county business to be dealt with. Each Board of Commissioners can determine when and how much it will meet each month to dispose of county government business. The current Board typically meets three times each month. The meetings are organized by the use of a formal agenda and are conducted by using a rigid set of Rules of Order, designed to make meetings as efficient as possible. Meetings consist of such matters as adopting or amending laws and policies, acting on the financial matters of the county, dealing with requests from the general public, acting on issues related to various county departments and services, or holding public hearings on such issues as rezoning requests, the annual budget, land use amendments, ordinance adoption or modification, and major road projects.
Are meetings of the Board of Commissioners open to the public?
Yes. With minor exceptions, all meetings are open to the public and are attended by members of the press. Official minutes and other records relating to actions of the Board of Commissioners are maintained and are open to the public. There are only three issues that the law allows the Board to discuss in a meeting not open to the public. Those are (1) Certain matters relating to specific personnel; (2) Matters involving the acquisition of real estate by the county; and (3) Matters involving threatened, proposed, or on-going litigation or legal negotiations. These issues are allowed to be dealt with other than at a public meeting in order to ensure the privacy of citizens or specified employees. However, any action taken by the Board at such meetings is reported to the public at some point.
What is the role of the County Administrator?
In Fayette County, the County Administrator is an employee appointed by the Board of Commissioners who is charged with the responsibility of implementing and administering the policies and procedures established by the Board of Commissioners. He/She is responsible for the successful day-to-day operation of the county government, other than those departments headed by one of the other Constitutional Officers.
To better understand the relationship between the Board of Commissioners and the County Administrator, think of the Commissioners as a company’s Board of Directors which makes fiscal and policy decisions on how the company will be run .Then think of the County Administrator as the company’s general manager who is responsible for seeing that the decisions of the Board are administered and successfully carried out throughout the organization on a day-to-day basis.
If a citizen has a problem with a county service, department, or employee, should he/she contact a County Commissioner?
First, any time you do not know who can help with a problem, call the County Administrator’s/Commissioners’ Office at 770.305.5200. If you have a problem and you do know which county department can help you, it is advisable to first contact the person in charge of that department. If it is not possible for any reason to resolve a problem in that manner, then it is recommended that the County Administrator’s/Commissioners’ Office be contacted. Most likely, the County Administrator or another staff member can deal with the issue or refer it to the best person possible to assist with finding a solution. If necessary, the County Administrator can present the issue to the Board of Commissioners on your behalf, as a means of finding a solution. If, however, you are not satisfied with the outcome of the issue, you should feel free to discuss the matter with any of the members of the Board of Commissioners.
Does the Board of Commissioners have jurisdiction over all government matters in all of Fayette County?
No! Government services are provided to the citizens of Fayette County by a complex network of city, county, State, and Federal agencies. It is usually not difficult to distinguish Federal Government services, and most of the time State services are fairly to easy to separate from county and city services. However, it is often not clear to our citizens whether local government (county or city) services are provided by one of Fayette’s five municipalities or by the county -- and rightfully so.
In many instances, the Board of Commissioners only has jurisdiction over matters concerning citizens and property located in the unincorporated portions of Fayette County. For example, the rezoning of property inside any one of the municipalities is handled solely by its Mayor and Council and the Board of Commissioners has no involvement in the process. Another example is that of annual operating budgets. The County Commission adopts an annual budget to fund county services but has no involvement in the adoption of any budget of any municipality, or that of the Board of Education. That being said, however, County Government does provide many services to all citizens of the county, including those living inside its municipalities.
To complicate matters even more, several county departments are headed by other Constitutional Officers. These elected officials manage their own departments and may or may not adhere to policies established by the Board of Commissioners. The Commissioners are, however, obligated by law to provide sufficient funds to each of these officials to adequately carry out the duties of his/her department.
Who are these other Constitutional Officers?
In Fayette County, the list of Constitutional Officers includes the five-member Board of Commissioners, the Sheriff, the Clerk of Superior Court, the Probate Judge, and the Tax Commissioner.
How does a Board of Commissioners differ from a Mayor and Council ?
A Mayor and Council is a body of elected officials responsible for governing a town or city (municipality). Fayette County has five municipalities – The Town of Brooks, the City of Fayetteville, the City of Peachtree City, the Town of Tyrone, and the Town of Woolsey. Each has an elected Mayor and Council responsible for providing municipal services and making decision that effect only their citizens. Municipalities have individual “Charters” that set out how they will conduct business inside their particular municipal limits. These bodies have no input into what happens in areas of the county that are not incorporated into a municipality. Mayors and Council members are elected into office only by voters inside their municipality.
Members of the Board of Commissioners are elected by all voters in the county, including those living inside towns and cities. County Commissioners are required by law to provide certain basic services and facilities to all citizens. Municipalities may choose to provide additional services or to augment services provided by the county. In Fayette County, each of the five municipalities has different types and levels of services and different arrangements with the county concerning services. Details are available upon request.
Does the County Government provide any services to citizens living within municipalities?
Yes. There are many services that the County Government does provide for all citizens of the county. To name a few, the list includes the court system and related services, jail and detention services, public safety services to some municipalities, significant public works services, some code enforcement services, a considerable amount of recreation activities, library services, tax assessment and collection for all municipalities and the Board of Education, and others. Complete information is available upon request.
No. The Board of Education is an entirely separate entity consisting of a body of individuals who are also elected by the voters of Fayette County. The Board of Education establishes its own annual budget and is in no way responsible to the Board of Commissioners for any of its activities. Inquiries concerning education matters should be directed to the Office of the Board of Education.
Thank you for your interest in your County Government.
Complete information concerning the duties and responsibilities of County Commissioners can be obtained by contacting the Office of the Board of Commissioners. The Board’s County Clerk, Floyd Jones, can assist you in answering your questions and providing you with additional information. Mr. Jones can be contacted at the Commission Office at 770-305-5102, or by visiting the Office of the Board of Commissioners located at 140 Stonewall Avenue West, Suite 100, in the Fayette County Administrative Complex (also known as Stonewall Village) in downtown Fayetteville. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.