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Abdul-Salaam certain seats will be added eventually

By Justin Boron

Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam, D-Riverdale, said she will be trying to expand the base of support she has for a bill that would add two additional seats to the Clayton County Board of Commissioners.

Having a majority of the local legislative delegation behind it, she will need to get the signature of Sen. Terrell Starr, D-Jonesboro, to pass the measure through the General Assembly because local bills require the support of two senators.

But with Starr unwilling to support the issue without a study to be done next year, the measure looks to be holding in the Senate.

The two new commission seats would represent the entire county while the existing four represented their respective districts.

The county commission last changed in 1972 when the Legislature extended the board from three members to five.

Abdul-Salaam said she thinks it's time to give the citizens more representation on the commission given the growth in the 240,000 person county.

"It needs to be done, that's the reality," she said.

With populations well over 600,000, Fulton County and DeKalb County already have seven seat county commissions.

In Clarke County, which has a population of 102,000, the main governing body has 11 seats, Abdul-Salaam said.

County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell said he opposes the idea.

"More does not mean better," he said.

The following members of the Clayton County Legislative Delegation also supported the bill: Sen. Valencia Seay and representatives Joe Heckstall, Darryl Jordan and Georganna Sinkfield.