Chairman’s authority to call special called meetings challenged

Commissioner Michael Edmondson proposes ordinance change 2 weeks after special called MARTA meeting

JONESBORO — At least one commissioner doesn’t want Chairman Jeff Turner to convene special called meetings on his own anymore.

Commissioner Michael Edmondson wrote a proposed ordinance change two weeks after Turner called the June 5 special meeting where the board voted three to one 3-1 to place a binding referendum on the November ballot offering the county the chance to opt into MARTA.

“This ordinance was in place for years, so why is it of concern now?” Turner said.

The original ordinance states either the chairman or three board members can convene a special called meeting. That means Turner could either call a meeting himself or with two other council members. The change Edmondson proposed would strip Turner of his ability to call special meetings himself — he’d be required to have two council members backing him up.

Turner said that would defeat the purpose of his position on the board.

“Basically, what he’s doing is usurping the authority of the position of chairman,” Turner said. “This ordinance has been in effect for years and years. There should not be a problem with the chairman being able to call a special called meeting — especially if it’s important.”

Turner said he considered the June 5 meeting to be one of those important instances. He also said he feels that’s where Edmondson’s desire to change the ordinance came from.

“Because I did have the right to call (the special called meeting), I did so, because it was too important of an issue not to call a meeting,” Turner said. “Obviously, he was not happy with the outcome of that meeting, so it’s my speculation that he’s calling for this ordinance change to keep me from being able to call any other special called meeting without any other commissioners.”

Edmondson was out of town and unavailable to comment to Clayton News Daily as of press time — but he had expressed hesitation to attend the June 5 meeting in a previous article.

“It’s my anniversary and I hadn’t planned on working unless the chairman gives me a reason to show up,” he had said. “I’m all ears … But as of now I don’t have any additional information.”

The proposed ordinance change was presented to the board as a first reading at the July 15 meeting. Commissioners will vote on the change at the Aug. 5 meeting.

“I don’t know if it’ll pass or not,” Turner said. “It’s my hope that it does not.”