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Commission reviews appointment process
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Forsyth County News
Forsyth County commissioners discussed the rules of board appointments during their meeting Thursday.

The issue was raised by Commissioner Patrick Bell, who listed five points regarding members of the county’s 16 boards.

Bell advocated changing the length of terms, as well as rules stating a person can serve on only one board at a time and must live in their district for others.

Other suggested changes involved rules requiring citizens be in “good standing” for all boards and altering how the local development authority is chosen.

Commissioner Brian Tam’s request to move the item to a work session for further discussion failed in a 2-3 vote, with Bell and Tam in favor.

Bell then made individual motions for each of five points.

The commission passed just one, which stated that an appointee’s term ends with the commissioner who made the appointment.

At the start of a term, a commissioner can decide whether to reappoint that person or select someone else on five of the boards for which each commissioner appoints a member.

The change passed by a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Jim Harrell and Jim Boff opposed.

Chairman Charles Laughinghouse amended the suggestion to remove the tax assessor’s board from the proposed list.

He said it would ensure that the cost for training is used and the board is nonpolitical.

Laughinghouse also suggested that each board appointment be extended to four years to match the commissioner’s term.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the changes would not take effect until the ordinances dictating each board are found, revised and put up for a vote by commissioners.

Bell’s suggestion that all appointees must be in “good standing” was postponed to Tuesday’s meeting.

“If they’re taking exception to the tax man, they shouldn’t be working for the tax man,” Bell said.

Laughinghouse wanted to revisit the matter based on allegations that some board members may not be current on their property taxes.

Harrell proposed exploring the commission’s options if an appointee is convicted of a crime or behind on taxes.

Jarrard said the commission can hold hearings for any good cause for removal, but it’s “not as clearly delineated as what Commissioner Bell has presented.”

The other three possible changes were dropped by 2-3 votes, with Bell and Tam in favor.

Harrell did not want to discuss the proposed changes, saying he likes “the system the way it is.”

For most of the points discussed, including whether appointees for some boards should live in their district, Harrell said he “would leave it to the discretion of the commissioner.”

Boff agreed.

Commissioners currently decide who will best represent their district on six boards and who will best serve the county on the other 10.