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Tam elected to lead commission
Bell chosen vice chairman
Tam Brian
Brian Tam - photo by Submitted


Forsyth County’s governing body got a makeover at Thursday’s meeting, the first of the new year.

New members, officers and rules will guide the commission into 2011.

By a 5-0 vote, the commission elected Brian Tam to serve as its chairman, with no other nominations.

Tam, who’s entering his seventh year in office, has seniority since his colleagues are all in their first terms.

“I’m pleased that I have the support of the board,” he said after the meeting. “I feel prepared to take it on given my tenure.”

Upon accepting the chairmanship, Tam read an excerpt from a Forsyth County News editorial published his first few weeks as commissioner in 2005.

The editorial encouraged the governments of Cumming and the county to work together with the county school system and chamber of commerce to ensure greatness in Forsyth.

“I embrace this philosophy, and I hope you do too,” Tam told the capacity crowd.

Charles Laughinghouse had served as chairman the past four years, but chose not to seek a third term in 2010. He left office at year’s end.

The commission also selected Patrick Bell to serve as vice chairman by a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Jim Boff opposed.

Jim Harrell, who had previously held that office, is no longer on the board. He lost his re-election bid to Commissioner Todd Levent.

Pete Amos, who replaced Laughinghouse on the commission, was unanimously elected secretary, a post Boff filled in 2010.

Some different rules for agenda items will accompany the new faces and titles.

The chairman will have the authority to remove any agenda item, which will then not be eligible to return to a future agenda for 60 days. He can exercise this power twice per year on a single item.

The commission may override the chairman by a majority vote.

The chairman was already authorized to add any agenda item, which would otherwise take two commissioners.

Also, a majority vote will now be required to postpone or remove any agenda item. Previously, just two commissioners were needed to postpone any item up to two times.

“The majority still rules in our rules,” Tam said. “They’re designed to keep the agenda items moving along.”

The commission approved the changes by a 4-1 vote.

Boff voted against the measure, saying he was opposed to some of the changes, including “granting the chairman new powers to deny items on the agenda.”