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Commissioner to take seat on Library Board

ALBANY, Ga. — The Dougherty County Commission decided Monday to remove one current member of the county’s Library Board of Trustees so that a commission member could sit on the board.

The terms of current Library Board members Gene Black and James Hill expire at the end of the year, and the County Commission voted at its regular business session to maintain a seven-member board, meaning at least one of the current board members will be removed. Complicating the issue are requests by John Burr and Betty de Vane Hatcher for appointments to the Library Board.

The move by the County Commission came in response to the Library Board’s decision to close two libraries that it called underused. In the furor that followed, commissioners claimed they had not been apprised of the action planned by the Library Board.

“Everyone in Dougherty County thinks (the County Commission) closed those libraries,” District 1 Commissioner Lamar Hudgins said. “The thinking is, if we’d had a member of the commission on the (Library Board), we would have known about this major decision that was being contemplated.”

Added District 2 Commissioner John Hayes: “Our being at the table gives us a greater accounting.”

The County Commission will announce appointments to the Library Board and a laundry list of other boards and authorities at a called meeting next Monday. Included will be a decision on a new member of the Hospital Authority Board to replace Dr. John Inman Jr., who has served the maximum two five-year terms. Dr. Michael Laslie and Emily Jean McAfee have expressed interest in filling the position.

“I’m afraid we’re making some of these appointments and just going away,” District 5 Commissioner Gloria Gaines said. “We need to put in place a mechanism that will allow us to know if they are functioning as they should other than just when we have a problem like we did with the Library Board.”

Also at the meeting, the commission took final action on issues already discussed during work sessions, including:

  • Approving special-purpose local-option sales tax funds for road resurfacing and the purchase of two ambulances for Emergency Medical Services;
  • Accepting fair market value of $33,200 from the Georgia Department of Transportation for 0.166 acres of county property that will be used in the redesign and construction of on and off ramps at the Jefferson Street/Liberty Expressway interchange;
  • OKing a salary adjustment (to $76,000 annually) and goals for interim Dougherty County Police Chief Jackie Battle during a six-month interim period.