On Tuesday, March 16, Henry County commissioners considered three nominees to be interim district III commissioner. The board declined to select one of the three names leaving a vacancy in place.
Senate Bill 22 provides for an interim commissioner when a vacancy exists on the board. The interim commissioner serves until a special election can take place. Senate Bill 22 was approved by state legislators and signed by Governor Kemp earlier this month. The bill became effective immediately.
District III Vacancy
County Commissioner Gary Barham passed away on March 2, 2021. His passing creates a vacancy in district three. SB 22 provides fourteen days from the date of a vacancy for the board to name an interim commissioner. The political party in which the vacancy occurs must submit nominees for the BOC to choose from.
The Henry County Republican Party submitted three nominees:
- Greg Cannon
- Robert Hudgins
- Terrell Tyson
Motions to approve a nominee by Commissioner Wilson — the lone remaining Republican on the board — all died for lack of a second. Chair Harrell recused herself from voting, and other board members voiced opposition to naming anyone. Both Commissioners Clemmons and Holmes favored keeping the seat open in a recent AJC interview.
Tuesday’s meeting was the fourteenth day following Barham’s passing. Though the board did not select an interim commissioner, county attorney Patrick Jaugstetter expressed there are no consequences for not meeting the deadline. The board can revisit the nominees at their next meeting if they so choose.
June Special Election
The state has pre-determined dates when special elections can occur. The next available date is Tuesday, June 15, 2021. A runoff (if needed) would occur on July 13. The winner of the special election will serve as district three commissioner until December 31, 2022.
Candidate qualifying dates have not been set by Henry County Elections.
Featured image shows Henry County Admin Building. Credit to J.R. Bowman Construction Co., Inc.
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