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Douglas commissioners' backing of ‘home rule’ resolution falls along party lines
by Liz Marino
May 28, 2013 05:26 PM | 3125 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Despite differing opinions among the members of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, the body narrowly passed a resolution May 21 in support of “home rule” for Metro Atlanta’s cities and counties.

Similar resolutions were drawn up by the nine metro Atlanta commission chairs in the Atlanta Regional Commission and the DeKalb CEO, according to Commission Chairman Tom Worthan.

“This is not about Democrats and not about Republicans,” said Worthan during the May 20 work session.

The makeup of the metro Atlanta county leaders supporting a home rule resolution is made up of six Republicans and four Democrats.

According to West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, home rule involves the authority of a local government to prevent state government intervention with its operations.

Worthan said that the home rule resolution was in part a response to the election board changes proposed by the state legislative delegation in Douglas County as well as in Fulton and Henry counties.

Democratic legislators said they supported a change in the election board makeup to give their party greater representation.

Voting for the resolution was along party lines, with Republicans Worthan, District 3 Commissioner Mike Mulcare and District 4 Commissioner Ann Jones Guider voting in favor of passage, while Democrats District 1 Commissioner Henry Mitchell III and District 2 Commissioner Kelly Robinson voted against the resolution.

Robinson was highly outspoken against the resolution in both Monday’s work session and Tuesday’s regular voting meeting.

“When I read this, the spirit of this runs contrary to how government should work,” Robinson said. “The point of local delegates is to give balance. It is a check and balance to go from level to level to level [of government].”

The resolution “speaks to ‘we don’t want to talk’ and ‘to get out of our way,’” he said.

“It doesn’t feel right. I couldn’t support anything like this,” he said. “This will [get someone angry].”

Guider referenced a statement in the resolution which read, “…we formally request that our Legislative Delegation oppose or leave the chamber when bills are called for a vote that impede the governance of Atlanta’s metropolitan counties and cities…” and said “it sounds harsh to ask them to leave the room.”

She added, “Dialogue has not been done. We thought we were being in dialogue, but it was one-sided. I look at [the resolution] as a show of protest.”

Worthan said commissioners want to have a “dialogue” with the county’s legislative delegation.

“We didn’t elect someone who represents 10 percent of our county to make decisions about our county,” he said.

Mulcare supported the resolution, saying, “There is nobility in dialogue and we should all work toward the noble cause.”

But he added, “People who represent fractions of a county are usurping the people who were elected to represent the county.”

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