Commissioner Committee Confusion

By Anthony | March 15th, 2007 | 11:49 pm

I just finished watching some of today’s meeting of the Guilford County Commissioners. In the midst of discussing the formation of a new jail committee, the discussion suddenly ground to a halt.

Commissioner Alston pointed out that on the previous jail committee, participants who were not county commissioners had been allowed to vote as part of the committee. Chairman Gibson seemed taken aback by this – he was of the opinion that only actual commissioners should be taking part in any votes, and outside participants were only there to give advice and input.

Unfortunately, either there is no set procedure for this, or if there is, none of the commissioners are aware of it. The best case scenario would seem to be that their committees are conducting business by the seat of their pants, without established guidelines for who has a direct say in forming committee recommendations. The worst case scenario would be that they are conducting business improperly, giving outside participants votes when they shouldn’t. As Gibson pointed out in the meeting, many times some of these outside consultants may stand to benefit from the recommendations at which the committee arrives.

There are possibly circumstances under which non-commissioners could serve on a committee and have a legitimate vote, but the confusion present at tonight’s meeting doesn’t give me much confidence that anyone knows whether this has been the case up to this point.

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