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A majority of the Grady County Lake Authority is all new members following Tuesday’s unanimous vote to appoint four people to replace retiring members.
The lake authority met on Feb. 14 and recommended a slate of candidates for consideration by the Grady County Board of Commissioners. The nominations were presented to the board on Feb. 19, but the matter was tabled after Commissioner June Knight offered the name of a fifth candidate for the four vacant positions.
Since that meeting, Jeffery Cape, general manager of Mr. Chick restaurant, who was nominated by the authority, withdrew his candidacy due to work responsibilities.
Commissioner Knight had recommended Bob Ponder, a resident of District 1, as a candidate for the lake authority.
On Tuesday, the board took up the matter. Other candidates nominated by the lake authority include Laura Register, Stephen Francis, and Chip Wells.
Grady County Administrator J.C. (Buddy) Johnson III, informed the board this week of Cape’s decision and said that with his withdrawal and the nomination of Ponder, the board had four candidates for the four open positions.
“Is Bob still interested?” Commissioner Ray Prince asked Commissioner Knight. “Yes he is,” Knight responded.
“So what do you think (of the slate of four candidates)?” Commissioner Keith Moye asked Commissioner Knight. “Fine by me,” she said.
Moye then offered a motion to appoint Register, Francis, Wells and Ponder to fill the seats of former members Edgar B. Smith III, LaDon Toole, Jeffery Brown, and Randolph H. Wind.
The four new members will join incumbents Eric Cohen and Steven Childs on the authority. Local legislation creating the authority provides for up to two commissioners serving on the authority. Since its origination, only one commissioner has served on the authority and Commissioner Prince is the current board representative.
Chairman LaFaye Copeland suggested that it would be appropriate to discuss an appointment or to reappoint Prince. She said that her understanding of the legislation was that a commissioner would serve on the authority for not more than the length of his/her elected term. Prince’s term as the District 2 commissioner expired Dec. 31, 2018, and he was sworn in for a new four-year term on Jan. 1, 2019.
During a brief discussion of the matter, the board requested that county attorney Gabe Ridley review the legislation creating the authority and offer an opinion.
Chairman Copeland said that she was not interested in serving on the lake authority, but said that if another member of the board was interested then the time for a change was appropriate since Prince’s original term had expired.
Commissioner Knight expressed her interest in serving on the authority and went on to state that she was interested in serving on anything that had to do with her district.
With the addition of Ponder, two of the seven members of the authority are residents of District 1, which is Commissioner Knight’s district.
Earlier in the meeting during public participation, Richard Jordan expressed his desire for Commissioner Knight to be appointed to serve on the authority. He said it “only makes sense.”