County approves changes to the structure of the ethics committee
Polk County’s Ethics Committee is getting some updates after commissioners decided it was time to balance out the membership and make changes to the three-member panel that decides whether actions taken locally violate ethics principles and rules on the books.
Commissioners unanimously approved the new update, which mainly focuses on allowing for the board to choose a more balanced membership on the three-person panel.
Made up of citizens appointed to two year terms, the ethics committee only sits when a ethics violation has been brought to their attention, and then decides whether a violation has occurred.
All the membership up last week was made up of a trio of citizens from District 1, but now that policy will change.
“The problem is that the way it was setup, there is no identification of district representation. You can end up with all the representatives on the ethics committee coming from one district,” Commission chair Jennifer Hulsey said. “Now there’s representation from all the districts.”
In previous versions of the county’s ordinance governing the ethics committee (and still available on Municode,) committee appointments were made up of members who were appointed by the commission chair, one by the board of commissioners, and a third appointed by a combination of the two committee members to decide on ethics issues.
Now the two commissioners from each district will get to choose who serves instead.
I n moving f orward with the new rules in place during their April session, Commissioners Chuck Thaxton and Chair Jennifer Hulsey announced they had already found someone to serve from District 2.
The nominated and the board unanimously approved Jody Smith of Cedartown from District 2 to serve a two-year term.
The county is expecting vote on new members selected in May from Districts 1 and 3, Hulsey said.