January 9, 2017

New Chairman John Daniell Is Changing the Oconee Commission's Secretive Culture

John Daniell web.JPG

Photo Credit: Lee Becker

Melvin Davis wasn’t at the work session of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Friday, but he had impact on the discussion nonetheless.

The meeting began with a review of the ethics ordinance for commissioners, which has been used only once—in a complaint filed against Davis.

The next topic was an ordinance passed by the commissioners in 2009 to reassert the power of the commission as a whole versus the power of the chairman. Davis opposed the ordinance when it was passed and fought it until he retired on Dec. 31.

The group talked about the change in the culture already underway at the courthouse, about the need to limit the number of executive sessions, and about the need to increase coordination between the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education.

Davis was never mentioned in the discussion, but the contrast with the operation of the county under Davis’ leadership and the anticipated operation of the county under new Chairman John Daniell was ever present.

“Executive sessions, held frequently, breed distrust,” County Attorney Daniel Haygood told the group. “No question about it. And that’s not good.”

The board held executive sessions routinely at the end of the twice-monthly commission meetings under Davis.

For more, visit Oconee County Observations.