ROCKDALE COUNTY, GA—On Nov. 14, 2023, Georgia Sen. Tonya Anderson (D-Lithonia), State Rep. Rhonda Taylor (D-Conyers) and Attorney Stewart Morelli from the General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Counsel held a town hall meeting at the Rockdale Career Academy to discuss House Bill 741.
House Bill 741 proposes significant changes to the governance structure of Rockdale County. The bill seeks to increase the number of county commissioners from three to five, reshape the responsibilities of the chairperson, establish residency-based commissioner districts, and introduce the position of a county manager.
By a show of hands raised, the majority attending the meeting said they favored the expansion of the board, but strongly opposed voting at-large for all five commissioner seats. They said they would like residents to vote by district in order for constituents to have a specific commissioner to contact about their issues and concerns.
Hiring a county manager also raised questions and concern by residents, namely how much spending power the county manager would have and whether or not he or she would be required to live in the county.
Under the bill, a professional with a management/business background/education would be hired by the Board of Commissioners to serve as county manager, overseeing the county’s departments and day-to-day operations. The current Chairman of the Board of Commissioners position, which pays $126,752.08 annually as a full-time job, would be eliminated, and the salary from that position would be used to fund the expanded board from three to five seats. Currently, the Post 1 commissioner earns $33,928.81 a year and the Post 2 seat commissioner earns $34,801.76 annually based on their longevity in those seats. All five seats would be part-time positions.