Chairman issue remains undecided

Thu, 01/24/2008 - 4:08pm
By: John Thompson

No legal papers have been served to Coweta County over the issue of the County Commission chairman...yet.

Public Information Officer Patricia Palmer confirmed this week the dispute between Commissioner Leigh Schlumper and the rest of the County Commission remains at a standstill after nearly three weeks of debate and discussion.

The issue arose shortly after January 3, when chairman Tim Higgins was re-elected. Traditionally, the County Commission has rotated the chairmanship every year, and Schlumper was slated to serve as this year’s chairman.

After the vote, attorney Lee Parks, who represents Schlumper, sent a letter to county administrator Theron Gay about the chairmanship.

“As you know, I represent Leigh Schlumper. She advises that she has been denied her scheduled rotation as Chairman at the meeting on Thursday, January 3,2008. This is blatant retaliation against Commissioner Schlumper who has complained, both through counsel and directly to you and the Board of Commissioners, of sex discrimination,” he wrote.

Parks also said the county is in violation of the Voting Rights Act since it has unilaterally made a material change to its governance without seeking pre-clearance from the Department of Justice.

The attorney closed the letter by saying that unless the situation was remedied by January 14, legal action would occur. But the deadline came and went, and still the issue has not been decided.

But the issue could be discussed at the county retreat Feb 2. Palmer said the county has not formalized the agenda, but said it has been mentioned as a possible item.

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