02/08/2014 – District Board Lines

Board Lines Recommendations

  • Non staggered 4 year terms starting 2015 regardless of the number and configuration of seats. Passed 9-0
  • Tweak district #2. Move a couple streets to district #4. Passed 9-0
  • Keep it at 9 seats as long as SPLOST or any other financial negative impact is decoupled. Coleman, Orson, Mayfield vote NO. Passed 6-3
  • Go to 7 seats as stated by the current law if there are financial consequences with going to 9 seats. Passes 8-1

Note: Move to 7 At large seats. McMahan, Mayfield, Orson Coleman, Irwin – Vote No. Fails 5-4

Video

02/08/2014 Board Retreat

Summary of Discussion (Extracted from Realtime Blog)

They are looking at a map. There are 9 districts including 2 at large seats. Melvin is saying that in May this will go down to 7 board districts. [Note: That hasn’t officially been decided. The board lines and number of districts has yet to be passed. More than likely, it will be 7.]

Johnson
The board districts must be equally populated. The DeKalb Delegation asked us to propose a map. They are not obligated to use it. Hopefully the board can come to a consensus of how we would like the map to look and make a recommendation to the legislature.

Orson
The legislature passed specific legislation targeted for DeKalb County. The legislation says it must go down to 7 seats. This is a very tight timeline. It must be passed by March 14th. We should only consider minor tweaks. We should also discuss staggered versus non staggered terms.

It’s something to note that half the districts like my own only had a 2 year term. One argument is that when only half the board is elected then only half the county is involved. Another argument is that it would be tough on a system if an entire board turned over in a single election cycle.

Coleman
1. We should recommend staggered or non staggered system. I prefer a non staggered system. All voters will be able to affect the outcome during the election cycle.
2. Aligning the board lines. The community seems to be happy with the way the lines are currently drawn. I recommend we don’t change the lines.
3. It is not a good idea to have such a long time between the election and when they take office. If there is a lot of turn over, that could create perverse incentives for an extended period of time.

Orson
This is all a function of it being a non partisan race. The general idea of the legislature was that non partisan races were really far down on the ballot on November.

McMahan
Did the delegation give us a deadline for a recommendation?

Johnson
Yes. About 3 weeks ago. It kept getting pushed back.

Morley
What’s the worse thing that could happen if we keep it at 9 seats?

Johnson
The law says 7, but we can make any recommendation we want.

Morley
We as a board have made great strides. If the legislature is really concerned about education, changing the number of board members is a disruption.

Mayfield
The people have spoken. They want 7 board members. SPLOST dollars are also tied to 7 board members.

Orson
I have been an advocate for 7 seats. Across the state, the larger boards are more dysfunctional. Thad is correct. SPLOST is attached to this. We can ask for anything, but if we ask for something out there, we’ll get nothing.

Coleman
I would rather have all district seats or all at large seats.

Johnson
I would like to see us either keep all 9 seats. I would also like to see either 5 or 7 at large seats.

Irwin
We should have 9 members and not rock the board we have

Morley
The best defense for defending our position is that we don’t disrupt what we have going for us now. I would like to see the 9 kept the way it is now. It’s for the children, the success, the moral.

Thurmond
It is within the law to recommend all at large seats. The question is should the legislature respect the incumbancy.

Orson
There is 0 chance the legislature will accept all at large seats?

Coleman
What are the consequences of having all at large seats?

Orson
There is a cost involved with campaigning in a larger district.

Thurmond
Secion 5, pre clearance, is not an issue any more. Without section 5, minority populations no longer have recourse. Not minority by race, but by the numbers in the district.

McMahan
I support the status quo and keep the way things the way they are. The legislature would need to change the law so we would still get SPLOST.

Carter
I recommend keep the same 9 seats. [Note: Carter was appointed to one of the at large seats.] It says that we have been affective at 9 and we shouldn’t change directions. Let’s drop the stagger. If you were elected 2 years ago, you knew that going into it and that is currently the law.

Coleman
I support non staggered 4 year terms starting 2015 regardless of the number and configuration of seats. I propose we vote on that now. Irwin seconds.

[Passes 9-0]

Thurmond
This board has received at least 5 standing ovations for the work we’ve done. Don’t underestimate the progress this board has made. This state and county is very much in support of this board. It presents a strong argument to continue to do things the way we are doing them.

Mayfield
While I enjoy working with all 9 of you, from North to South ends of this county, people want this board to go down to 7 seats. This is directly tied to SPLOST dollars. There is a lot of risk tied to this issue.

Morley
It’s a priviledge to be asked to make a recommendation. Money is important but you can’t put a price on children and education. The president of the Falcons said how much we are needed and how good we are doing. We would be remiss if we didn’t ask for all 9 seats.
11:07

McMahan
There is one tweak I would like to make between district 2 and 4. The corner of Clairmont and LaVista. The previous legislature drew the maps so that the existing board didn’t run against each other.

The district lines were gerrymandered so Womack wouldn’t run against McChesney. Please fix that so McChesney is districted correctly in district 4.

[Passes 9-0 (McMahan’s tweak)]

Johnson
I would like to stay at 9 seats or go to 7 at large.

Orson
I am a persistent proponent of 7 seats. These accolades do not reflect the size of the board. The legislature has taken a policy position on this. Challenging that policy decision will weaken our position.

Coleman
The easiest thing to do is go to 7 seats and not have at large seats.

Carter
We shouldn’t be concerned with what everybody else wants or says. We are doing good stuff and we believe we can continue to do good things as is.

Morley
When this law was made, they made it for the board at the time. It doesn’t fit the board we have now. You don’t throw the baby out with the bath water when things are going well. We’ve talked long enough. Let’s vote on the recommendation.

Mayfield
Let’s stay with 7 seats as the law is written. Since it’s coupled with SPLOST, there is a low probability that this recommendation will be heard. Furthermore, this will make for public conversation and fodder for the public.

McMahan
Asking the legislature to go back to 9 seats and decouple SPLOST is too much. In theory, I support 9 seats but it will upset the apple cart.

Campbell
We are just making a recommendation. I’m all for the 9 and letting the delegation decide what they want to do.

Orson
We are at day 21 in a 40 day session. We have to be practical.
11:47

Stan Jester:
It’s time to start vote on recommendations:
1st recommendation is to keep it at 9 seats as long as SPLOST or any other financial negative impact is decoupled.

Coleman, Orson, Mayfield vote NO. It passes 6-3

2nd recommendation. 7 At large seats.
McMahan, Mayfield, Orson, Coleman, Irwin – Vote No. Fails 5-4
11:52

Next Recommendation – To go to 7 seats as stated by the current law if there is a financial impact.
Morley votes no. Passes 8-1

Summary of Board Lines Recommendations
* Non staggered 4 year terms starting 2015 regardless of the number and configuration of seats. Passed 9-0
* Tweak district #2. Move a couple streets to district #4. Passed 9-0
* Keep it at 9 seats as long as SPLOST or any other financial negative impact is decoupled. Coleman, Orson, Mayfield vote NO. Passed 6-3
* 7 At large seats. McMahan, Mayfield, Orson Coleman, Irwin – Vote No. Fails 5-4
* Go to 7 seats as stated by the current law if there are financial consequences with going to 9 seats. Passes 8-1

One response to “02/08/2014 – District Board Lines

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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