The Cobb Citizen Oversight Committee recommended forming the committees to help the county become more efficient.
The Journal reported in May that county manager David Hankerson objected to creating such committees. Hankerson said compensation committees are typically only used to oversee pay for top-level executives. As for an audit committee, the county audit division manager said at the time that Cobb already takes steps to have an agency outside county government validate its audit functions.
Commissioners formed the two committees all the same and named the members at Tuesday’s meeting.
The Cobb Audit Committee will be chaired by county chairman Tim Lee and include Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, state court clerk Diane Webb and two people who served on the Citizen Oversight Committee, Brett McClung and Laurie Dyke.
Lee described the audit committee as “more of a process auditor than a financial auditor.”
“The committee needs to come together and clearly state its objectives and benchmarks and measurements of success, and they will do that probably in January, but ultimately it is to look at more closely ways to try to figure out opportunities for increased effectiveness and efficiencies within the county government,” Lee said. “They might look at the different processes within each department and see if there’s duplication occurring in other departments. Like if everybody is buying office supplies at Home Depot — should we combine that into a central service where we get a group discount. Things like that.”
Lee will also chair the Cobb Compensation Committee. That committee’s job will be to “look at our compensation, benefits and health care plans to see how we do, how do we compare with what needs to be done, if anything, what’s appropriate and that kind of stuff.”
Members are Commissioner Helen Goreham, Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren and two citizen members, State Farm agent Don Johnson and Home Depot’s Tim Hourigan.
The committees will likely hold their first meetings in January.
One of the points Commissioner Bob Ott raised during the meeting in arguing for employees to be awarded a one-time bonus rather than a permanent 3 percent raise was that commissioners were just appointing members of the two committees that very night.
“They need to be given time to do their intended reviews to determine the best course of action concerning the entire compensation package offered to county employees,” Ott said. “The citizen’s oversight committee told us in their report that there were pay differences exceeding the normal variances that need to be addressed.”
But Lee didn’t see it that way.
“Compensation is to look at the entire package — pay, health benefits and retirement package and how it compares to other jurisdictions and how it compares with the private sector,” Lee said.
The chairman said the committee’s work was more extensive than deciding on a 3 percent raise to employees who hadn’t had one in five years.
“That’s kind of a no-brainer,” Lee said. “I don’t need a committee to make that recommendation.”