In the end, county Chairman Tim Lee said he couldn’t stop Commissioner Lisa Cupid from appointing anti-tax activist Lance Lamberton to the county’s SPLOST Oversight Committee on Tuesday.
Lee said he opposed the appointment, but didn’t have a vote or veto power to block it.
“We’re going to agree to disagree amicably and very respectfully,” Lee said of Cupid’s decision. “I can provide her with my point of view, but ultimately it’s her decision.”
Cupid shared with the audience Tuesday night that after researching the way nominees are appointed to the county watchdog group, she learned that she didn’t need a vote by the Board of Commissioners to place Lamberton on the committee. The guidelines of the committee state that each member serves at the pleasure of the commissioner who appoints them, she said.
“No further text indicates that formal board approval is needed, and if I knew such would not have subjected Lance nor myself to being on the front page of the MDJ twice in two weeks, but I’ll take it,” Cupid said as the audience applauded her.
Lamberton is president of the Cobb Taxpayers Association, a group that has blasted the county’s SPLOST program.
Lee, who asked Cupid to postpone a June 11 vote to put Lamberton on the committee, later met with Cupid to share why he opposed that appointment.
“It’s important in my mind that that committee be independent as possible without having outside influences, so that whenever you have a political leader on any committee they tend to be looked at as that political leader as opposed to a citizen, and as such there is expectations of that political leader that are may be in conflict with the purposes of the board,” Lee told the MDJ on Tuesday.
Members of the SPLOST Oversight Committee do important work on behalf of the county, Lee said.
“I disagree with the appointment, but that’s what makes our board and our county and our country so great is the influence of other folks into the decision-making, and I respect Lisa for her opinion, and my hopes are that it all works well, and that I’m proven wrong. That is my ultimate hope.”
In her comments to the audience, Cupid said while she was elected in the Democratic primary last year, it is her intention to serve District 4 regardless of party lines.
She also touched on Lamberton’s Libertarian Party affiliation.
“While the party which is associated with Mr. Lamberton may have some impact on his interest in the SPLOST Oversight Committee, it really is of moot effect as to why I think he is appropriate for this board,” Cupid said. “I think that anyone who has interest in the board and is concerned about being a good advocate for making sure that that board operates effectively and is willing to put themselves out there to volunteer and sacrifice their time is certainly worthy of consideration, and I found that from my conversation with Mr. Lamberton that he was worthy of such consideration, and I look forward to your service, I look forward to supporting you, and hope that some of the controversy which was assumed to be associated with your participation will prove itself void. That will certainly be told overtime.”
Lee asked for the community’s indulgence as the board develops a better understanding of the appointment process. The board has gone through a metamorphosis over the last year, Lee said, in making appointments to various county committees.
“We’re trying to streamline that process so that we all have a good understanding. The county attorney is working on making sure that we follow the right process for each board,” Lee said. “There are some that are developed through legislation, others through ordinance, a lot of them have similar ways of appointing people, have different ways, we’re going through the process of evaluating that under review by the county attorney who will make it available to us as a group and as a community how we want to do that so we’re all working in concert. So we’re going to get there.”
This is the second time Lee has lost to Cupid in the appointment process. In January, Lee intended to appoint former Cobb Chamber of Commerce chairman and Bank of North Georgia president Rob Garcia to the Development Authority of Cobb County. But Lee withdrew Garcia’s name after Cupid objected. Lee said Cupid had called him to say she believed it was important that the appointee live in south Cobb.