"I thank the commissioners for giving me the honor to come back and serve Cobb County," Powell said.
Powell's appointment was the first action taken by the board, which is supposed to have five members. However, with former Chairman Sam Olens leaving to run for state attorney general and Lee vacating his seat to run for chairman, only Vice Chair Woody Thompson and Commissioners Helen Goreham and Bob Ott were left serving before Powell was sworn in. Three votes are needed to pass an action.
"I would be delighted to make the motion that we appoint Mrs. Thea Powell as third district commissioner," Thompson said. The item was approved 3-0. As Powell approached the front of the room to be sworn in by Justice Harris Hines, the commissioners and audience members welcomed her with a standing ovation.
"It's really a privilege for me to administer the oath to Mrs. Thea Powell," Hines said. "I had the same privilege 23 years ago. It was an honor for me to do that then and it is an honor and a privilege for me to stand in the chamber, which is the heart of the county government. Commissioner Powell has served our county in the past, and brought to the office of commissioner her considerable talents, her refined skills, and her great energy. And we thank her for that. Then she went back to resume the life of a servant/leader, and we respect her for that."
Goreham said, "It's nice to have another gal on board."
The county will also has a new finance director effective May 1, as Assistant Comptroller Jim Pehrson was appointed to the position Tuesday. Current Finance Director Brad Bowers will retire on Friday as he accepted the county's retirement incentive. Pehrson has been with the county for 13 years and currently tracks and makes recommendations regarding the county's budget.
"I'm excited about the opportunity, but of course I'm sad to see Brad go," Pehrson said. "Brad hired me and I've been working with him for 13 years, and I learned a lot working with him."
Also Tuesday, the board voted 4-0 to discontinue any further action on a proposal from Dream Parks Management to build a $72 million sports complex in the southern part of the county, thus halting any future negotiations between the county and Dream Parks.
Dream Parks, made up of five local entrepreneurs, approached the Board of Commissioners earlier this month to talk about the county possibly issuing bonds for the complex. The board voted 4-0 during its April 13 meeting to review a feasibility study.
But Ott said the commissioners decided to pull out of any further talks as they found out more information about who would own the complex and how it would be operated, and more questions were raised that could not be answered in time for the complex to begin construction.
"Based on the information we had at the time, we decided to authorize due diligence on the item. Between then and now, some issues came to our attention to make us decide that the county should not continue with due diligence," Ott said.
In other news, immigration law activist D.A. King asked the board for a second time to revoke its membership in the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, which is paid for through taxpayer dollars, citing its opposition to recent immigration laws proposed by Georgia legislators.
The county also extended its suspension of the acceptance of applications for Special Land Use Permits for wireless telecommunications towers until July 31, as the county prepares to amend its codes regarding cell towers. The board first approved a temporary suspension on Jan. 26, to end on April 30.