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Brown picked as Fayette chairman

Rapson named county manager

Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown was unanimously selected as the commission's chairman Wednesday night in front of a packed house that came to witness and celebrate the swearing-in of new commissioners Charles Oddo, Randy Ognio and David Barlow.

As expected, the commission also hired Peachtree City resident Steve Rapson as the new county manager, replacing retiring county manager Jack Krakeel. Rapson most recently served as the city manager for Union City and also was previously the budget manager for Fulton County government. He also served with Brown previously on the Peachtree City Council when Brown was mayor from 2002-2005.

Rapson is highly regarded for his budget acumen, which will come in handy as the county continues to face declining budget revenues due to shrinking property values.

Brown announced that residents would be allowed to address the commission prior to the vote on each and every agenda item. The concept was ratified by cheering from the audience.



Robert W. Morgan's picture

Our not-so-new county commission chair/ARC representative is now back in power and basking in the temporary limelight of pre-arranged support from the 3 new commissioners. Most of us know what is coming, but for now I will simply say that hiring Steve Rapson is a wonderful way to start off the new year. The man is a pro. I trust he will be listened to and respected since the new commissioners followed Brown's lead long before they were sworn in. Welcome back, Steve (Rapson, that is).

Citizen comment before voting? Well duh! I think that is a pretty basic right of citizens and voters - although as Bob Lenox pointed out years ago - if you don't have the time to vote in an election, maybe we (a council or commission) don't have the time or obligation to listen to what you have to say. Agree completely and enforcement is so easy - just have the voter rolls in the chairman's hand and he can say yes or no to a potential speaker. That's real power.

Live free or die!

The selection of Mr. Brown as chairman by his acolytes was predictable after he practically dragged them to victory. Now Mr. Chairman, lets stop the games and manage without the need to grandstand in order to see your name in the paper every day. Hopefully you have learned from past mistakes (yours and others) and will guide us properly.

The selection of Mr. Rapson was a good choice. Let the man do his job and listen to his advise.

The commissions resolutions will be challenging. I don't expect any of them to be adhered to 100%, because, after all, this is government. At the end of the day though, if you are 100% open, then most would consider your term a success.

Wishing you the best.

ginga1414's picture

The commission room was packed last night during the swearing-in ceremony for our three new commissioners. The commissioners and staff brought in as many additional chairs as they could find and there were still people standing for the proceedings.

Several citizens made Public Comments about their happiness with the new commission, and quite a few other citizens voiced their great displeasure concerning the new Stormwater Utility and fee (tax).

New Commission Chairman Steve Brown said that he had personally returned more than 300 calls from citizens who are outraged by the new fee. He also explained that the infrastructure problem is one of those things that started as a snow flake 40 to 50 years ago and because the problems were put off to the next administration and the next administration it is now an avalanche.

Chairman Brown said that our new commission has inherited this huge problem and they will deal with the problem of collapsing culverts all over the county. The problem won't be "kicked down the road" again. He said the new commission will hold 3 town hall meetings where the public will be informed about the severity of the situation, and the public will have input as to developing a plan to solve the problem.

it is as simple as that.

Has SB been to meetings in the last 20 years talking about this problem? He's right, it has been ignored by everyone....

Pay the tax, fix the pipes.....

Well yes, it will have to be fixed but I think the Legislature approved a procedure last yr to use SPLOST funds if the Board approves. Commissioner Brown tried it last yr but with only 2 votes, it didn't work--maybe thisyr will be different.

The Road Dept of Public Works had a 2012 Budget of $4,201,573 and the Stormwater Management Dept had a budget of $329,845. What do you think happened to all those bucks?

Steve Brown finally has unlimited power in Fayette County and is accountable to no one. His fellow commissioners (read lemmings) are so pleased to be in his holy presence that they genuflect whenever he enters the room.

Fayette County voters disastrously followed the Tea Party, and we will now be forced to live with dictatorial leadership. Walt Kelly's swamp wisdom is Fayette County's reality: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

Congratulations Mr. Brown, you have reached the pinnacle of power in the county and are answerable to no one. Like with the re-election of President Obama, we must live with electoral decisions regardless of their rationality.

Don't be so quick to ring the 'doomed' bell--give this new Board of Commissioners a chance before you criticize them universally. I think you just may get a surprise if you think the others are all 'lemmings'. For me, I'm pleased to have this current Board in office and will support them when I feel it appropriate.

I hope you are correct about the new board of commissioners for all of our sakes. Mr. Brown does have some good ideas, and he clearly dedicates the time to understand the issues.

My fear is that voiced by Lord Acton: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Mr. Brown (as well as EVERY leader) desperately needs others to question him and reign in his power. These county commissioners were handpicked by Mr. Brown and the Tea Party for the sole purpose of rubber-stamping Mr. Brown's every whim. Few leaders can handle this much independence. Perhaps Mr. Brown will be an exception.

I don't believe for a minute they were hand-picked--they all had to survive a Primary election where they had opponents. And Commissioner Brown has one vote just like everybody else and it doesn't count any more. He just gets to run the meetings and if he gets a charge out of that--fine.

mudcat's picture

Stranger and Gym, please focus on the self-indulgent, self-promoting political animal named Steve Brown that you are talking about. The dude is exactly the person Lord Acton was warning us about. Jack Smith, Barack Obama, Barney Frank, Pat Swindell, Harold Bost, Newt Gingrich and Herb Frady were others. Let's see how good old Steve stacks up against them.

I think Oddo and maybe Ognio will push back against Brown's nuttiest ideas, but we shall see. Yes, we shall see.

ginga1414's picture

Based upon Stranger than's comments he?/she? doesn't really know any of our five commissioners.

Each one is his own person and that is one of the major reasons I campaigned and voted for them. Not one of them is a "yes" man. Some of them are more vocal than others but that certainly does not mean that they don't have their own opinions. They will have to be shown facts and figures to support another view.

All of our 2013 commissioners were driven to run for office because they wanted to give the citizens of Fayette County a greater voice in what happens within the county. Each one has expressed his desire to establish an open honest Fayette government. I have never heard any of these men speak to citizens with anything less than the utmost respect.

I strongly suggest that each nay sayer go to commission meetings, extend your hand, and get to know our commissioners. PLEASE get involved in the issues with which our county is faced.

When Jack Smith, Eric Maxwell, Herb Frady, Robert Horgan, and Lee Hearn were sitting on our BOC, my husband and I attended an informational "Open House" meeting with regards to the West Fayetteville Bypass. I asked one simple respectful question of two of those men and was immediately cut off at the knees with a snide, sarcastic, belittling comment. The more dealings we had with those five gentlemen, the more we realized they were not the individuals we wanted to represent our best interests. The decision that we didn't want that particular commission to represent us was also based upon many, many public documents that we acquired through "Open Records" requests.

I sent Commission Chairman Jack Smith an e-mail one time asking him a question. When he didn't reply the first two times, I sent him the same e-mail a third time. I specifically asked for a "REPLY" with my third e-mail. Mr. Smith replied that if I wanted to know what was going on in the county I should attend the commission meetings. Little did Mr. Smith know but I had attended the commission meetings and none of those meetings provided the answer to my question. THAT was the reason I was asking Chairman Smith to answer my question.

Personally speaking, I am looking forward to a more informative, open, and honest commission with our 2013 commissioners. For example, Commissioner McCarty announced during the first commission meeting of 2013 that he is working on and hopes to soon have a program in place where citizens will be able to watch our commission meetings online.

Ginga, I think your cmtis on tgt--what I do know is that I have already had an encouraging email exchange with one of the new commissioners and I remain confident that we will be well-served by this current Board.

hutch866's picture


Each one is his own person and that is one of the major reasons I campaigned and voted for them. Not one of them is a "yes" man. Some of them are more vocal than others but that certainly does not mean that they don't have their own opinions. They will have to be shown facts and figures to support another view.[/quote]

In Steve Brown's case of course, if the facts aren't readily apparent, he'll just make up some, and ginga will cheer him on and repeat any facts he makes up.

I yam what I yam

NUK_1's picture

We have one commissioner with three separate tax liens filed against him by the IRS and another who went Chapter 7 bankruptcy twice. I'm so sure these are people that will be good stewards of our tax dollars since they have shown they have no clue whatsoever on how to handle their own personal finances.

Steve Brown? LOL. He married well, I will say that for him. Sort of like Joe Biden.

The haters are out in full force. They constantly dump negativity about Steve Brown which is proof the right decision was made on the chairman vote.

The Jack Smith, Eric Maxwell, Pothead Horgan crowd screwed the county up but their band of supporting losers will trash Steve Brown just for breathing! That bunch belongs on the set of the The Walking Dead.

If each one of the three new commissioners is his own person, then why did all of them unanimously vote Mr. Brown as Chairman? If I am not mistaken, right after the election, Mr. Barlow said that he would consider nominating Mr. Ognio for the position. What about Mr. Oddo? Wouldn't he be considered a level headed chairman?

Mr. Brown was elected chairman because he pushed and pulled and carried the three men to victory. Some took more work than others, but he was behind all three's sucessesful wins. If they didnt realize that they owed him then, I am sure they were told right away.

One would think, especially after Mr. Brown led all three acolytes into an illegal meeting to select the new county manager, that one of them may have thought that Mr. Brown might not be the best selection.

That being said, I do hope Mr. Brown has learned to manage and we will see real soon how he and the others handle the pressures, because they haven't yet had to sit there and respond to the same question over and over by the citizens of the county. You might see a different tone in a few months.

ginga1414's picture

I can't say for sure but I would suspect that Steve Brown was chosen chairman because he has the most experience as a public official and with the Atlanta Regional Commission.

A whole lot of folks campaigned for our three new commissioners. We stood on street corners in the broiling sun holding campaign signs. We wrote comments and letters. We handed out flyers and personally spoke to voters telling them why we thought the three men were the best candidates. The candidates and their wives stood in the broiling sun along with the rest of us. They wrote comments and letters, handed out flyers, and personally spoke to voters. Please give credit where it is due.

With regard to what some folks are calling "an illegal meeting to select the new county manager," during the August 23, 2012 Commission Meeting "Commissioner Hearn said if he were one of the newly elected Commissioners, he would want to be involved in the process of hiring a new County Administrator. He said he had given Mr. Randy Ognio" (not Commissioner Randy Ognio) "a list of the resume's that have been received for the position, and he encouraged the new Commissioners and the two remaining Commissioners to get together, go through the list of applicants, interview the applicants, and make a deal for someone to come to work for Fayette County."

A little further into the meeting, "Chairman Frady agreed with Commissioner Hearn's comments as well and said the best thing for the Board to do was to sit tight and let the 2013 Board of Commissioners work together on hiring a County Administrator."

Both of those comments were taken from the Minutes of the August 23, 2012 Commission Meeting (pages 6 & 7)

Was it a set-up?

I specifically asked one of the new commisioners if he had received any instructions about what he could do and couldn't do after being elected and prior to being swown in. He said he was told nothing by anybody and had only reacted to a request from an existing Board member to meet and review candidates for the Manager's job. Much ado about not much in my view.

I am not a Hearn or Frady fan, but your missing the point. Commissioner Brown admitted to failing to notify the newspaper prior to the incoming commissioners meeting to review the candidates. Is it in the world? Heck no. But had the other side made them same mistake, I would bet you dinner that Mr. Brown would have also filed charges because they failed to notify the public.

If I were on the commission, I would have also voted for Mr. Brown as Commissioner, because he has shown to have thick skin. However, as a new commissioner, I also would have publicly, criticized myself for blindly following the leader and questioned his leadership.

Mr. Brown fought tooth and nail to get his posse elected. Of course they and their families also worked hard, but Mr. Brown had the most personally to gain with being nominated chairman and they all realized they owed him for sticking his neck out for them.

Is that correct? Didn't Commissioner McCarty abstain?

NUK_1's picture

If Steve Brown can get out of his own way and shut up sometimes, this present group can be the best in a while for FC. Appointing Rapson was a big win as he's not only very experienced and intelligent but he's been around politics for a very long time and also will go against Brown when he thinks it's necessary. FC got a class act here.

Ognio and Oddo are two guys I supported and think they'll do fine. Barlow has a lot to prove because of his past financial fiascos and his sometimes Taliban-style religiosity, but my recent dealings with the man have given me more cause for optimism than before.

I'm holding off on the pitchforks and torches for a while and we'll see what these folks can get done.

Nothing like Mr. Barlow sticking it to Mr. Horgan like proposing a drug and alcohol tests for commissioners, lol.

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