Familiar faces in Fayette leadership posts

The 2013 Fayette County Commission consists of (L-R) David Barlow, Steve Brown (chairman), Randy Ognio, Charles Oddo and Allen McCarty. Barlow, Ognio and Oddo are serving in their first elective offices. Photo/John Munford.

With three new commissioners on board, the Fayette County Commission last week selected Peachtree City resident and former Union City manager Steve Rapson to be the new county manager.

There was a packed crowd at the commission chambers in Fayetteville following the swearing in of new commissioners David Barlow, Charles Oddo and Randy Ognio.

Another decision was the unanimous selection of Commissioner Steve Brown to serve as the group’s chairman for the year. As chair, Brown will run meetings and serve as the county’s representative to the Atlanta Regional Commission, an agency that controls state and federal transportation funds.

The new commission selected an interim county attorney, Dennis Davenport of the Fayetteville law firm McNally, Fox, Grant and Davenport.

Davenport has represented municipal governments in the area, and one of the firm’s other principals, Bill McNally, was Fayette’s county attorney for two decades prior to the commission hiring an in-house attorney for most of its legal needs.

In the interim role, Davenport will be compensated at $150 an hour with no retainer and no minimum of hours guaranteed. There is no contract for the arrangement.

The hiring of Rapson was no big surprise. His county and city government experience includes work as the assistant city manager and chief financial officer for the city of Sandy Springs, budget director and chief of staff for the chairman of Fulton County government.

Rapson also previously held the position of assistant city manager and financial services director in Peachtree City from 1994-1998 before serving two years as the purchasing director and assistant comptroller for the Fayette County Board of Education.

Politically, Rapson served on the Peachtree City Council alongside Brown from 2001-2005.

The commission is expected to vote on Rapson’s employment contract this week, as Davenport was charged with brokering the deal with the new county manager.

As for the new commissioners, they expressed their thanks for the public’s support at the close of the meeting.

Oddo asked citizens to “help me do a good job: show up, talk to me, tell me what things you want and keep me on the straight and narrow.”

Ognio said he appreciated the support of the public and also his family.

“I just want to thank everybody for their support and I look forward to doing the best of my ability up here,” Ognio said.

In his remarks, Barlow read a quote from whom he first identified as “an esteemed law professor”. That quote noted that many of the great reformers in American history “were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not interject their ‘personal morality’ into public policy debates is a practical absurdity.”

That law professor, Barlow later identified, went on to become U.S. President Barack Obama.

Barlow in his campaign was unapologetic for relying on his Christian beliefs. Before his run for office, Barlow created a stir last year in challenging Board of Education member Leonard Presberg at a February 2012 open meeting to state his religious beliefs. Presberg declined.