Battle over, Brown reappointed Fayette chair
There was no battle Thursday night for the chairman’s spot on the Fayette County Commission. Instead, white flags were waved by all parties involved and incumbent Steve Brown was unanimously reappointed to the post.
Brown and fellow Commissioner David Barlow shook hands on the dais and hugged it out immediately after Barlow apologized to the commission and the citizens and taxpayers of the county “for any harm or any ill will that I have brought against this commission.”
In the photo at right, commissioners David Barlow (L) and Steve Brown (R) shook hands and hugged out their differences Thursday night. In the middle is Commissioner Charles Oddo, whose bid to replace Brown as chair was rebuffed by a unanimous vote to reappoint Brown to the role following an apology from Barlow for “any harm or ill will” his previous comments may have brought to the commission. Photo/John Munford.
As they hugged, the crowd applauded as the two put their differences behind them.
Last week, Barlow told The Citizen that he would not support Brown’s reappointment as chair and instead he would vote for Commissioner Chuck Oddo. Barlow cited how Brown has written letters to the editor and online blog posts casting the commission in a poor light along with unnamed reports that his reputation on the Atlanta Regional Commission board has led officials to hesitate to work with him on county transportation matters.
Oddo, who had similar concerns, expressed a list of misgivings he had over Brown’s reappointment as chair in early December via an email to Brown. But Thursday night, Oddo characterized the mostly behind the scenes disagreement between commissioners as “a spat” and he asked citizens to bear with the commission as they worked the matter out.
“There’s one thing that everybody needs to know about this group of men that are up here,” Oddo said. “Every one of them has Fayette County in his heart. I haven’t seen anything from anybody else up here, who only has the best interest of this county at heart and its citizens at heart. ... Whatever I did during this time period was done for the county, not for me. ... I don’t operate that way. I can’t think that way.”
It was Brown himself who opened the meeting by glossing over the behind the scenes battle that went public after The Citizen began inquiring last week about a move to elect a chairman other than Brown.
“Sometimes families get into fussing and feuds, it happens all the time,” Brown said. “I just want people to know: we’ve talked things out. These issues are dead and gone. I appreciate my colleagues. We will work together and continue do what is in the best interest of the citizens of Fayette County. Things are healed and we are back up to full speed and we look forward to a very, very productive 2014.”
At the end of the nearly three-hour meeting, Commissioner Allen McCarty said he got a lot of emails on the chairmanship, with them running 96 percent in favor of Brown staying as chair.
Earlier in the meeting, McCarty said he knew Brown and Barlow would patch their differences, but in case they didn’t he planned to offer himself to be the new chairman.
When it came time to vote, Barlow authored the motion to reappoint Brown as chair with a second from Commissioner Randy Ognio. It passed unanimously.
Oddo was also unanimously reappointed as vice chair.