Rockdale elections board moves forward on at-large appointment

CONYERS -- With two new members on board, the Rockdale County Board of Elections and Registration held a cordial meeting Tuesday morning, reaching an agreement to renew the process to name an at-large member.

New members Jonny Brown, appointed by the Republican Party, and Caycie Dix, appointed by the Democrat Party, participated in their first meeting since their appointments to replace Democrat Garvin Haynes and Republican Lynn Brown, who is married to Jonny Brown. Haynes and Lynn Brown were removed by Chief Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation after they could not agree on an appointment for the at-large member of the three-member board. Chairman Cary Bond currently serves as the at-large member.

At Tuesday's meeting, Dix proposed that the board establish a plan to proceed on the appointment.

Cynthia Welch, Rockdale County elections supervisor, suggested that the board meet with the county's legislative delegation before moving forward on the process of naming a new member. Welch reminded the board that the previous board had developed a resolution to avoid the deadlock on naming the at-large member prior to Haynes' and Lynn Brown's dismissal by Judge Nation. Welch also pointed out that the legislative delegation had proposed changes to the board's enabling act during the previous legislative session. That legislation was not passed.

"We have not ever found what specifically the delegation was talking about," said Bond regarding that legislation.

Welch said that if the board wants to move quickly on amending the enabling legislation, it would be a good idea to have the legislation introduced early in the upcoming session.

The board ultimately agreed to pursue a meeting with the legislative delegation to discuss amending the enabling act. At the same time, they will begin to advertise for applicants for the at-large board seat. Applications will be taken until Dec. 31.

In other action, the board unanimously approved a resolution calling for a special election in Rockdale County to determine if Sunday retail sales of alcohol will be permitted in unincorporated Rockdale. The referendum will be held Tuesday, March 6, in conjunction with the Presidential Preference Primary. In addition, the board unanimously approved a contract between the city of Conyers and the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners to conduct a similar referendum on March 6 on behalf of the city. The last day to register to vote in the March 6 primary is Feb. 6, 2012.