Not all commissioners were pleased with the way the election of Glynn County Commission officers and the appointment of finance committee members shook out Thursday.
The commission elected its 2019 chairman and vice chairman, and approved appointments to the county’s finance committee.
Commissioner Mike Browning was unanimously elected chairman and the former chairman, Commissioner Bill Brunson, as vice chairman 6-0, Brunson himself abstaining.
“It will be a tough act to follow,” Browning said.
Commissioner Allen Booker was appointed chairman of the finance committee, serving with commissioner Peter Murphy and new commissioner David O’Quinn.
Browning postponed appointments to other board and committees, including the pension and personnel committees, because of two new commissioners who were sworn in earlier that night: David O’Quinn and Wayne Neal.
“Now that we have the two new ones seated, I need to talk with these commissioners to make sure they’re where they want to be, where they need to be,” Browning said. “… On these committees, I’m going to take a look before we get into the new year. There may be some changes. For tonight, we’re going with the finance committee.”
He said they needed to get on with appointing members of the finance committee because its next meeting is set to take place before the county commission’s next meeting.
Finance committee appointments were approved 6-1 with commissioner Bob Coleman voting against.
“It didn’t turn out like I was told it was going to,” Coleman said.
Coleman said he had a phone conversation with Browning prior to the commission meeting, during which he agreed to support Browning as chairman if Browning would nominate him to the finance committee.
“I gave Browning my support for his chairmanship, and you see what I got,” Coleman said.
He also opposed the appointment of brand new commissioners to the committee.
“You don’t just go and put a freshman commissioner on the finance committee,” Browning said. “You got to kind of grow into that stuff.”
Dealing with issues that come before the finance committee requires not only a background in financial management but also a familiarity with county government, something new commissioners may not have, he said.
“I voted to let the public know I don’t approve the stuff they’re doing here, and I’m going to fight it every chance I get,” Coleman said.
Browning, on the other hand, said it wasn’t something they’d set in stone.
“That’s something I’ve got to talk to him about. I told him that I’d think about it and we’d come back to it,” Browning said. “... I certainly want to accommodate Commissioner Coleman. He’s been on the commission for quite a while.”
He referenced his earlier comment about talking to commissioners to see what committees they want to serve on, adding that composition of the finance committee can also be altered.
“I did say we might make some changes, even the decisions we made tonight there might be some changes,” Browning said. “What we don’t want to do is nail them down before we get the new commissioners on board. The problem with all that is we have a finance committee meeting that’s going to take place before the regular commission meeting, so I put something together so we could get that meeting accomplished.”
In other business, the county commission approved a list of items recommended by the finance committee last month, including $1.87 million in spending on repaving Frederica Road from Kings Way to a point near Thrive at Frederica on St. Simons Island.
County Public Works staff said last month that the project could begin as early as February. The contractor will work at night on some of the more congested stretches of the artery.
“Day or night, there’ll be plenty of short-term pain and discomfort for all, I think, during this operation, but there is some long-term gain when we fix this,” Public Works Director Dave Austin said at a meeting in December. Along with the new pavement, intersections at Wymberly Road, Riverview Drive and Sea Island Road. Frederica will be widened to extend existing turn lanes approaching the intersection of Sea Island Road.
The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 17.