Hall County is doing some spring cleaning on its advisory boards.
Starting with the Parks and Leisure board, the county is making changes to the bylaws that would do away with years of fuzzy resolutions — which would leave longtime board member Larry Poole unable to serve.
One of the proposed changes would exclude county employees from serving on the volunteer Parks and Leisure Board. Poole, who works in the engineering department, said he would be sad to leave the board.
“I really love what we do,” said Poole, who has served on the board since 1995. “I really got to see a bunch of great things accomplished. ... I’ve enjoyed being involved in all that.”
But County Administrator Charley Nix said the changes are meant to avoid any future issues and have nothing to do with current board members.
“He’s done a great job. It’s certainly not a problem with Larry,” Nix said. “I personally prefer that we not have county employees serving on those sorts of boards.”
The Parks and Leisure Board meets to discuss issues and make recommendations to the department and the Hall County Board of Commissioners, which ultimately decides on all matters.
Nix said if county employees serve on boards, it creates the potential for a problem in the chain of command.
“You could see how you could have conflicts internally if you have a county employee serving on a board who’s sort of helping to advise directing the efforts of a director-level employee. It’s confusing signals,” Nix said.
Poole, who is also the mayor of Gillsville, said the issue was addressed when he was hired by Hall County a year after being appointed to the Parks and Leisure Board.
“That was reviewed at the time to see if there was any problem or any conflict, and it was determined that it wasn’t,” Poole said.
“They reviewed both my status as a park board member and as mayor. ... I was allowed to remain in both positions.”
Nix said having a diverse group also makes for a more effective board.
“It seems to be unbalanced having a board loaded up with county employees,” Nix said. “I feel like they ought to have a variety of folks from different disciplines.”
If the changes to the Parks and Leisure Board are approved, Poole will likely serve through the end of his term on Dec. 31.
It is likely the county’s other key advisory boards, including the library board and the planning board, will also be looked at this year.
“We’ll probably go through all the boards and suggest the same thing,” Nix said. “It’s just defining some of this stuff that’s never been defined very well.”
Nix said with so much transition over the years between commissioners and county staff, it’s important to revisit the boards.
“From time to time you have to look at all this stuff and make sure you have clearly defined objectives,” Nix said. “This stuff goes back to 1956.”