The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to disband the Civil Service Board, which hears and decides disciplinary appeals brought by terminated or demoted employees, in favor of a single administrative hearing officer.
A second and final vote formalizing the change is scheduled for June 25.
The unilateral move comes after state lawmakers declined to take up the matter over the last two years.
The Civil Service Board was created in 1968 by constitutional amendment, and its members serve four-year terms.
Four of the members are appointed by the commission, two are chosen by a majority of government employees and one by other elected officials in the county, including the sheriff, judges, clerk of Superior Court and tax commissioner.
County officials have invoked a “Home Rule” provision to replace the board with a hearing officer, who must be a qualified attorney practicing for at least five years and in good standing with the state bar.
County Attorney Bill Blalock has said the Civil Service Act has been amended at least a half dozen times using the Home Rule process.
Municipalities, including Gainesville, have made similar changes in recent years to how they handle employee hearings, doing away with a board in a favor of one hearing officer.
Compensation for the hearing officer will be set by the Board of Commissioners.
Employees whose cases are heard by the officer would still have the same avenues of appeal available to them.
In other business Thursday, the Board of Commissioners approved a rezoning request for 91,400 square feet of commercial development on a property located at the intersection of Old Winder Highway and Howington Road in Braselton.
Developer Inland, LLC, is building office and retail space at that location to piggyback on the opening of the new Northeast Georgia Medical Center nearby.