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Motion to retain Golden on IDB fails
Jeff Golden.jpg

The Industrial Development Board will see at least one new face this month, despite a push to prevent the removal of Jeff Golden.

The county Policy and Personnel Com-mittee met Thursday and rejected a measure that would have removed IDB term limits – the reason why Golden must leave the board when his term expires this month.

Members voted 3-2 not to recommend the measure be considered by the full Warren County Commission.

Commissioners Steven Helton, Tyrone Sparkman and Ron Lee voted against sending the measure forward, while Commis-sioners Tommy Savage and Steve Glenn voted in favor of commission consideration. 

In February 2013, the County Commission placed a two-term limit on IDB members. One term is six years. 

Members can be re-appointed once, for a maximum of 12 years. 

Golden has been a member of the IDB for more than 30 years. His final term expires in October. This measure, if successful, would have allowed Golden a chance for re-appointment by the County Commission. 

“I think it would be best to send it on to the full commission and allow them to vote on it,” said Savage. “Since this is a change in policy, it would require commission approval. If this committee should vote to send it on, it does not mean this committee endorses it. It simply means we think it should go on to the full commission.”

County Executive Jimmy Haley, who has been interviewing new IDB members, voiced displeasure. 

“I did advertise, as I did the last time for the IDB, and I received 10 very qualified applicants,” said Haley. “I’ve spent 20-plus hours interviewing those applicants. It’s whatever the wishes of this committee is, but if you are passing a resolution to remove term limits for one person, you should probably recommend removal of term limits for every committee and agency that we have.” 

The IDB term held by Jenny Nafrada, who was appointed earlier this year to fill the unexpired term of Gary Judkins, also expires this month. Haley stated it was his intention to nominate the top two prospects for commission appointment during the Warren County Commission meeting Oct. 21.

Term limits were rescinded last year for the Board of Equalization and three boards that serve Warren County Airport.

“This sounds like a different situation,” said Helton. “The airport was struggling to find people willing to serve. It sounds like we have plenty of applicants willing to serve on IDB.”

Lee added, “You narrow your field of applicants at the airport because there are so few that have an understanding of aviation. There’s not a huge pool there to choose from. I voted in favor of setting term limits years ago. Unlike the airport, we are blessed with a lot of people who would be qualified to be on the Industrial Board. I personally think the world of Mr. Golden. I think he’s a great guy, but sometimes you have to pass the baton onto somebody else.” 

Experience will be lost, said Savage.

“I’ve had a lot of people call me, pro and con,” he said. “We do have a lot of good, qualified applicants. On the other side, I’ve had people call me and say that this person is already on the board and he’s very experienced and that knowledge will be lost.”

Helton added, “My concern with removing term limits is that we sometimes just rubber stamp reappointments. We don’t give a chance for new blood to come in. I realize Mr. Golden has done some wonderful, amazing things during his time on the board.”

While Haley will have his picks ready for consideration Oct. 21, any member of the commission may nominate someone as well. The county legislative body elects five IDB members. The city picks the other five. Because the county statute does not give the county executive sole authority to nominate, any member may make a nomination.

“The statute is poorly written,” said Robert Bratcher, county attorney. “It doesn’t specifically state that the county mayor will appoint and the county legislative body would confirm or ratify. Because of that, I would say both entities (the county executive or any member of the commission) may make nominations for IDB appointment.” 

With the term limit in place, that nomination cannot be Golden. If more than two people are nominated, the decision will be made by vote of the County Commission between the individuals. 

Committee members rejected sending a resolution to the Warren County Commission on Oct. 21 to rescind IDB term limits. However, the measure may be presented for consideration by any commissioner. It would require two votes to be successful: one to amend the agenda and one to rescind term limits.