Mayor says he will renew call to downsize commission

10:00 am | January 10, 2013

Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey intends to petition the County Commission to reduce its numbers … again.

Photo by Max Hrenda
Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey has tried to have the County Commission downsize itself since taking office in November of 2010.

“We really don’t need this large a body of representation,” Humphrey said. “In the coming months, we’ll be petitioning the County Commission again to consider downsizing before the 2014 elections.”

Humphrey’s initiative to reduce the size of the commission has been nothing if not controversial. During his last attempt, on Dec. 19, 2011, he asked that the commission allow the county attorney to draft a resolution for a private act that would have put the issue on the voting ballots for the elections of 2012.

“In a constitutional committee form of government, the people do not have an opportunity to submit a referendum to downsize,” Humphrey said. “With the commission denying that private act to allow it on the ballot, they shut the people out.”

Currently, the county is divided into eight districts, with three commissioners elected to represent each district. Humphrey said that, ideally, he would like to have only one commissioner per district, with an at-large commissioner serving as chairman.

“Even if we could go from 24 to 16, that would be a major improvement,” Humphrey said. “The fewer people you can get involved, the quicker you can come to a consensus.”

The mayor’s initiative will not come as a surprise for many on the commission.

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