Terms unknowingly lapse for three members of Warner Robins Building Authority which oversees golf course

chwright@macon.comFebruary 8, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Terms for three of five Warner Robins Building Authority members unknowingly have lapsed, golf pro Jarred Reneau discovered this week while attempting to find out when the term for a currently vacant seat ends.

City Attorney Jim Elliott said City Council has been notified and will review terms at its regular council meeting Feb. 18. Though board members’ terms are supposed to be only four years, Elliott said the terms technically never ended.

“The statute that created the Building Authority says members serve until their successors are appointed,” he said.

The Building Authority oversees the city-owned International City Golf Course and has made several decisions in efforts to grow the course over the past two years.

This week, the board nominated former mayor and former Building Authority member John Havrilla to take over the position Dean Cowart resigned from in December. Mayor Chuck Shaheen could propose that nomination or his own for City Council approval.

The most recent records Reneau found at City Hall listed Havrilla’s old term, which Councilman Daron Lee took over more than three years ago. Cowart’s term ended in August 2011, according to the list.

Terms for Chairman D.C. Childs and current board member Ralph Nelson expired in January 2012.

Councilman Paul Shealy and Lee hold terms expiring in March.

Reneau said he has asked council to review all of the appointments, including the upcoming ones, at its next meeting.

If approved, Havrilla will finish Cowart’s abandoned term as if Cowart had been reappointed in 2011.

Reneau said when he asked the city clerk’s office this week when Cowart’s four-year term was supposed to end, the clerk did not have records of the terms.

“They thought (the mayor’s office) had it, but they didn’t, so I went to the city attorney,” Reneau said.

Elliott said the clerk’s office and mayor’s office historically have kept records of city boards’ terms and members.

“That’s how it’s always been done,” he said.

In response to a reporter’s request for an interview about how board members’ terms have lapsed, Shaheen wrote in an e-mail that he would support Childs’ board recommendations to council. He did not address board terms.

Reneau said he will keep an updated list of the Building Authority members from now on.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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