Meanwhile, Cobb voters will be heading to the polls in just more than three months (July 31) to pick the Republican nominee for county commission chairman. At present there are four announced candidates for the job, all Republicans, including incumbent Tim Lee. Yes, Cobb’s demographics are changing, but it’s likely that whoever is chosen that day will be the next chairman.
Cobb’s commission chairman is, in effect, the “mayor” of unincorporated Cobb, an area with a larger land mass and substantially larger population than all of Cobb’s cities combined. Cobb has usually had strong, dynamic leaders in the commission chair during the past four decades, and such a leader is especially needed now. It is a job that bears an unmatched responsibility for laying down a vision for where we need to be and what we need to do to get there.
Moreover, his decision to take a back seat (at least in public) and let the Chamber and CID steer the course toward the TSPLOST referendum and its contents hasn’t done much to shake the perception that he is their puppet.
But Lee’s strongest challenger at this juncture appears to be former Chairman Bill Byrne, who led the county through most of the 1990s.
Though a capable administrator in many respects, Byrne’s tenure was marked by his bombast and shoot-from-the-hip rhetoric. He says he has learned from his mistakes, and promises a “kinder, gentler” approach if elected. That’s good, because we suspect few Cobb residents would want four more years of the old Byrne. The question is whether he can make good on such promises. The jury is still out.
What we don’t need are campaigns that consist mostly of back-biting, second-guessing and the politics of personal destruction. Although such barbs have a way of working their way into print and into people’s memories, they don’t do much to educate voters.
It’s easy to criticize. But it’s not so easy to lead.
The best way for one of the hopefuls to prove to the public that he is the best-qualified to lead the county is use the time between now and July 31 to sell the public on his (or her) vision for Cobb, and tell us how to he’ll get us there.
The rest, as they say, will be up to the voters.