2021 Georgia Code
Title 49 - Social Services
Chapter 3 - County and District Departments, Boards, and Directors of Family and Children Services
§ 49-3-2. Appointment of County Board Members; Terms; Vacancies; per Diem and Expenses; Role of County Board
- Each county board shall consist of between five and seven members who shall be appointed by the governing authority of the county. No person serving as a member of a county board on July 1, 2015, shall have such person's term of office shortened by this subsection. On and after that date, however, vacancies in such office which occur for any reason, including but not limited to expiration of the term of office, shall be filled by appointment of the county governing authority except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section. No elected officer of the state or any subdivision thereof shall be eligible for appointment to the county board. In making appointments to the county board of family and children services, the governing authority shall ensure that appointments are reflective of gender, race, ethnic, and age characteristics of the county population. Further, the governing authority shall ensure that all appointments made on or after July 1, 2015, are made from the following categories:
- Pediatric health care providers, active or retired;
- Appropriate school personnel, active or retired;
- Emergency responders, active or retired;
- Law enforcement personnel, active or retired;
- Private child welfare service providers, active or retired;
- Alumni of the child welfare system;
- Mental health care providers, active or retired;
- Former foster parents; and
- Leaders within the faith-based community, active or retired.
- The term of office of members of the county board shall be for five years and until the appointment and qualification of their respective successors.
- Appointments to fill vacancies on the county board caused by death, resignation, or removal before the expiration of a term shall be made for the remainder of such term in the same manner as provided in this Code section for original appointments. In the event that the governing authority of the county shall fail to fill any such vacancy or any vacancy caused by expiration of term on the county board within 90 days after such vacancy occurs, the commissioner may appoint members to the county board to fill such vacancies.
- Members of the county board shall serve without compensation, except that they shall be paid a per diem of not less than $15.00 per month and shall be reimbursed for traveling and other expenses actually incurred in the performance of their official duties; provided, however, that the gross expenses assessed against a county shall not exceed the amount of the budget of the county previously set aside and levied by the county authorities for such expenses.
- The role of the county board shall be to protect the well-being of this state's children while preserving family integrity. County boards may review the administration of all welfare and public assistance functions for the county, including such programs as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), employment services, child protective services, foster care, and adoptions, and shall report no less than annually and not later than December 15 of each year to the director of the Division of Family and Children Services of the department the effectiveness of the county department's provision of services, the needs of the community, and its recommendations for improved operations of the county department. County boards shall serve as an active liaison and a link between the county department and the local community. County boards shall support the overall mission of the Division of Family and Children Services of the department.
(Ga. L. 1937, p. 355, § 10; Ga. L. 1963, p. 222, § 1; Ga. L. 1981, p. 960, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 1354, § 1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 505, § 1; Ga. L. 2015, p. 552, § 2/SB 138; Ga. L. 2016, p. 376, § 1/HB 765; Ga. L. 2017, p. 774, § 49/HB 323.)
The 2015 amendment, effective July 1, 2015, rewrote this Code section.
The 2016 amendment, effective July 1, 2016, added ", active or retired" at the end of paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(5), (a)(7), and (a)(9).
The 2017 amendment, effective May 9, 2017, part of an Act to revise, modernize, and correct the Code, revised capitalization throughout subsection (e).
OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Commissioner has choice in selecting person for board.
- It was the intent of the legislature in stating that the Director of the State Department of Family and Children Services (now Commissioner of Human Resources) shall select for each position on a county board one of the three names submitted by the county commissioners so that the director may be given a choice. 1963-65 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 256.Commissioner has right to reject names submitted and appoint members.
- Since it is the legislative intent of this section to provide the director (now commissioner) a choice, the director has the right to reject the names of the few qualified who are submitted and, of the director's own motion, make appointments to fill the vacancies existing on the county board. 1963-65 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 256.Appointment of public assistance recipient creates conflict of interest.
- Public assistance recipient serving as member of county board of family and children services would have both opportunity and temptation to profit by his or her official duties. For this reason, a conflict of interest would arise in the event that a public assistance recipient is appointed to a county board of family and children services. 1981 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 81-32.Board member can hold over until successor appointed.
- Construing former Code 1933, § 89-105 and Ga. L. 1937, p. 355, §§ 9 and 10 (see O.C.G.A. §§ 45-2-4,49-3-1, and49-3-2) together, a county welfare board (now county board of family and children services) member whose term has expired can and should hold over and perform the duties of such office until the member's successor has been duly appointed and qualified. 1948-49 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 466.Section directory and not mandatory.
- Language contained in this section is directory and not mandatory and, therefore, the Director of the State Department of Family and Children Services (now Commissioner of Human Resources) may name members of a county board in the event that any county board is not named within a reasonable time as provided in that section. 1963-65 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 256.County board member not disqualified as candidate for elective state office.
- This section prohibits any member of the county board from serving on that board while the member is an elected officer of the state or any subdivision thereof. A county board member would not be disqualified as a candidate for an elective state office, but the member would be disqualified to hold membership on the county board after election and qualification. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 34.
Members of the General Assembly are elected officers and would come within the provision of this section. 1948-49 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 723.County boards and departments of family and children services.
- County boards and departments of family and children services are state instrumentalities and their employees are state employees. 1977 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U77-54.