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A request was presented at the June 14 Board of County Commissioners meeting for a measure to be placed on the November ballot to allow third terms for Elbert County Sheriff Shayne Heap and Treasurer Rick Pettit.
Without a special measure, by the time of the 2018 election, each would be near the end of two complete terms and would not eligible to continue in their respective roles.
Representing a group called Citizens for Free Elections (CFFE), Linda Krausert spoke during the citizen remarks portion of the BOCC meeting agenda to present a case for allowing the measure.
“Sheriff Heap is a tremendous asset to Elbert County,” said Krausert, who has lived in Elbert County for 26 years.
“He is professional, has leadership and integrity. I've seen him in action, and he cares about us and we care about him,” she said.
“He has great respect from local law enforcement,” said Krausert, who is the treasurer for Sun Country Meadows HOA in Elizabeth.
“He's earned a third term and the people should have a right to vote.”
Her comments given for the extension of Pettit's term were equally positive.
“Rick Pettit, based on the consensus, has incredible leadership qualities,” Krausert said.
“He's been highly instrumental in the budget process. People say his knowledge is needed in this department.” she said.
“He's part of the team. Rick gets things done.”
“We're not asking to eliminate term limits, but we are asking for citizens to have opportunity to allow them to have another term,” Krausert explained.
A dozen people took to the Elbert County Citizens page on Facebook following the BOCC meeting to voice their opinions, mostly in opposition to the idea, with the exception of one person simply writing “Yes” in a thread on the topic.
“The attempt to remove term limits for the sheriff has failed numerous times in the past. It would seem that most do not want to make such a change,” wrote Fred Beisser of the Parker area.
“The cost to the county in an off-year election would be tremendous,” wrote Elbert resident Jane Penley.
County Planning Commission Chair Dan Rosales wrote, “The Citizens of Elbert County have voted not for expanding term limits (in the past).”
“Eight years is enough then a change is good,” wrote Rosales, who lives in the Parker area. “Brings new ideas and reduces opportunities that may lead to abuse of power.”
The commissioners will discuss the inclusion of the measure on the ballot at a study session during the week of June 20. Among the considerations will be how much community support there is for the measure and examining case studies similar to the request for third terms, according to Commissioner Chris Richardson.
The deadline for a decision will be in August to allow sufficient time for the measure to be placed on the ballot.
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