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Fayette to revamp development authority with 5 new members

The Fayette County Commission on Thursday will appoint five brand-new — and younger — members to the nine-member Fayette County Development Authority.

Commission seeks to eliminate 1 of 2 PTC appointments to gain 6th county slot

The new DAPC members will add a younger vibe to the development authority as the county looks specifically to attract high-tech companies whose management often skews younger than other corporate sectors, according to County Commission Chairman Steve Brown.

But it is not coincidence that the county commission is going in a different direction by appointing five brand-new board members. While four of new members are being appointed to replace current members whose terms are expiring, the fifth vacancy was created by the resignation of board chair Randy Hayes, who cited the timing of FCDA CEO Matt Forshee’s departure as an appropriate time for him to step down as well.

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Brown acknowledged there were some “communication” issues between the county commission and the FCDA in recent months, particularly in terms of being made aware of development projects and having the ability to scour bond issuance documents in advance of them being executed.

Brown said the problem does not tie back to any one specific project nor reflect on any of the businesses recruited to the county, but it was really a challenge on a staff level.

“They knew I was worried about it, and unfortunately the channel stayed closed,” Brown said. “... We wanted to be aware of what the activities were and be kept up to date, and we wanted to have a say in what happened because obviously in some issues the county and the school board is giving up something.”

Brown said the FCDA did nothing illegal, and he is looking at the new board members as a way of moving forward.

There were 13 applicants for the four positions that morphed into five vacancies with the resignation of Hayes, Brown said. Any of the applicants would have done extremely well, but the five picked by the county commission were handpicked for the niche talents they bring to the table.

“It’s a much younger group, the reason being we are trying to reach younger, newer companies such as high tech companies that have younger management,” Brown said. “We need to reach out to that group, speak that language and speak in the channels they appreciate. ... We are clearly expecting each of those authority members to be active participants in attracting and maintaining business in Fayette County.”

Beyond the county’s existing five appointments to the FCDA board, the cities of Fayetteville and Tyrone also select their own board members.

The new FCDA board members to be approved at Thursday’s county commission meeting are: Darryl Hicks, Pat Hinchey, Margaret “Maggie” Laton, Todd Strickland and Dennis Dorsey.

According to its website, the FCDA board of directors sets policy, determines annual goals and serves as liaisons between the business community and local government, “leveraging their individual talents by networking and building consensus to facilitate an improved business climate, diversified economic base, and stable economy that benefits each resident, government and business in Fayette County.”

As the new board members take office this month, the county commission is looking to update the intergovernmental agreement between the county and the cities of Tyrone, Fayetteville and Peachtree City. The county is proposing to eliminate the position tied to the former DAPC and also eliminate the position tied to the chair of the Peachtree City Airport Authority.

In return, the county wants the city of Peachtree City to have independence to pick any person they choose, in much the same freedom granted to the cities of Tyrone and Fayetteville.

With the exception of a contribution from Peachtree City to fund the salary of one employee, the entire FCDA budget is funded by the county commission.

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