Commission Chair Vetoes Vote on Police Merger


In an unusual move, Chatham County Commission Chair Al Scott is vetoing a vote taken by members of the commission recently on the controversial merger agreement that ten years ago combined the county and Savannah city police departments.

Five commissioners say that county residents have not been getting their money’s worth and the controversial negotiations have gone back and forth.  On October 23, those five commissioners voted to stop negotiations and finally move forward in establishing a separate county police department which would include steps to hire a county police chief.

But Scott told reporters he has the power to veto that vote. Scott says the action of forming a county police department would tap into county reserve funds and that long term, the cost of a separate department may be too expensive.

He says he doesn’t necessarily expect the five commission members who voted recently to “de-merge” to accept his veto without a fight. But he says to override his decision would take a two thirds vote of the nine member board.

Dean Kicklighter, one of the five commissioners told News 3 the “five who voted to de-merge are already planning to seek an opinion from Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens about the veto.”

Kicklighter tells News 3 that he doesn’t believe Scott has the authority to cast aside the vote.



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