Clayton decision to fire COO symptom of a divided commission?

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On Tuesday night the Clayton County Commission hired an old hand to manage the day-to-day operations of the county.

The fact that commissioners needed to hire Alex Cohilas, who served as chief of staff and the county’s fire chief before retiring in 2010, might indicate a rift between Commissioner Chairman Jeff Turner and three long-time commissioners who often vote against his appointments.

Turner, a former Clayton police chief, was elected two years ago promising fiscal reform. His most high profile hire was Arrelle Anderson, who ran the day-to-day operations as chief operating officer. But the commission voted 3-2 last week to fire her. Without cause. And now Clayton taxpayers will pay tens of thousands of dollars to Cohilas and the woman he replaced, who was paid to go away.

— Southside watchdog Tammy Joyner will delve into the fault lines emerging within Clayton’s commission in Sunday’s edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.