Marlene Fosque is the newest vice chair of the Gwinnett County commission. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: Steve Schaefer
Photo: Steve Schaefer

Gwinnett commission skips Tommy Hunter’s turn in vice chair rotation

Gwinnett County commissioners altered their normal rotation for the vice chairmanship to skip embattled commissioner Tommy Hunter’s turn at the job.

Commissioners voted Tuesday to name Marlene Fosque, a Democrat, vice chair of the five-person commission. The vice chair leads meetings when the chairman, Charlotte Nash, is away.

Nearly three years ago, Hunter, a Republican, came under fire for Facebook posts he wrote calling Congressman John Lewis a “racist pig” and referring to Democrats as “Demonrats,” “libtards” and “a bunch of idiots.” For months, he drew demonstrators at county commission meetings and two women continue to protest his presence on the board.

Since at least 2012, the vice chairmanship has rotated among commissioners in numerical order. Hunter was last vice chairman in 2016. The role is usually assigned with less than a minute of discussion.

“Is it your time in the rotation?” Nash asked one commissioner in 2015. In 2018, she said, “I have to confess, I don’t know whose turn it is to be named.”

Commissioners decided to continue the procedure last year, even though it was Commissioner Ben Ku’s first year on the board.

“I’ll try not to vacate the country for a long period of time and dump it on you too quickly,” Nash said of Ku’s appointment.

Thursday, Hunter said in a text message that he had asked to be skipped in the rotation. He requested that the appointment not take place with other rote appointments and voted for Ku’s proposal that Fosque, who would have been tapped in 2021, take the role next.

“I know I will have to miss some meetings this year and don’t want to risk not having me or the chairman there,” Hunter said.

Hunter said he knew he wouldn’t be present for at least two meetings. Fosque said in Tuesday’s meeting that she would be happy to serve.

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