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Lack of Trust In Cobb County, leadership needed at the top says County Manager


The first day of the Cobb County Board of Commission retreat was marked by candid and compelling remarks from County Manager Dr. Jackie McMorris. She delivered a no holds barred commentary, addressing the challenges facing Cobb County government directly to Chair Lisa Cupid and the commissioners.

McMorris acknowledged the achievements of the county government in 2023, but also highlighted impending challenges as the county moves forward, such as high costs, stretched budgets, and employee turnover.

McMorris also emphasized the lack of trust, both within the county government and from residents, as a significant issue affecting the county’s operations.

Defending her team, McMorris expressed that county staff have the best interests of Cobb at heart but are facing difficulties in carrying out their duties due to conflicting directions from commissioners. Pointing out the conflicts among commission members, McMorris emphasized the importance of cohesion and teamwork on the board to provide a unified direction for the county government. She appealed to the commissioners for understanding and urged them to provide integrated directions and not undermine the efforts of county staff.

McMorris highlighted the challenges faced by her staff in navigating the diverse goals and expectations of the commissioners, likening it to walking a tightrope. She emphasized the need for clear direction from the commissioners to enable the county government to effectively carry out its responsibilities.

She also expressed a desire to regain the trust and pride associated with working for Cobb County government, emphasizing the loss of institutional knowledge due to employee turnover would have detrimental outcomes for the county.

McMorris stressed the importance of teamwork and leadership, which has been lacking, from the top down, to address the challenges facing Cobb County government. She urged the Commissioners to restore trust and pride back into Cobb County and its government.

McMorris asked Commissioners for their understanding saying, “We don’t always get it right, but here in our heart and our desire is to try to get it right, but what I ask of you is, don’t throw us under the bus, as we’re trying to do the best we can – please don’t.” 

Pointing to the conflict among commission members, McMorris said, “I had someone say to me, If we acted sometimes, as a team, the way that we see some of our leaders act, y’all would ask us to step down.”

“We want to be able to please you, we want to be able to do a good job,” McMorris said. “We want you all to go away and talk about how proud you are of us. So, when we get it wrong, we ask for grace, we ask for forgiveness, but we say, ‘Tell us what you want,’ and we’ll go back and do it. But when we have to do it five, six, 10, 12 times, that’s challenging for us.”

In sum, McMorris wants more teamwork and cohesion and less divisiveness. She especially wants leadership to come from the top down, which Cobb government needs.


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