published Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Dade County updates commission name after mixup with federal government

Last April's tornadoes revealed that some arms of the federal government still believed Dade County, Ga., was led by a sole commissioner, causing some minor paperwork problems that officials say should end this month with a name change for the county governing body.

Officials in Dade now call their county panel the "Board of Commissioners of Dade County, Georgia," Commission Chairman Ted Rumley said Monday.

The county's last "Dade County Sole Commissioner of Roads and Revenue" was Larry Moore, who left office in 1992, Rumley said. Since then, Dade has been governed by the five-member panel it has today.

But some federal agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, still reflected the 20-year-old name and addressed correspondence to the sole commissioner, Rumley said.

"There's never been any problem with it till we went through the FEMA process when we had all the damage here in the county [from the April 27, 2011, tornadoes]," he said.

Some paperwork "got kicked back because we're a board of commissioners, not a sole commissioner anymore," Rumley said.

He compared the confusion created to that of a woman who marries but forgets to tell everyone her name changed.

"Our county has gone through several changes of government over the past 20 years, and no one corrected the actual name of the entity," said Don Townsend, whose title now is county clerk for the board of commissioners of Dade County.

"But it's more administrative than anything," Townsend said. "Financial institutions? Well, it really matters to them."

He said Dade County Emergency Services Director Alex Case last year had submitted an application using the name, "Dade County, Georgia," but that name encompasses all the county's elected, constitutional offices.

"Because of that, they fall under our tax ID number," he said. "The IRS had us listed as 'Dade County Sole Commissioner of Roads and Revenue.'"

That triggered the response about the invalid name from FEMA, he said.

While the wrong-name issue didn't cause problems in the past, Rumley said it probably was good to get it straightened out.

"We probably could have let it go, but it only took about 10 minutes to fix it," he said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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