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Tam declines Judicial Qualifications Committee nomination
Brian Tam950x600
Brian Tam. - photo by FCN file photo

SOUTH FORSYTH -- A former Forsyth County commissioner will not be taking a spot on a new state committee.

Former District 2 Commissioner Brian Tam said in email on Tuesday he does not plan to serve on the state Judicial Qualifications Committee, citing time constraints with his family and businesses.

“When I decided not to seek a fourth term on the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, I stated that I wanted to take some time this year to be with my family, focus on my existing businesses and be more involved with my newest restaurant that opened this past June,” Tam said in the email. “This facility opened for lunch earlier this month to a terrific response and will require more of my time than I had anticipated when I accepted this nomination.”

Tam said he was sworn-in to the position, but decided after the first meeting to not move forward after looking at the schedule and travel required over the six-month appointment.

In a phone interview, Tam said he is thankful for the opportunity.

“I am humbled and honored by the trust the Lt. Gov. [Casey Cagle] has placed in me,” he said.

The Judicial Qualifications Committee was organized after voters supported a change in November 2016. The group conducts investigations and hearings for ethical misconduct by judges.

Tam served on the Forsyth County commission from 2004-16 and did not seek re-election last year.

His nomination to the board was not without controversy, with many calls being made to state senators and Cagle.

Phillip Barlag, of the Sharon Springs Alliance, said one state senator had received an “unprecedented” number of people contacting him and said Tam should not be in an ethics position due to past issues.

In an email reportedly to those who would confirm Tam, which Tam said they had received many copies, allegations charge Tam with bringing the county debt to over $1 billion, favoring developers and approving zonings for areas with overcrowded schools.

Tam said the allegations also included criticisms made by state Sen. Michael Williams, but did not include a subsequent apology from Williams at Tam’s final commission meeting.

He also provided a letter from Barbara Luth, the county’s supervisor of voter registrations and elections, stating Tam had paid a fee on a financial disclosure statement he had filed a day late, which some had alleged he did not pay and had a violation.