Each year, the the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia hosts three Vinson Fellows; exceptional students seeking experience in public administration and government. In the Fall of 2011, one fellow, Cameron Day, teamed up with the Vinson Institute's local government services Manager, Ted Bagget, and the Coweeta LTER in a cross-campus collaboration to study long-term shifts in local government in southern Appalachia.
Day is a history major from Summerville, Georgia, in Chattooga County, one of only nine counties remaining in Georgia with a sole-commissioner form of government. As part of the project, he interviewed several sole commissioners. Together with Dr. John Chamblee, Dr. Carolyn Dehring and Dr. Ted Gragson, Day and Baggett also developed a database of changes in county governance from the recorded changes in state law, specifically those encoded in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA). The database will be used to relate the growing complexities of governmental responsibilities to long-term changes in the form of government across the Coweeta LTER study area.
More information on this year's Vinson Fellows Program is available here.