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Herald Legal Notice 3.6.2013This legal notice appeared in the Henry Herald this week. Senator Rick Jeffares is trying to silence our voices by changing the law so that the Commission Chairman, currently Tommy Smith, can no longer vote on matters that come before the Board of Commissioners.

The current Henry County Code reads:

Sec. 2-2-24.1 Additional duties of the Chairman

(a) The chairman of the board of commissioners shall be the chief executive and elective officer of the county and shall be a full voting member of the board of commissioners.

Apparently, Chairman Smith is an obstacle to Jeffares agenda of big government spending (41% of the The Water Authority’s current annual budget goes to debt service) and crony capitalism (See Jeffares airport land owners campaign donations) over at the Water Authority where he, in my opinion, illegitimately sits as a board member.

District 2 Commissioner Brian Preston has been, for two months now, skirting the intent of the law that required him to make a nomination to the Water Authority at their first meeting in January. Just prior to that meeting, Preston felt the backlash from voters who opposed his intent to nominate Jeffares, so instead, he cowardly tabled the matter indefinately so he could have it both ways; Jeffares gets to remain on the Water Authority as a carryover from his previous term, and Preston got to escape any further heat from the voters who opposed him on this.

Sec. 2-10-21. – Water and Sewerage Authority generally.

[S]uccessors shall be appointed by the board of commissioners every two (2) years at the first meeting of the board held in January. Successors shall be appointed for terms of office of two (2) years and until their successors are appointed and qualified.

Chairman Smith has made it known that, if and when Jeffares is ever officially nominated to the Water Authority, he will vote against it. It’s clear this egregious abuse of power by Jeffares is nothing more than a personal vendetta to try and show everyone who’s boss. What a thug.

And here is how we know this is nothing more than Jeffares attempt at retaliation.

Last year when local legislation was put forth regarding changes to the City of McDonough’s Charter, Jeffares said he opposed it because the City Council had not unanimously voted to support the changes. And, the year prior, when local legislation was put forth that made changes to the City of Stockbridge, again Jeffares opposed it for the same reason; the City Council was not on board with the change.

Henry Herald April 20, 2011

“To me, this was a day-to-day operation bill,” Jeffares said. “The City of Stockbridge, as large as it is, needs a city manager, in my opinion. The bill got changed to a referendum in the House. That’s not what the city officials asked for. That’s why I voted against it. If they don’t ask for it, I don’t think it’s something we should push.”

(Emphasis added)

Yet now, all of sudden, Jeffares hypocritically intends to introduce this local legislation without any notification or input at all from the governing body affected by it, namely the Henry County Board of Commissioners. As a matter of fact, Jeffares waited until this last Wednesday, the day after the regularly scheduled meeting of the BOC, for this notice to be published. This was likely a move to deny the Commissioners any opportunity to even vote on the matter prior to the deadline to submit it before the end of the current legislative session.

If Jeffares believes so strongly that the Chairman should not be allowed to vote on matters that come before the Board of Commissioners, he should have introduced this legislation LAST legislative session so that it would have gone into effect on January 1st of this year. But he didn’t, even though he was well aware that in an election year the possibility existed there might a new Chairman. Instead, he wants to change the rules in the middle of the game to satisfy his own personal vendetta. And this, ladies and gentleman is coming from the Chairman of the State Senate Ethics Committee. Shameful.

Additionally, if this was not a case of Jeffares seeking to specifically nullify the election of Tommy Smith, he would write this legislation so that it doesn’t go into effect until after Smith’s term ends in 2017. But there’s no indication that’s what’s happening here.

This power grab stunt would also give control of the BOC meeting agenda to an unelected bureaucrat in the form of County Manager Fred Auletta. This may prevent issues important to the citizens who elected Smith, like ethics reform or selling off wasteful land purchases, from ever coming in front of the BOC to be considered.

Jeffares legislation also seeks to give the County Manager authority to hire and fire employees who work directly for the BOC. Not only would this prevents the taxpayers from ridding ourselves of employees who have contributed to the fiscal mess created by that last Administration, but it would allow Auletta to stack those positions with individuals who would like nothing more than to sabotage the efforts of the Chairman we elected.

The citizens overwhelmingly elected Tommy Smith in order to stop the elite ruling class from holding hostage our local government any longer. Chairman Smith campaigned that his voice would be OUR voice in restoring fiscal sanity and stopping the cronyism to special interests paid for with our tax dollars. That is a problem for Senator Rick Jeffares which ultimately means, YOU are problem for Senator Rick Jeffares. By attempting to silence Chairman Smith he is tying to silence OUR voices and OUR agenda of smaller, more responsible Henry County government.

Take action to stop this power grab.

Contact Senator Rick Jeffares NOW and demand he stand down on filing this legislation that shuts out your voice.

rick.jeffares@senate.ga.gov

Then, call his office first thing Monday morning and demand he stop this assault on your voice. 404.651.7738

Then, contact your state representative and tell them to oppose any legislation that takes the peoples voice away from the current BOC Chairman who was duly elected by the citizens.

House District 73 John Yates
404.656.5126 john.yates@house.ga.gov
 
House District 76 Sandra Scott
404.656.0314 sandra.scott@house.ga.gov
 
House District 78 Demetrius Douglas
404.656.7859 demetrius.douglas@house.ga.gov
 
House District 90 Pam Stephenson
404.243.0200 pam.stephenson@house.ga.gov

House District 109 Dale Rutledge
404.656.0109 dale.rutledge@house.ga.gov
 
House District 110 Andy Welch
404.656.0109 awelch@swblawfirm.com
 
House District 111 Brian Strickland
404.656.0109 brian.strickland@house.ga.gov
 
House District 130 David Knight
404.656.7857 david.knight@house.ga.gov
 
Senate District 10 Emanual Jones
404.656.0502 emanj@mindspring.com
 

Also, contact your District Commissioner and let them know you expect them to take action to lead the effort to stop this. Especially Bo Moss and Gary Barham since they campaigned on giving our government back to the citizens. Let them know that if this passes, it takes their own power to hire and fire their own employees, and they will have to go begging to Fred Auletta for their issue to be placed on the meeting agendas for a vote.

District 1 Bo Moss bmoss@co.henry.ga.us
District 2 Brian Preston bpreston@co.henry.ga.us
District 3 Gary Barham gbarham@co.henry.ga.us
District 4 Reid Bowman district4@co.henry.ga.us
District5 Bruce Holmes bholmes@co.henry.ga.us

You made time during the campaign for your voice to be heard. It’s important that you make time now to protect that voice. Please don’t ignore this. Take action then share this with your friends and ask them to take action. If you get a response from your elected official, post it in the comments below.

For more information on this issue be sure to read today’s issue of Larry Stanley’s  Citizen Newsletter.