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Despite county policy, 24-hour notice goes down, as do term limits

Needless to say, it was discouraging for Commissioner McCarty and me to watch our three fellow commissioners vote against a measure to mandate that the citizens of Fayette County and the news media be notified a mere 24 hours in advance of any item coming before the Board of Commissioners for a vote.

The official Fayette County Policies and Procedures Manual plainly states, “All requests for placement of an item on the Board’s Agenda shall be submitted a minimum of two weeks in advance of the requested Agenda date,” (Administration, Commission Agenda, Section 100.03).

The official policy says “two weeks” and Commissioner McCarty and I were only asking for a meager 24 hours, but the answer was a resounding “no” from Chairman Frady and Commissioners Hearn and Horgan.

Why does Fayette County have ordinances and procedures, if not to abide by them?

I would be lying if I told you I expected Commission Chairman Herb Frady, now approaching 20 years in office, to support the measure on term limits brought forth by Commissioner McCarty and me.

Chairman Frady asked us for reasons to support our proposal on term limits and here is what we gave him.

Overwhelmingly, polls show voters prefer term limits.

Term limits downgrades seniority, favors meritocracy.

Term limits increases competition, encourages new challengers.

Term limits breaks ties to special interests.

Term limits improves officials’ tendency to vote on principle.

Term limits introduces fresh thinking, new ideas and eliminates the “that’s the way we always done it” routine.

Term limits reduces power of staff, bureaucracy, special interests.

Term limits creates less time to establish pork-barrel appropriations.

Term limits encourages lower taxes, smaller government and greater voter participation in elections.

Term limits builds a “citizen”-led government and drives out career politicians.

There are more reasons in favor of term limits than reasons against.

Term limits provides representative balance (The Founders Fathers called it “rotation in office”).

Commissioner Lee Hearn noted “that he believes voters are educated when it comes to electing commissioners and adding that he would hate to see someone such as a potential Thomas Jefferson limited to two terms” (The Citizen, “Fayette Commission says ‘No’ to term limits, 24-hour notice to public,” Thursday, Jan. 7, 2011).

To be absolutely honest, Thomas Jefferson supported our move to establish term limitations. In fact, Jefferson writing a proposal on behalf of the Virginia delegation, called for term limitations “to prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by continuing too long in office the members of the Continental Congress ....”(Thomas Jefferson, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian F. Boyd, et al., Princeton University Press, 1950).

Jefferson’s proposal made its way, unedited, into the Articles of Confederation. The fifth Article states that “no person shall be capable of being a delegate [to the continental congress] for more than three years in any term of six years.”

Jefferson, writing to his friend James Madison Dec. 20, 1787 from Paris, noted objections to key parts of the new federal Constitution. First and foremost, Jefferson noted the absence of a bill of rights and the failure to provide for “rotation in office” or term limits, particularly for the chief executive. (Manuscript Division, Jefferson (106), Library of Congress).

Thomas Jefferson offered a two-term limit. In 1807 he wrote, “if some termination to the services of the chief Magistrate be not fixed by the Constitution, or supplied by practice, his office, nominally four years, will in fact become for life”( Thomas Jefferson: Reply to the Legislature of Vermont, 1807. ME 16:293).

The movement for term limits in Jefferson’s day found its origins at the local level. The “rotation of office” came out of a sense of duty and a love of liberty. It was not until President Franklin D. Roosevelt that the current form of “perpetuity in office” began. President Roosevelt’s snub of self-limiting government was corrected by the Twenty-Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution in 1951.

It would be nice to get that next Thomas Jefferson in Fayette County sometime soon as we can unquestionably use the third vote to acquire term limits and 24-hour notice on any agenda item being voted on by the Board of Commissioners.

Steve Brown

Fayette County Commissioner, Post 4


Peachtree City, Ga.



Somebody call Ringling Brothers. He certainly doesn't belong on the county commission. We'd be better off with Attila the Hun in Hearn's seat.

mudcat's picture

And then he's going to become the third wheel of brown's funny little clown car? Are you believing this stuff.

Wouldn't get one African/American vote! Nor those who don't own a 1000 acres of property, nor any of the Hemmings family who might live here!
He wouldn't be able to use an I-phone or a computer. He couldn't make and sell wine and tobacco without a license, and he couldn't hire illegal temporary help with his plantation.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

and an I-pad and drive a car and even how to program a DVD remote control. After all, everyone on here knows how to use a computer (and there is not a Jefferson among us), so how hard would it be for Thomas Jefferson to master technology? Take him about 2 hours if he didn't get diverted by Facebook.

But before he ran for county commission I am sure he would attend a meeting and meet the existing comissioners and listen to what they have to say. And that would be the last we would ever see of him. He would think we had ruined his dream. Of course if he turned on C-span and watched Congress, he would slit his wrists.

Live free or die!

I assume from your response that you favor all his other foibles?

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Is everything driven by politics or party affiliation? No, Jefferson was not perfect. He did more good than bad, but as is usually the case with people that try to create something (which is far more difficult than sitting back and criticizing someone) they will have failures, setbacks and will make mistakes and if they are halfway famous, it will all be done under the microscope of the back benchers. And in today's enviornment, any moron with a keyboard can throw verbal rocks at anyone they want and do it under the cover of a screen name.

Live free or die!

You're arguing with someone who thinks Thomas Jefferson could not operate a computer. Then you bit on the "if you like Jefferson then you approve of every aspect of his life as seen from the 21st century" gambit. I suspect your adversary is not a Jefferson scholar. LOL.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

I am so tired of negative people who critique everyone and everything without offerring some reasonable and positive alternatives. I suppose we are all a little bit guilty of that once in a while, but some of these people do it all the time and it is all that they do. Did they have people like that back in Jefferson's day? How did he handle them? Challenge them to a duel?

Live free or die!

I have spent probably more time at Monticello, Jefferson's slave built home on the hill above the University of Virginia than most people.
He had a spyglass in his study to watch the University built--he didn't work you know, just supervised.

He diverted a small stream from the mountain just above his mansion down beside his home to keep live trout fresh at all times for the hordes he fed and watered at Monticello---a lot of Frenchmen who had some good wine for his cellar.

His slave cooks were located at the kitchen in a lower dig out (so as not to burn the house down). In order to keep the food warm transporting it from down there to the dining table. he put in an elevator to a room beside the dining area and built a large lazy Susan to the dining room to serve the food from. (he didn't serve it nor did the Mistress). Many house slaves did.

Do you really think Jefferson had working class stiffs in mind in the 1700s when he clipped in French ideas into our Constitution?

cogitoergofay's picture

I frankly cannot stand by and hear all of these posthumous accolades of one of the most overrated Presidents in U.S. history. Forget about the fact that he was a philandering, slaveholding, immoral debaucherer. What did he do? Most of what he is so wildly credited with writing was plaguerized from existing Western philosophers--- Locke, Robespierre, Montesquieu, Hume, etc. Louisiana Purchase? Napoleon was desperate for money--- Jefferson just happened to be President. And, he is the father of the nasty Presidential campaign, initiating the ugly challenge to his occasional friend, John Adams.

So, please, let's praise some one who has earned it.

Many of the ignorant praise him to back up their interpretation of the Constitution--which he simply transposed!

ginga1414's picture

A few public officials take their positions seriously but the majority of our public officials just say the first thing that pops into their heads.

Obviously, Thomas Jefferson was a wise man because we are still relying on his wisdom today.

The difference in a public official who takes his position seriously and one who doesn't is obvious here.

There is substance to what Steve Brown bases his thoughts on. Lee Hearn just says the first thing that pops into his head.

Thanks, Mr. Brown, for caring about this county and her people! Thanks, Thomas Jefferson, for leaving us your wisdom.

See you also think Thomas Jefferson was worthy of ignoring all of his weaknesses.
Much of what he did wrong was wrong then as well as currently.
Principles such as women's rights, slavery, infidelity--especially with a slave, did not take care of his slave children, classes of people (can't vote unless you have significant property, loved the Parisian females, drank excessively, and was a traitor to his country (British Empire).

His part in the writing of the Constitution has been amended more than was there originally (which was changed a lot during the writing process by others, and there are many yet who want to amend it further--(children born here not citizens--children!), clear up the gun toting right to individuals instead of a militia, and on and on.
(How is an infant at fault for being born in the USA?)

Jefferson had "wisdom" alright, he was well self educated and one of numerous upper class here from England who wished to become wealthy and have high rank.
He is also in a minor way responsible for what we had after winning independence by war and death, but as to now, his wisdom is old-fashioned and wrong.

It is just strange to me that our current radicals must bring up the "founding fathers" for every radical thing of which they approve.

Those old dudes served their purpose but aren't useful for what is needed now.

ginga1414's picture

Your first paragraph is dedicated to your description of Thomas Jefferson's "weaknesses." One of your comments in that paragraph is well documented. However, I would greatly appreciate it if you could provide documentation for the rest of your comments.

Roundabout, did you learn anything from your father and/or grandfathers? I learned a great deal from my father and grandfathers. Everything I learned from them has been very beneficial to my life and I have passed along that knowledge to my children.

Wisdom and knowledge are never "old-fashioned." Wisdom provides food for thought. Knowledge is a stepping stone to further knowledge.

Hopefully, someday we will all be "old dudes" and old dudettes who served our purposes well. If we do serve our purposes well, future generations will be able to build upon the wisdom and knowledge we leave behind. Whether that wisdom and knowledge is based upon positive things that have impacted our lives, or negative things that have impacted our lives, if it is passed along it will serve a purpose well.

I give up.
My whole point was that TEAS and others who use a generally faulty person as a guideline for one little thought are wrong.

I suppose in your book that Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini, several mass murderers, et., have good things we should refer our kids to?

Jefferson lucked out and got credit for the USA partly, but he can't be credited with wanting us to do everything we now want to do and refer to him for instructions. He was a selfish man.

I am not going to defend every little piece 0f history that you don't want to research about him.
You tell me what he specifically did that was so wonderful!

I suppose Simon Legree has some good points on horse whipping?

His had to be one of the dumbest comments in recent local political history. He should make sure his brain is engaged before putting his mouth in gear. No wonder he got canned in Fayette County.

tortugaocho's picture

But that is not even the main problem. Lots of average folks serve. His problem is that he has bedded down with the "build more roads" folks and he won't give it up. That's Hearn's main problem. The comment about Jefferson? Reminds me of many of the dumb things Annie McMenamin used to say.

You don't graduate from GA Tech & pass the exam to get "PE" after your name by being "underequipped"--now when and how one uses what one is equipped with is a different issue. And BTW, we didn't need term limits to get rid of Smith & Maxwell, did we?

Mr. Brown's reasons for wanting term limits are sound. However - often what term limits accomplish is an un-elected staff person with more knowledge and 'power' than an elected official. I'm sure that this can be handled ethically - just haven't seen it done lately unless the newly elected person enters the office with knowledge of what has gone on before - and hires a trusted and knowledgeable staff person.

911inside's picture

The list goes on and on with my disappointment on the decisions these guys make. 24 hours notice to the public on a vote is ridiculous but that's how it'll be cuz they said so.

I'm let down again at the land grabs for the West and East bypasses and the Corinth Road bottle neck which will occur and only create more congestion within the County. Love that red light between the hospital and Tyrone Road. I had always hoped someone would put a road and a red light there.

I can only hope and pray that Heaven above will bring condemnation on this squandering of public money. In the meantime, living for 2012 to get 3 of them out of here.


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