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County administrator, attorney have got to go

Hundreds of local Fayette County citizens have attended the Board of Commissioner meetings this year and left disappointed and outraged.

The commissioner meetings have grown from typically eight or 10 people last year to a packed room at most meetings this year. And, the mood of the crowd this year has evolved from utter disbelief to total outrage against Herb Frady’s behavior and the misleading information and outright distortions he and the other two holdover commissioners, Lee Hearn and Robert Horgan, have been feeding us.

A large number of attendees are disgusted at how these three commissioners and certain staff members appear to be pursuing agendas that are fiscally irresponsible and far outside the will of the people.

The case for removing Fayette County from the regional mass transit plan presented by Commissioner Steve Brown at the March 2, 2011 meeting was extremely compelling. Nevertheless, Chairman Herb Frady and Commissioners Lee Hearn and Robert Horgan voted against the motion even though they repeatedly said they opposed mass transit in our county.

The decision to defeat Frady, Hearn and Horgan in 2012 has already been made by a large number of voters and several of us are already working to that end. Surely by now they realize they don’t have the slightest chance of ever being reelected.

Two other positions, county administrator and county attorney, require an immediate change. Jack Krakeel, county administrator, and Scott Bennett, county attorney, have been working behind the scenes to keep the outrageously controversial positions of Frady, Hearn and Horgan alive.

Jack Krakeel’s promotion from director of Public Safety to county administrator by former Commissioners Jack Smith and Eric Maxwell along with three of the current Commissioners Frady, Hearn and Horgan has been a total disappointment.

Under Krakeel’s leadership, we have seen our transportation priorities replaced with lower priority projects benefiting developers at the expense of “we the people.” His attempts to justify the Road to Nowhere (West Fayetteville Bypass) are nothing more than poor excuses for bad behavior and represent a complete lack of transparency and honesty.

Krakeel recently participated in “off-site meetings” with elected officials to control the Board of Elections and to take away the ability of the Republican and Democrat parties of selecting their own representatives.

The motion to adopt this ridiculous scheme was passed along with pay raises for selected county employees was approved in a late December 2010 meeting by the outgoing Chairman Smith and [three of] his four cronies Frady, Horgan and Hearn.

About a month ago, Commissioner Brown asked Krakeel for a list of employees and pay raise amounts that were approved but his request has not been met. How ridiculous is that?

Quite possibly, one of Krakeel’s worst moves to date was his support for Scott Bennett becoming our new county attorney. Many Fayette citizens are eagerly awaiting Bennett’s and Krakeel’s departure.

There were other more qualified candidates than Bennett that applied for the position of county attorney. I suspect he got the job because he was former Commissioner Eric Maxwell’s personal attorney.

As city attorney, Bennett rendered some unusual legal opinions during his previous short tenure with the city of McDonough. Among those opinions was one where he said nobody could bring a camera into a public government meeting. This opinion was so off-the-wall and at odds with Georgia’s open meeting laws that he became the laughingstock of Henry County.

Another bizarre thing about Bennett was at the same time he was city attorney for McDonough he was also going around suing cities and counties in Georgia trying to ruin their sign ordinances. He was actually working for the billboard companies as their attorney against local governments.

Now you know why some of us feel so uneasy about his legal suggestions regarding the developer-friendly West Fayetteville Bypass.

Both Krakeel and Bennett have proven they are capable of meddling behind the scenes in a way that is detrimental to the citizens of this county.

The previous commissioners placed the county clerk and administrative assistant under the county administrator’s control. This is clearly not in accordance with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia recommendations.

Another disturbing change recently put in place by Chairman Frady requires that all commission agenda items must go to the county administrator before being placed on the meeting agenda. How absurd is that?

As someone who couldn’t take it anymore, I became active by attending the commissioner meetings. It is becoming more obvious each month that Jack Krakeel and Scott Bennett are a driving force behind the scenes for continuing the West Fayetteville Bypass and keeping us in the regional mass transit plans.

If we don’t see significant changes in the destructive path we are being led down by the three holdover commissioners and Krakeel and Bennett, we will have no choice but to introduce all five of them to the long and growing unemployment line.

We need to keep packing the meetings, speaking out and writing letters to the editor to remind the three holdover commissioners and county administrative staff that they work for us and not the other way around.

Jim Richter

Peachtree City, Ga.

Location: 

Comments

Well said, Mr. Richter. I'm not surprised that, after five days, I am your only comment. There is a group of people who have nothing better to do than argue with those who are bold enough to stand up for Fayette County. Your letter to the editor is a testimony to journalism excellence, in that nobody has taken issue with you over any of the points you made. To do so would make them look stupid.

I've been noticing that the commissioners will not take public issue with all the negative public comments, articles and letters they've been getting, because they know they are wrong. The trouble is, we will probably have to be dealing with Horgan, Hearn, and Frady until 2013, the reason being, it's just about impossible to get commissioners, county attorneys, or other key county officials removed unless 30,000 people are willing to stand up and be counted.

That's politics. All we can do in the meantime is to continue to acquaint the public with what's really going on in their county government. The elected officials don't like it, but it's something they'll have to live with.

I give this a ten on the Richter scale, no pun intended. Good job!

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