Should grand jury investigate Hearn?
The public comment portion of the meeting of county commissioners on May 12 was revealing. The comments were primarily directed at Commissioner Lee Hearn, who was absent. The comments were critical of his appointment of his first cousin Addison Lester III to the election board and the fact he did not reveal his relationship to Mr. Lester. In fact he tried to hide that information by stating he knew Mr. Lester from church.
The comments were also critical of his strong position of support of the West Fayetteville Bypass. It has been revealed that Mr. Lester had been a member of the Fayetteville Planning Board and has a family trust that owns 109 acres of land in the vicinity of the West Fayetteville Bypass (WFB). The family names with ownership have not been revealed but I think it would be interesting to know who they are. When was the property purchased? This would be another good question that should be answered.
I also made a comment of support for those who spoke. I also directed a question to commissioners Frady and Horgan. I asked them when they were aware of the information that has been revealed. I also asked how the county financial situation could change so dramatically from August of last year, when the former Chairman Jack Smith was touting how financially strong the county was.
From doing well to four months later, the county manager was expressing a need for tax increases. Mr. Frady, Hearn and Horgan were members of that board, and in fact handed out pay raises to employees prior to Jan. 1, 2011. Were they all without vision or were they playing with numbers to influence the primary election? The commissioners had no comment to these questions.
It was also revealed that there is an attempt through proposed regulations to gag the public comment portion of meetings by moving comments to the end of a meeting. The new regs would also require comments be submitted to the county five days in advance of a meeting. Additional rules of the road are being proposed to stifle free speech.
It is hard to believe that the commissioners understand they work for the people. I think power does corrupt. The people have discovered a lot of smoke. The silence of this board including the chairman and vice chairman adds to the distrust people feel.
Should a grand jury investigate some of the dealings that have been revealed? The county controls millions of dollars in contracts. The commissioners’ silence, plus new provisions to silence the people, is not transparent government. I wish I knew the answer.
Peachtree City, Ga.