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BoE, county commission get failing grades

Just try to find someone who will give this bunch of incumbents, with the exception of Dr. Bob Todd, a good grade on anything. They may have to repeat a grade because they didn’t learn much in the previous session. Personally, I think they ought to be expelled for good.

The Board of Education under the leadership of Chairman Terri Smith has jumped out of the plane without a parachute. They built all these schools we didn’t need and are closing other buildings after we just renovated them.

For those of you who don’t keep up with the newspapers, you need to know that the BOE incumbent running for re-election, Bob Todd, has been on the right side of the issues. Dr. Todd has challenged Terri Smith’s positions but lost in a series of 3-2 votes.

One gentleman at a local forum said we have the equivalent of six and one-half extra schools. That’s dreadful.

Fiscal responsibility grade for BOE: F-minus

The county commissioners are bragging about how they have $5 million of reserves in the budget. They are supposed to have that amount in reserves, so I guess we thank them for doing what they are supposed to do. However, it’s the commissioners’ lust for spending that has a lot of us gasping for air.

The West Fayetteville Bypass is a $50 million rip-off and is certainly not using our tax dollars wisely. The same can be said for that last Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (called “SPLOST”) the commissioners wanted. They wanted over $130 million for things that were, quite frankly, not even necessary. They were taken to the woodshed for that arrogant attempt to rob us blind.

The mass transit Chairman Smith keeps voting for is even more troubling. Go look at the other counties in the Atlanta area who have those transit buses. All of them are losing money and the fares charged don’t come close to paying the expenses. These public bus systems keep siphoning funds from the county budgets and they don’t have any real impact on traffic.

It’s nice we have some reserve funds accounted for, but the county’s spending habits are way out of line.

County’s responsiveness to the constituents grade: F

This nice school mom asked to see some documents on a school administration issue she was concerned about. She got a letter back from the BOE attorney saying the she would have to pay $2,000 in order to get those documents. Chairman Terri Smith has yelled at people who speak at meetings. Some of those exchanges are on

The BOE terminated some of the teachers and para-pros working with our children and cut the pay of the remaining teachers, but top administrators and the superintendent all got nice pay raises.

Like the BOE, the county commissioners are often rude to people who speak at commission meetings. The commissioners wasting our precious tax dollars on the bypass and asking for over $130 million for unnecessary projects when people have to cut way back is a sure sign they are extremely out of touch with their constituents. For them to think their SPLOST would pass is atrocious.

Commissioner Maxwell stunned a lot of people by entering his name for one of the open judge positions at the same time he is running for re-election. At the Tea Party event he said he was “forced” to be a county commissioner and that his career plan was to always be a judge. That should make us all feel second best. So it looks like at some point if he gets to be a judge, we are going to be forking out $150,000 for a special election.

Government ethics grade: D

Most of the people on the BOE and county commission, although they have made some bad decisions, seem to be ethical people.

There are some conspicuous exceptions. Commissioner Horgan had his bout with the Sheriff’s Department over drug possession and an expired license plate.

Chairman Terri Smith has a real significant problem with her financial disclosure reports and doesn’t appear to want us knowing what she is up to.

Chairman Jack Smith is, in all probability, the worst of them all. That all-expense paid vacation abroad he was given from a local company after he gave them large tax breaks is bad stuff.

You have probably read about Chairman Smith’s position on the board of directors of a local bank that lends to developers. Everybody knows you shouldn’t be on the regulatory end and the commercial end of the local development industry, duh.

It’s pretty clear that all the land around the West Fayetteville Bypass is going to be covered in new home developments.

You might be thinking if only three out of the 10 members of the BOE and county commission are misbehaving, they deserve a grade higher than a “D.” Here’s the problem. The county commissioners had a chance to officially reprimand Commissioner Horgan and they refused.

Both of the reckless chairmen are elected to their posts each year by their fellow board members. Those fellow board members have to take responsibility for who they placed in a leadership position.

How many times have we heard some of the county commissioners say they are against bringing mass transit to Fayette County? But they elected Jack Smith the chairman and he voted in favor of the plan. After the chairman voted us into the regional transit plan, his fellow commissioners re-elected him to the chairman’s post.

The same can be said for Terri Smith. She is always re-elected to the chairman post even though she keeps getting into trouble.

It’s time to expel them from public service.

Gail Onesi

Tyrone, Ga.



I think you hit the nail on the head: Bad leadership and foolish spending. Enough said.

me.and_the_sea's picture

It pretty well sums things up.

ginga1414's picture

It is about time someone gave our public officials a report card. I wonder if we could give them detention for not doing their homework. Our Chairman most certainly hadn't done his homework at the Candidate's Forum, otherwise he would have know about Alignment 4/Alternative 4 to the East Bypass. This is fun. The imagination could just run wild. Could we have public officials arrested for not telling the truth or saying one thing and doing another? Maybe that would require expelling them. Maybe they would have to write 3,000 times I will not lie! OOH, OOH, Gail, this is just too much fun. A couple of school board officials would receive an F under the heading of "Works and Plays Well with Others." Too bad we can't give them all a Pop Quiz to see how many of them know about the Alternative Routes of the East and West Bypasses, now that they've had a chance to study.

I have got it! Their final exam should be taken directly from the Fayette County Comprehensive Plans 2004-2025. That would have to be an extremely difficult final exam. If they scored 100 on the exam, their grade would be an A. A score of 99 would be a B. Then 95 would definitely be an F. There would be three term papers due at the end of the year. One paper would be "A Detailed Justification For The West Fayetteville Bypass as Opposed To Alternative Routes." Our students specializing in Education would most certainly have to turn in a 10,000 word term paper titled "Financial Responsibility and Empty Schools." And, finally the last term paper would be titled, "The Psychological and Environmental Impact of Mass Transit in Fayette County."

grassroots's picture

See his resume compared to his report card at
over 100 votes cast, see the results.

DBarlow's picture

I have been reading many posts regarding Jack Smith, Eric Maxwell, Terri Smith and Janet Smola; watched the Podcast of Smola and Terri Smith ranting at Dr. Todd; attended numerous Fayette County Tea Party sponsored Commissioner Forum/BOE forum and recently attended the Rotary "Meet and Greet the Candidates Night" at the PTC Wyndham Center. Gail Onesi has stated everything I would say. Let it suffice to say that I totally agree with her statements. God bless you Gail. I know how difficult it is to confront evil. Let me encourage you with this thought. Our actions, good or bad, have consequences. We "reap" the consequences of the deeds we have done. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap, Galatians 6:7.

Proud Citizen of Fayette County, Tyrone, Georgia. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life..John 3:16

You didn't watch a podcast. No video, just audio. How can you lie and quote scripture in the same post?

DBarlow's picture

As a Certified Legal Video Specialist, I refer to everything visually. I apologize for the mistake. Thanks for correcting me. When you launch an "audio" file on your computer, you are actually "watching" the file play. However; you do not "see" a streaming video. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32. I'm free indeed!

Proud Citizen of Fayette County, Tyrone, Georgia. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life..John 3:16

I have to admit I never really thought about the BOE and Commission electing their chairmen. It is evident the BOE members and commissioners are accountable for the decisions of the chairmen if they elected them to the position annually.

ginga1414's picture

Fayette County voters, please take everything that has been said here to heart. Please go vote in the Primary on July 20th. We have a chance to turn things around in Fayette County. We can stop the destruction before it is too late. We stopped the 2009 SPLOST. We will have a fighting chance to stop the West Fayetteville Bypass and mass transit if we vote for Allen McCarty and Steve Brown. Our school system will have a fighting chance if we re-elect Dr. Todd and bring Dr. Tolbert on board.

Ms. Onesi's article really hits critical issues hard and fairly. The county has sunken to a new low in the quality of its leadership, and the BOE vocal majority has gotten frustrated. They're so frustrated that all they can do is level complaints against Dr. Todd instead of supporting their candidate Charlie Cave. Charlie impressed me as a nice guy whose qualifications are nowhere when it comes to the field of education. After hearing both Mr. Cave and Dr. Todd speak, I can understand why Mr. Cave has not faced Dr. Todd when it comes to publicly discussing the BOE issues. This becomes increasingly obvious when nobody has rebutted Ms. Onesi's article or any of its comments.

In addressing the numerous "3 to 2" voting issues that Dr. Todd was against and Smith and Smola were for, it would behoove the latter two to show exactly how much better off Fayette County is as a result of their majority votes than it would have been if the vote had gone the other way.

It is hoped that Dr. Todd and Mr. Cave will soon have a public debate over school board issues in which voters will be given an opportunity first hand to decide for themselves which man is better qualified to fulfill the contested BOE post.

Unfortunately, there are those who don't want that to happen.

me.and_the_sea's picture

It was pointed out the email tree was the same used by someone tied to the BOE, with a different person sending. The person doing the sending I am told, prospers from real estate closings.

Why not let the candidates debate each other?

The more the email tree churns out, the more votes you are loosing. At least mine.

This should be an above board election!

ginga1414's picture

Come on Fayette County voters! We don't have to take the abuse our public officials have been dishing out to us. I am sick and tired of Commissioners who scream at citizens who just want to stand for one brief second so the commissioners can see how many people are opposed to an issue. I am sick and tired of School Board officials who scream at other School Board members and concerned citizens. I am sick and tired of commissioners who twist the facts to suit their own agenda. I am sick and tired of School Board officials who conveniently leave out $12,000,000 in assets from their financial disclosure statement. What about commissioners who say they are on the Board of a local bank and that their are only two (2) developers on that same board, when in actuality there are at least six (6) developers and developer related members on the Bank of Georgia Board. On the Bank of Georgia website one of those board members was listed as (no information). However, I found that person at the Secretary of State's website as owning two development companies. One of those developments companies actually boasted of having built five (5) of the Bank of Georgia Branches. Another Bank of Georgia Board member was listed on that same website giving a testimonial to the good workmanship of the other Board member.

Jack Smith and Eric Maxwell have lots of money behind them. They have big bucks from secret land developers to pay for BIG campaign signs. Obviously, Terri Smith has big bucks behind her because she very conveniently forgot about $12,000,000 in assets. Believe me, if I had anywhere near $12,000,000 in assets, I certainly wouldn't be forgetting that I had it.

Remember we voted down the 2009 SPLOST. We can vote down further abuse from our present officials. VOTE FAYETTE COUNTY, VOTE!

suggarfoot's picture

are a dead giveaway. It is sad how much can be bought these days.

People all you have is your 1 vote. That is something no one can take away from you. VOTE! If you don't, your wishes will not be heard.

You can help yourself by voting for what is best for you. Developers certainly will. So will all who stand to gain. Please vote!

The Wedge's picture

For three years you have been a bitter, bitter opponent of the board of education. I am no fan either, however your venom and vitriol flows deep and spreads upon these blogs for years. I am curious to know the source of this anger. It cannot be the typical election-type stuff. Did Smola track you down and take away your dog like that mean old neighbor of Dorothy's? I really want to know. Would you indulge me on this topic?


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