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Commissioner Barlow defends embattled water system chief

Even as a new report of water system errors was published this week, Fayette County Commissioner David Barlow gave a vigorous defense Aug. 15 of county Water System Director Tony Parrott.

Barlow, speaking from prepared remarks at the end of the commission’s meeting, said he too has “come under vicious attacks.”

“Recently, one of Fayette County’s great leaders, Mr. Tony Parrott, has come under attack,” Barlow said. “When I read the headlines and articles I am taken aback by the unsubstantiated allegations being made against Mr. Tony Parrott, our water system director. ... I cannot and will not allow a politically expediate opportunity take down one of Fayette County’s finest.”

Saying he was speaking for himself and not the other commissioners, Barlow said he would “cast the second stone” against Parrott if the allegations are proven true.

“As one who has come under vicious attacks, I know what it is like to stand firm in one’s convictions when it would seem that everyone else is out to get you,” Barlow said. “In God’s word we are told to ‘put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.’”

Barlow’s defense came a day after The Citizen published details of a scathing report filed by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division that listed 10 drinking water rule violations, 147 deficiencies in the water system and recommended that Parrott and four other employees be investigated for fraud, deception and/or incompetence.

Elsewhere on this website, The Citizen is detailing a report filed Aug. 14 by the county’s special consulting engineer listing a number of operator errors that led to both of the county’s water treatment plants being shut down due to high manganese levels.



What if the "wiles of the devil" are the person(s) whose incompetence led to tens of thousands of people drinking and showeriing in contaminated water? Don't get me wrong I'm a Christian as well but I'm not buying that no heads will roll because the Bible told you so.

This was a health hazard to all our children. Who knows how it affected them. All I've read is this will be discussed. Talk is not just cheap it's worthless when some of the people talking are not telling the truth.

It is especially insulting to me that your only comments when this is finally exposed (weeks after the report was issued) is to defend those directly responsible and act as though no one is to blame.

Bruce Jordan
Peachtree City


Interestingly, Mr. Barlow always accesses a Bible verse to bolster his condemnations while conveniently ignoring myriad Scriptural admonitions to pay his debts. It seems that he has perfected mote removal even while the beam protrudes so resoundingly from his own eye.

Barlow is a nut case.

The man hides behind religion. He has never been accused of being the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Two reports. One by EPD, and another by the consultant, both referring to poor management and possible charges of fraud.

How can there be any doubt when Mr. Parrott has unqualified staff performing jobs they aren't trained for? This type of mismanagement can only be corrected with a mass overhaul. Just don't know why Rapson left town while the fire is hot. Would think the highest paid guy in county govt would be here taking care of business.

cogitoergofay's picture

Proverbs also teaches us that we should "condemn our neighbor so as to not share in his guilt." Mr. Jordan is right--- what are the long term effects of poor water quality in Fayette County and in Peachtree City? Ask why does Steve Brown have a whole house water filter if the water is entirely safe ?

You cannot expect Steve Brown or Steve Rapson to do ANYTHING about this issue. Why not? Each of them was on council when Peachtree City started their own disastrous Stormwater Utility. It has failed. They are in to deep from past sins to throw stones at anyone and they won't.

And I voted for this guy!!!

MajorMike's picture

Sadly, very sadly, you are going to be one of the very few that actually has the integrity to own up to being a part of putting this clown in office. Be careful though, I haven't heard too much out of the concrete (TSplost) guy after Barlow pronounced God's judgement on him.

Fayette County had the opportunity to elect a ethical and intelligent woman to this Commission post and ........... blew it. I honestly don't believe that Barlow is any better than the clown he replaced.

Everyone now sees what a mistake Barlow's election was. It merely underscores the need to research each candidate for office instead of relying on endorsements from the tea party (or any other organization).

MajorMike's picture

I wholeheartedly agree.

I think he said he "would cast the second stone" if the facts support mis-management by Mr. Parrot but Mr. Barlow might be waiting for a final report from Mr. Rapson. Maybe not all the facts are in? Mr. Parrot deserves it in case he's innocent. He reports to Rapson who is an experienced no BS guy.
Let Rapson finish his review and present the facts. Just maybe it should be Mr. Rapson's call?

mudcat's picture

throws the first one and that is unlikely to happen. Waiting for Rapson to come back is a pretty clear indication of how all this is going to be handled. I would think that when the EPA report names specific people that some action needs to be taken, but waiting foe Rapson while defending Parrot shows us that Brown and Barlow won't be leading the charge. They of course will concur with Mr. Rapson's actions - whatever that may be.

The bottled water he appears to be sipping from?

Mr. Barlow, it would be more dramatic if you actually used the tap water your constituents use every day. Do you know something we don't?

Perhaps the water is causing that pencil to grow from your ear, lol

MajorMike's picture

Perhaps that's not water in that bottle. Perhaps that liquid is "spirits". It would certainly explain some of Barlow's "looney toon" thought process.

One thing is for sure, Commissioner Barlow does not have even a rudimentary grasp of the situation. There <strong>are</strong> going to be repercussions from this fiasco and a great deal of the actual decision making process is now out of FC hands due to gross violations of both State and Federal regulations.

From a management point of view we should of course be working closely with the State in identifying problems and effecting solutions while at the same time avoiding the pitfalls of overreaction (panic). So far, this is exactly what I see happening. Attempting to protect specific individuals from the consequences of their action or inactions merely brings additional regulatory scrutiny and very likely some political fallout.

I totally agree that Commissioner Barlow should "put on the whole armor of God". In Barlow's case I would suggest a fifty gallon steel drum welded shut to prevent chinks in said armor.

Thank you Tea Party for foisting this "bible thumping" egotist on a largely unsuspecting public.

Before Barlow opened his mouth. Credit Brown for muzzling him this long.

When EPD suggests a probe of our top water system employees, we do need to listen. The report from CH2M Hill is also telling. CH2M Hill also has the resources to supply us with temporary workers to straighten this mess out. No one should have a problem with this type of emergency non-bid fix.

1. Why don't we have a Class I Water Operator at the Crosstown and South Fayette water plants? (Mismanagement)

2. Why didn't anyone realize equipment was not working?

3. How do we not monitor and record the filter results and not calibrate the turbidimeters?

4. Why is the business plan missing? And all the required reports?

5. How come we have to hire an engineer to review all filters?

6. Why have four valves been out of service for 6 months. None of the water dept reports indicate any problems or valves on order.

There is no questions heads have to roll. But I guess we have to wait until the highest paid county employee gets back from his vacation home in the Cayman Islands. You tell me, what leader (Besides BP's CEO) leaves at a time like this?

If it were me, I would show the state that we are on top of things and beat them to the punch. Bring in the calvary and get this back in order, fast. Then call the state for an inspection and show them we now have are house in order.

Ever cross your mind that maybe the vacation was planned and approved long before the water problems ever surfaced? I don't get the impression that Mr. Rapson is one to run away from problems.

I've seen many vacations cancelled or cut short due to important work issues.

I think clean water ranks up there.

mudcat's picture

At least I hope so. No other logical end to this story other than Rapson firing Parrott and maybe the others under him. This is mismanagement all the way and when that happens, you should fire the managers - especially the ones that can't manage a simple valve. And the managers that can't understand how and who to hire. Didn't even mention training.

I recall a Tony Parrott interview where someone asked "Why did you not do so and so?" and he said because it was not required - even though he acknowledged it would have prevented whatever problem was being discussed at the time, Typical government worker. Toss him overboard,

PTC Observer's picture

You don't have to cast any stones Mr. Barlow, you merely need to look at results. Measure Mr. Parrot against results based on the goals of the Water Department. Did he do an outstanding job for the citizens? Or did he not? Did he do a good job? Did he create or was he responsible for a very poor job? Is he accountable for those results? Not unless someone makes him accountable for his results.

Report? You need a report? Why don't you use your common sense Mr. Barlow?

Now he may be a great guy, but that's not the issue here. The issue here is results. That's what the citizens of this county pay our employees for, to get results.

Seems pretty straightforward to me, but then again I am not a politician.

This is nothing against Tony Parrot the person.... But come on... Anyone can see that there is gross mismanagement and incompetence afoot here. SO. If I were king... New staff needs to be put in place immediately. If a consultant can come in and within hours/days ID the problem and direct the resolution path, then that speaks volumes to me.

Get some new talent and move on for the SAFETY AND WELL-BEING of those of us who receive WATER!


SPQR's picture

It is now officially time to worry. Being scared would also be understandable.

What in the hell does this mean? Where is there any "political" connection?

rolling stone's picture

I could not discern any connection between Mr. Barlow's statement and reality.

I've got to agree with rolling stone. The guy hasn't got any integrity.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

He doesn't know that of course, he is thinking he is just doing Brown's bidding by supporting Parrot. In reality he has been asked to test the idea of how popular Tony Parrot is. If this Barlow support thing flies, then Steve Brown will come out and do the same thing - "Tony is my main man and I support him all the way. This dirty water thing was just an aberration"

Of course if it doesn't fly (and it should not) then Steve Rapson will come back from vacation in the Cayman Islands and fire the inattentive water system manager who has hired a bunch of incompetent slugs and he and they must be fired forthwith. And of course Steve Brown will support that position as well without getting blood (or dirty water) on is hands.

Sound plausible?

BTW, last time we were in the Cayman Islands on 7-mile beach (two buildings down from Rapson's condo) the water in the taps and on the beach was excellent. Go there if you can. Even a port call on a cruise ship is a good thing. Beautiful place. Good clean water.

Live free or die!

It was a defining week for the commission. The Citizen reported that the State EPD had released their report on July 25th. (Almost 3 weeks prior) However, our self proclaimed "transparent" commission ignores the damning report and allows the highest paid county employee to take a trip to his vacation home in the Cayman Islands while the citizens question whether or not our water is actually good enough to drink.

How very nice of our commission to allow our county's most vital service, clean water, to continue to be managed by someone the state feels is a fraud or severely inept.

Reminds me of the BP oil spill and the CEO taking off on vacation to go to a yachting competition.

Your right about Barlow being the mine canary. We all know he ran his speech by the Chairman beforehand. The chairman, is certainly hanging Barlow out to dry and he doesn't even realize it.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

as a mine canary that is. Played out pretty much the way Brown wanted, didn't it? Old Tony was demoted instead of fired and Brown was able to play the role of enraged public service - protector of the people. I give him 3 stars.

This was when Barlow went through his Brown initiation and is probably the Genesis of his recent suggestion that Brown be ousted as chairman. Brown is indeed one of the best dividers that has ever passed through here.

As an aside, I wonder how many politicians with white or silver hair get elected just because they look the part. Also wonder if there is any connection between a silver mane and an empty brain - I was really just thinking about Joe Biden.

Live free or die!

bought and paid for, strand by strand, along with the fake white teeth, all with that fine salary we pay him. Don't get me started on Biden. Well, don't let me finish on Biden, at least.

The Tony saga is not done. Not by a longshot. Gonna be an interesting year for that government worker in 2014.

David Barlow: Joe Biden silver haired mane....John Boehner orange skin...Jimmy Swaggart old time religious oratory. A dangerous combination if I ever heard one.

suggarfoot's picture

how the hell did they get his skin/hair/coat and attitude.. to match?

NUK_1's picture

I guess he wants to join Tony Parrot on the sinking ship, and yeah, it's really sinking and sometimes stinking too.

Sheila Huddleston was the better candidate by far than Mr. Barlow, but got smeared unmercifully here by Steve Brown and a few others of the local "Fayette County Tea party," and that was enough to put this total goof into office.

That's funny stuff, I don't care who you are!


Dear Mr. Barlow,

Please continue to remove all doubt so that we can be assured that you are a "one term wonder."

The Right Reverend Barlow is quoted as saying, “In God’s word we are told to ‘put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.’”

So the Right Reverend Barlow is accusing those who are investigating what happened with the stinky brown water debacle here in Fayette County of being the devil.

Folks, this is exactly why elected officials need to leave not only their ego at the door but also their religion.

I don't know any of the people involved in this. But to refer to the people trying to get to the bottom of what happened as "the devil" just because your friend(s) are suspected of being the culprit is wrong on a lot of levels.

It's also dangerous to pick and choose Bible verses to support your stand Reverend.

For example, Deuteronomy 21:23 says in part..."You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance."

See what I mean? Stick to the facts Preacher Man.

You hit the nail on the head.

He thinks he wins people over with the bible verses, and he does for some. That's why he got elected.

If anyone thinks he is more qualified than Ms. Huddleston, they need to get their head examined.

Thanks Tea Party

Hey, that's nothing. Go to the County WebSite and read "Agenda Actions" for the Aug 15 Commissioners Meeting for a clear insight into his thought process, perhaps better termed a "rant" about his family history. One would think he's on some sort of crusade!

Taliban Barlow

Can anyone tell me why commission did not accept any public comment this week? Thought they were going to be open and transparent?

He stated he was "a warrior for Christ", "a zealot in his faith" and something about "spiritual warfare". Sounds more like a Taliban meeting to me.

Tell us o fair leader, why should we listen to your "expert" opinion and not the EPD or CH2M Hills reports?

NUK_1's picture

He's cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and also filing Chapter 7 a couple of times and stiffing people. He calls that a "venomous attack?" Really? Are you that stupid? At least he didn't say he was a "fiscal warrior" to go along with his other hysterical crap. Go send the wrath of God down on Ed Drake for supporting the TSPLOST.....this guy gives "fundies" a bad name, really. What a kook.

Just how the hell did this clown get elected? I know Brown came on here attacking Sheila Huddleston with a bunch of half-truths and also some flat-out lies and that Bost Hogg was a huge supporter of Barlow's, but it's scary to think that enough FC voters thought this guy was a good choice for ANYTHING.

Just awful.

He sure didn't have my help getting elected.

You never answered before when I asked if you'd visited Acqua Tequila or not. Went Sat for lunch and got excellent service, excellent food and cold Dos Equis Lager! Food is unusualcombo of Tex-Mex and Mexican Interior. You won't find those choices in the average local Mexi Restaurant. Located where Buckhead Brewery was initially. Last occupant was El Reposo.

The video of David Barlows rant is much better than the minutes. It's always got to be about David Barlow!!!

Go look at the video of the meeting where he made this speech. He's downright pompous. Anybody who says the water guy was the best employee the county has and that nothing was wrong with the water department is a lunatic!!!

When is the guys craziness going to stop!!!

Barlow is a nut. I don't think much of any of them but God help us (pun intended) if somehow he winds up as County Commissioner Chair.

NUK_1's picture

Steve Brown came on here and excoriated Sheila Huddleston(and lied a few times also) and praised the roof off of David Barlow, two-time Chapter 7 bankruptcy dude. The voters swallowed it like gullible sheep.

Now, Barlow is turning his back on all that and thinks he's some kind of an "independent voice" of something. What? That Brown isn't a great chairman of anything? DUH? Well, Dave, you should have never been elected in the first place for that matter. Go pray or prey somewhere else, deadbeat.

Once the NAACP issue is resolved, they will all be gone and FC will have learned many valuable lessons.

McCarty never did anything in 3 yrs, but side by Brown. Let him retire.

Brown, I have to give him props for working hard. He also responds to emails and follows up. And, he was right about Parrott. He used his ethics charge to work the whole commission into altering the rules now allowing commission to mettle in daily activities, and paying his legal fees. . But he also is very divisive. He let the whole storm water issue get out of hand by listening to the mobs during his open houses. But, he's probably the best "leader"of the bunch. (Not that the bar is high)

Ognio as chair would not be good unless he hired a PR guy to sit for him. I haven't heard him talk without stammering and hemming and hawing. And I still want to know if his electrical business profited in any way with Pinewood. He never returns emails.

Oddo is a nice guy, he writes out prepared statements, but he's only a behind the scene type of guy. When I have written to the commissioners, he never replys. He is either too busy at work, or he doesn't care. He also championed nothing in his first year. He offered no public opinion on the water system than to allow the county manager to take care of it. We don't know where he stands on anything.

Barlow has proven to be a mistake just as I predicted. His one claim to fame is bringing different religious leaders to say the prayer and he did support the food drive. That's it. He also praised the former water director who we will find, neglected his duties for 20 plus years. He is also the only commissioner other than Brown that plays his games in the press. Let him get a job to pay off all the people and companies he neglected to pay when he filed for bankruptcy twice.

Your right Nuk, next election we need to vote for people who stand for something and not against somebody.

They all also need to be placed in the woodshed regarding their choosing to allow the Vision group championed by the chamber of commerce to update the counties comprehensive plan.

Steve Brown was probably wrong to his full support behind a crazy person like David Barlow but how was he supposed to know the guy would end up being a raving lunatic??? Barlow was a religious zealot but who knew about the other stuff and you can't blame that on Brown because a lot of people including me were stupid enough to vote crackpot Barlow.

The crackpot should be able to control his own behavior!!!

mudcat's picture

Shelia Huddleston was a serious threat to become county commission chairperson - and she would have been a good one and certainly better for the county than Brown, but none of that is in his playbook. His deal is "It is all about me" and of course he was desperate to be chairperson, so supporting Barlow and Ognio was the way to go. The fact that Barlow is loony tunes is no concern of Brown's - all he wanted was his vote for commission chair and then he was done with him. Somebody probably explained all this to Barlow so now he's trying to stir up support for Oddo as payback. God bless his little heart, I hope he prevails.

at Lake Peachtree. It's falling apart, and all they can say is they are going to fix it, for over a year now.

If they allow things obvious to exist in this condition, how do we trust them with the more complicated side of things?

I say call Melvin Newman for some consulting work, or any of the old guard from the Clayton County Water Authority and get this thing fixed...Pete McQueen could probably give some good advice too...

Unfortunately, Mr. Parrott does not have the expertise to hire competent people or people who have experience in maintaining the sophisticated equipment that delivers water to the residents of Fayette County. I wonder how often these operators go through training? Working for Fayette County is a cushy job and most take it for granted. Perhaps new blood would bring competent people to run this department. Maybe it is time for Mr. Parrott to retire.

What part of the allegations put forth by the EPD (not a favorite agency) were "unsubstantiated?" The line by line report seems pretty clear and substantial. Of course, the opposing viewpoints and expert opinion on the causes of the problem given by Mr. Barlow must surely be correct, as he has obviously been "educated" by someone who understands how this problem REALLY happened.....I wonder who educated him? Since he is obviously more knowledgeable than the EPD, perhaps Mr. Barlow can offer his services as a water system expert to assist the county with resolving the problem while avoiding unnecessary costs associated with hiring outside consulting firms. What buffoonery.

So is he accusing EPD officials of falsifying an official State Govt document? Sure sounds like it. Wouldn't that be a criminal offense?

I agree--- Tony Parrott has not faced the last chapter in this story.

Steve Brown--- yes, he is the most divisive, dishonest politician to come through here. Was for it, now I'm against it, blah, blah, blah. Can't blame Barlow for complaining about Brown's antics. He is embarrassing us and it is good that Pinewood never met the guy.

Parrott and all of the water guys will be back in the hot seat. Stormwater and water regulation in 2014---- it will be very, very interesting. I wondered why Dennis Chase got his hair on fire over this stormwater SPLOST. After all, it is an environmental protection thing. Then you look at it more closely---- all the cities and counties say "stormwater" but then they simply do public works stuff with the money. Chase was right. It's a huge ripoff.


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