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Horgan files open meetings complaint over county mgr. interviews

Says 2 sitting commissioners 'should have known better'; asks for fine, penalties

Fayette County Commissioner Robert Horgan has filed a formal open meetings complaint regarding the interview process to hire a new county manager, an effort undertaken by two of Horgan’s fellow commissioners along with the three commissioners-elect who will take office in January.

The complaint was lodged this week with the office of Attorney General Sam Olens, which is empowered to investigate open meetings complaints.

In his complaint, Horgan notes that sitting commissioners Steve Brown and Allen McCarty, along with commissioners-elect Randy Ognio, Charles Oddo and David Barlow, held two meetings on Sept. 26 and Sept. 27 “for the purpose of interviewing and selecting a county administrator” without advertising the meeting in advance or even posting an advance notice on the county’s web site.

“Despite these interviews being scheduled well in advance of their meeting, this committee did not notify the local newspaper of their meeting, did not prepare and post an agenda for their meeting, and did not allow the public to participate in their meeting,” Horgan wrote. “Due to the pre-scheduled interviews, the committee had adequate time to post the meeting date and time on the county’s web site. It did not. The committee did not notify in written or oral notice at least 24 hours in advance to the legal organ or any other paper in our community that has general circulation.”

The end result, Horgan said, was that he was unable to attend the interview process. Horgan said he was also troubled by the fact that no staff members were involved with the meetings to take minutes or “ensure compliance with various hiring practices.”

Although there was no formal commission vote to appoint Brown, McCarty, Ognio, Oddo and Barlow as an official committee, Horgan contends the commission agreed unanimously by consensus to have them act as a committee. As explained at the time, the commission agreed that with Ognio, Oddo and Barlow due to take office in January, they should have a say in the next person hired as county administrator.

The Citizen has also confirmed that the committee had access to the formal applications filed for the county administrator position, documents that were not available to any citizen at the time under the state open records law.

In his complaint, Horgan is asking Olens to levy criminal fines and a civil penalty if it is determined that an open meetings violation took place.

Horgan said while he doesn’t blame the incoming commissioners as much, he felt that Brown and McCarty “should have known better.”

In fact, the new open meetings and open records law changes were the topic of a significantly-sized article in a statewide magazine that each commissioner received in September, Horgan noted.

It was in looking at that article that Horgan decided he needed to file the formal open meetings complaint, he said.

“They dropped the ball big time,” Horgan said in a Thursday interview with The Citizen. “They didn’t manufacture notes or minutes of the meetings until after the meeting when people were asking for open records requests.”

Commissioner Brown in an email said that he takes “full responsibility for the events” and claimed that he did not know the law had changed.

Brown’s email also claimed that Horgan filed the complaint because he didn’t like the committee’s recommendation to hire current Union City manager Steve Rapson. Rapson and Brown have a political relationship that dates back to their days serving together on the Peachtree City Council, and Brown has strongly advocated for Rapson based in large part on his financial acumen in dealing with governmental budgets.

“Essentially, Horgan is showing his true colors, bad sportsmanship and all, on his way out the door,” Brown said.

Horgan claims that the exclusion of his fellow commission members is not a new problem with Brown, pointing out that Brown communicated with the Peachtree City Council over a real estate issue last year without notifying his fellow commissioners or being authorized by a vote of the commission to do so.

Horgan also noted that both County Administrator Jack Krakeel and County Attorney Scott Bennett both warned the interview process was problematic.



They "should have known better." Oh Bobby, coming from YOU...they "should have known better?"

Such a stickler for 'being in compliance".

How petty, how small can you be, Bobby? How about you take a long holiday trip out to Colorado and enjoy some newfound "recreational pursuits"? There, there, now, you will feel so much better, Bobby.

You gave me the best laugh of the day.

Can't believe this guy. Think the sheriff can give him a drug test prior to his final commission meeting? Who thinks he'd pass?

Horgan would be legal in Colorado now for sure!!

Steve Brown's picture

"... the committee had access to the formal applications filed for the county administrator position, documents that were not available to any citizen at the time under the state open records law."

Response: Commissioner Hearn, at a Board of Commissioners meeting, personally handed his stack of resumes to Commissioner-elect Randy Ognio. Both Chairman Frady and Commissioner Hearn are on the official record saying they wanted the 2013 board to make the selection.

"... he felt that Brown and McCarty “should have known better” ... "They dropped the ball big time."

Response: I instructed staff to contact the State Attorney General's office days in advance of the interviews, but the County Administrator refused to let the staff member call. The law recently changed and I openly admitted to the mistake and contacted both Fayette newspapers that very day to fully disclose the situation immediately after speaking with the ACCG attorney. We gave notice via telephone to the press for the second day.

“They didn’t manufacture notes or minutes of the meetings until after the meeting when people were asking for open records requests.”

Response: That is not true. We did provide minutes for those meetings and Commissioner Horgan has access to those minutes.

Commissioner Horgan's remarks at our meeting about our search for the new County Administrator not being broad enough was hypocritical since he made no complaints and conducted no search at all prior to appointing a local department head as our current County Administrator. Horgan's remarks on looking for "minorities and women" was also hypocritical as he rejected an opportunity to appoint two very well qualified African-American women to the Ethics Board yesterday; instead, choosing lesser qualified candidates.

The irony is that after Commissioner Horgan was busted and prosecuted for illegal drugs, I wrote a letter in the paper saying I was willing to let bygones be bygones and work with him on all matters.

Many were hoping there would be no disruptions from the lame-duck members, but it appears those hopes are dashed.

americanpatriots's picture

Robert Horgan is an evil, mean-spirited, simple-minded, pathetic loser and the county will give a sigh of relief when he is finally gone!

Horgan told me, at the conclusion of a commissioners meeting about two months ago in the presence of Herb Frady and Lee Hearn, he would step aside and let the new board choose the next administrator. I thanked him, but I wondered at the time if he was being sincere.

In the parking lot after the meeting, I told Randy Ogino, David Barlow and Chuck Otto what Horgan, Frady and Hearn had said and warned them not to be taken in by their comments.

Well, my suspicions about Horgan were confirmed.

I always regarded Robert Horgan as a person with extremely poor character and his latest episode proves my suspicions were well founded.

Most will agree with you about Horgan. He's a snake, high on himself. (pun intended)

You were smart to warn the three amigos. What's bothersome is that they obviously didn't heed your sound advise. And though the error may not have been intentional, these men made campaign promises about being open with the public. Not a great way to start.

Where were the other two commisioners when you made the statement to the three amigos?

americanpatriots's picture

After re-reading the Horgan complaint, I am absolutely certain that he didn’t write the complaint.

Horgan doesn't have the intelligence or the language skills to write something like that. I suspect Eric Maxwell wrote it with the help of Jack Smith, Lee Hearn, and Herb Frady.

In five more weeks we will see the final end of the last three and then we can turn our attention to trying to straighten out the mess those three, along with Krakeel, Maxwell and Smith, have left us with.

Who knows what we will discover after they have left?

Your smarter than most of us knuckleheads here and on the commission. However, the 3-amigos and the two holdovers didnt follow their campaign promises and didn't head your sage advise not to trust the outgoing commissioners. Not the end of the world, but not a great start either.

Now, you are obviously being coy about your last sentence. It would appear that you have dug up some information and are waiting for the right time to announce. Care to elaborate sir?

americanpatriots's picture

No I don't care to elaborate at this time

Not sure what you suspect or know. However most people in FC are suspicious of some of the decisions made in the past, especially when the cowboy boot wearing accountant pushed for and approved the defined benefit plan. How long until you let the cat out of the bag?

PTC Observer's picture

Lame doper.....sorry I couldn't resist.

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