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Brown wants Brooks mayor booted

Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown, accused of violating the county’s ethics ordinance, is asking for one of the county’s three ethics board members to abstain from the inquiry.

Brown contends that Brooks Mayor Dan Langford, one of three appointees to the ethics board earlier this year, should not be involved in the process because he is an elected official and since the town of Brooks “conducts business” with the county.

Brown points out that Langford himself at first questioned his eligibility to serve based on the wording of the county’s ethics ordinance which requires each ethics board member to be “a citizen” of Fayette County. The ordinance, however, does not explicitly forbid elected officials from serving on the ethics board.

“Just the working relationship alone between governmental jurisdictions is reason enough for Mayor Langford to abstain,” Brown wrote in an email. “Why do we have ethics boards, so elected officials can rein [sic] judgment over other elected officials?”

Brown is accused of violating three county ordinances by making an order to a county employee, disclosing information discussed by the board in executive session and also violated attorney client privilege: the latter two of which he did without first seeking approval from his fellow commission members.

The ethics complaint was filed by fellow Commissioner Robert Horgan, who contends he has written proof of all three violations, contained in copies of emails and a letter sent by Brown.

In the letter to Horgan dated Nov. 12, 2012, Brown admits to “instructing” the county’s human resources director to contact the state attorney general’s office about legal requirements for releasing the names of top candidates for the county manager’s position.

That, Horgan contends, is a violation of county ordinance 2-209(n) which states in part that “Commissioners shall not, acting alone, make suggestions to the department directors or their employees regarding the performance of their duties, nor give instructions to department directors or other employees.”

Brown said he was simply trying to find out how to follow Georgia law on the matter. But he added that he didn’t feel comfortable getting the legal advice from either county staff attorney Scott Bennett or county consulting attorney Don Comer.

Brown said he does not trust information that comes from Bennett, whose last day is Dec. 31.

Horgan also cited the March 9, 2012 letter that Brown wrote to State Attorney General Sam Olens in which Brown inquired about potential legal action in which the commission would sue itself. Although the letter does not mention it, Brown was specifically referring to a potential effort to have the county’s new five-district map ratified by a federal court since the legislature failed to vote on the associated local legislation earlier this year, a fact blamed on a failure to meet public notice requirements.

Brown noted that he was careful to word the letter to Olens in such a way as to not reveal any details about the facts or strategy in the case.

“All I asked is can a county government sue itself, which is exactly what we did. Is asking that illegal?” Brown said.

The county did not sue itself in that case; rather, Peachtree City private attorney Rick Lindsey sued the county in federal court and won an order to enforce the new five-district map.

“I think it’s a legitimate question and I don’t think you can sue yourself,” Brown said, adding that he has a duty as a public official to disclose unlawful activity.

Under the county ordinances, the ethics board is obligated to review the complaint and ultimately take one of the following options:

• No admonishment and no further action;

• A public reprimand and admonishment not to violate the ethics code in the future;

• A formal reprimand;

• Public censure;

• Recommendation for termination, resignation or recall; or

• Recommendation for prosecution in the State Court of Fayette County.

The board can also decide to “admonish, formally reprimand, publicly censure” any complaining party who files a petition determined to be “unjustified, frivolous, patently unfounded or factually insufficient.”

The county ethics board, appointed late this year, consists of Brooks Mayor Dan Langford, attorney Sheila Huddleston and Peachtree City financial planner Scott Rowland along with two alternates: Pota Coston, a former criminal investigator for the Internal Revenue Service and Larris Marks, a retired human resources director for the U.S. Army Forces Command.

Should Langford bow out, either Coston or Marks would take his place on the ethics board. Both Coston and Marks were nominated to the board by Brown.



NUK_1's picture

[quote=John Munford]

Should Langford bow out, either Coston or Marks would take his place on the ethics board. Both Coston and Marks were nominated to the board by Brown.[/quote]

That says it all about Brown's glaring lack of ethics once again.

Just take your deserved punishment that will be minimal and move on.

mudcat's picture

Steve Brown even writes his own headlines with his antics. Cal really should be thankful for the next 2 years of Brown in charge if he really does get elected commission chair. Good luck Fayette County - hope he doesn't damage you as much as he did PTC.

americanpatriots's picture

The thing that would surprise me is if you two ever posted a blog that contained even a scintilla of intelligent comment.

In 2010, the voters elected Steve Brown to represent them and, in my opinion, he has done a very good job and I believe he will do an even better job as Chairman now that Frady, Hearn and Horgan will be gone in seven days. Halleluiah for that!

Do either of you ever go to a commissioner’s meeting or even follow what those clowns Frady, Hearn and Horgan have done to our county?

Steve is right - Langford should recuse himself.

Langford doesn’t like Brown and Lanford supported every candidate that was running against candidates that Brown supported. The voters solidly rejected, in a landslide, everyone Langford supported - Hearn, Huddleston, Stopford, and Horgan.

Steve Brown deserves a fair hearing against the ridiculous charges Pothead Horgan filed.

Quite obviously, Horgan did not come up with the charges by himself. Horgan lacks the intelligence, writing skills, and command of the English language to have done it without the help of his pals the voters kicked out of office in 2010 and 2012.

NUK_1's picture

Have you ever posted anything that had an ounce of integrity in regards to Steve Brown? You know, the Mayor of PTC that did such a horrendous job that the voters not only booted him out of office by something like a 65% margin but then also said HELL NO when he ran against Ramsey? You know, your boy that was totally in favor of district voting(which I know you hate) and accused everyone against it as being neanderthal bigots? Hey, that's OK, right? Anything to get elected! Oh wait...he's already been found guilty on ethics charges too? GEE....SHOCKER!

I have no doubt that you would have a very difficult time in this county comprising an ethics board that is 100% free of bias. Brown would like to replace a guy who cannot stand him with one of his own two appointees that obviously like him. You think one instance is wrong because you love the demagogue Brown and think the other is right because it favors your deity.
Give me a break.

I've seen the emails...he's guilty as hell of one charge, just like when the bonehead spearheaded violating the Open Meetings Act recently too. Do you not see a pattern of supreme arrogance already? Of course you don't. You're like Hitler followers who lovingly elected the man and praised him because they agreed with him. When anyone brings up anything like his very public stances on DISTRICT VOTING, WESTSIDE ANNEXATION, LUTHERAN CHURCH, ETHICS CHARGE, go totally silent and run away as fast as possible because you can't defend him at all.

The other two charges to me are not that significant and are questionable either way. While Brown did himself zero favors blasting County staff and consultants(the kind of behavior that every Brown supporter loves to see him do in public and then whine about why people don't trust Steve,) I don't think a letter to the AG Sam Olens is an ethics deal.

It has ZERO to do with Frady, Horgan, Hearn and before them, Maxwell and anyone else. I never voted for any of those idiots myself, though obviously others did. The charges can either speak for themselves or we can just forget due process and simply make it a popularity contest as you obviously would prefer since Brown is right now slightly above the whale dung level of previous commissioners. Who made the charges doesn't mean jack-crap to me....the charges themselves either have merit or don't.

Mike King's picture

Are you insinuating that Mr Langford would be more biased than the two gentlemen that Mr Brown appointed?
You question both mudcat and NUK_1 about their lack of intelligent comment, while you go public with your rant? Seriously, Did Steve write this for you?
Just asking.


Robert W. Morgan's picture

It is so nice to know that I can be away and out of touch for over 3 weeks and can come back to see that nothing has changed with Steve Brown (or Haddix or Richter or any of our other local entertainment). Sure, there are always new details, but the basic theme remains the same and no heavy research is required to catch up. Way to go "Chairman" Brown. You da man! Looking forward to 2013.

Live free or die!

Mr. Richter
I think Mudcat, NUK1 and Mike King have lived in Peachtree City alot longer than you so before you go on the attack I'd think twice...also, maybe you have no idea how damn abrasive you can be, but nowhere did I see any of them talk to you the way you did to them.
Show a little civility and good citizenship before you start beating up on people especially when voicing your opinion not facts or being aware of any history.

mudcat's picture

Then we can get on with the fair hearing. OK with you?

Been to more commission meetings than you and have a real good idea about where this county is headed. We don't need a Brown/Obama bombthrower who rants against Frady/Bush. We need a real leader. Oddo should be the next commission chair - not the Brown clown.

You say Dan Langford should be removed because it wouldn't be fair to Steve Brown. But that's not the reason Brown gave. He said “Just the working relationship alone between governmental jurisdictions is reason enough for Mayor Langford to abstain.” Brown's reason for removing Langford is ludicrous. No one who had anything to do with any politics could qualify.

Let Langford stay on. He is the only who showed any objectivity in the last ethics complaint. Let him stay on.

Don Haddix's picture

I am only addressing the issue of who is on an Ethics Panel since this has become a mufti-jurisdictional and legal issue.

Judges do not allow elected on their juries because of perceived and/or real conflicts of interest. PTC does not allow elected on our Ethics Panel. Here are the qualifications for a State Ethics Board member:
<cite>The Commission consists of five appointed members. Three of the Commissioners are appointed by the Governor (not more than two can be from the same political party), two for terms of three years and one for a term of two years; one member is appointed by the Senate Committee on Assignments for a term of four years; and one member is appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives for a term of four years. The Act provides that members of the Commission can not serve for more than one term. The Act further provides that any person who has qualified to run for office, or has held any federal, state, or local public office within a period of five years prior to appointment is not eligible to serve as a member of the Commission.</cite>

As a State Arbitrator I am prohibited from sitting on any panel where I have a relationship with any County or City involved in an arbitration.

By every principle of law Mayor Langford should not be on the Ethics Panel.

The failure here was in the creation of the Panel. The Commissioners should have know better than to have put Mayor Langford on the panel. No elected in Fayette should be on that panel.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

NUK_1's picture

"By every principle of law Mayor Langford should not be on the Ethics Panel."

That's only because besides despising Steve Brown, he also thinks you're terrible also and voted you off of the regional transportation group. Go cry me a river, Don. Someone who thinks Brown is an idiot and KNOWS you are might be a conflict of interest? Boo-hoo.

Once either you or Brown show something even RESEMBLING ethics instead of your own skin, someone else's hide, or the taxpayer's money, residents having to deal with living under your rule are going to assume the worst.

What about the 12K you owe the taxpayers for your fat mouth?

You must not have read the third paragraph which clearly states that the ordinance does not explicitly forbid elected officials from serving on the ethics board.

It really doesn't matter what state, federal or Iranian laws allow now does it? In Fayette County, elected officials can be appointed to the ethics board. Don't like it? Then by all means, present a case to make the change.

Mr. Brown needs to be reprimanded, let him take his medicine and move on.

Don Haddix's picture

You must not have read what I said. I said "principle of law," not what the ordinance says.

Your making a negative proof claim. That does not hold water in law, court or debate. You are required to give reason why he should be on the Panel, which you didn't.

The ordinance does not prohibit OR allow, but no law is stand alone. It also is subject to higher laws and case law. You also must not of read I said, "The Commissioners should have know better than to have put Mayor Langford on the panel."

I make no comment on guilt or innocence, knowing these areas of law far better than you. Nor do I make any assumptions of what the Panel ruling will be. I don't know and neither do you.

What I do know is if found guilty, there is an appeals door widely opened. Is it worth it just to defend having him on?

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

PTC Observer's picture

principle of law do you refer? Do you confuse principle of law with ethics? While not mutually exclusive, I would be interested in your reference to principle.

Is it the same "principle" that you use to ignore personal responsibility and personal honor?

It would seem that your references in the area of principles could be called into question based on your own actions. Naturally, no one reading these pages would expect you to see the irony in this.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

I realize this is written several levels above your reading skills, Donnie, but it is certainly worth trying to understand at least the basic theme. Maybe pumpkin can read it to you slowly and answer any questions you have about the big words.

Suggested reading assignment for da mayor -
"Humbled by greatness" by Rick Ryckeley, which can be found right here in this week's Citizen. I also recommended this to Steve Brown. Hope it helps.

Live free or die!

"Principle of law"
Which one of your many lawyers that PTC citizens have had to pay for taught this one?

NUK_1's picture

"I make no comment on guilt or innocence, knowing these areas of law far better than you."

Thanks for costing us 12K with your fat mouth and complete ignorance of the law, common sense, or a shred of dignity whatsoever.

No one cares about your self-proclaimed knowledge on "the law," Don. Just try to muddle through your last year in PTC and shut up about issues that don't affect PTC because it's been well established everyone else in this county not named Brown cannot stand you. Go quietly into the silent night or just shut up for once.

By the way, where's the 12K you owe the taxpayers for your stupidity?

How to win friends and influence people. Man your the expert.

Sure didnt realize your vast knowledge of the law. Not sure why the city needs to pay for an attorney when we have such a smart Mayor.

Did you get all this legal knowledge while spending $12k of the cities money at the lawyers office while fighting your slander charge that could have been avoided with an appology?

Mike King's picture

"I make no comment on guilt or innocence, knowing these areas of law far better than you."

A remarkable statement considering the lack of education by its author.

"What I do know is if found guilty, there is an appeals door widely opened. Is it worth it just to defend having him on?"

Perhaps so Don, if he intends to bilk the public for legal fees following your example.

More proof!

Not credible!

You are living proof of the phrase....
"Can't see the forest through the trees".
For 4 years you have served, misquoting rules and regulations which focus on small things (small details) but you are unable to focus on what was truly needed....leadership! As a result, PTC has lost valuable time on the real issues like economic development, intelligent growth and development, proper maintenance to our infrastructure, real budgeting, not nickels and dimes and rolling over to service departments when they ask, leading council by dividing up projects and working together ... The list goes on!

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Let's start with this - Brown wrote in an email. “Why do we have ethics boards, so elected officials can rein [sic] judgment over other elected officials?” That would be Steve Brown, just so you know. He be the second worse mayor in PTC history.

Then, let us move on to this - Why in the world do you have any right to weigh in on Brown's ethical problems?

Don't you have some ethical
problems of your own? Or are they criminal problems when you steal 12 large from the city.

And then, why do you post on here? Everybody knows you are a liar, a fake and a complete fool. Do you think this crap you post gains you support on council? In the next election? At the 7th level of hell?

Your assertion that no elected official should be on that panel is actually wrong and of course - so are you. You reference the State Ethics Board and the PTC Ethics panel - neither of which is relevant to the brown clown's problems. He is subject to the Fayette County Ethics Board which has different rules from others. You a dopey piece of crap, dude.

Wrong way Haddix. Get a life dude and get out of our life. We don't respect you, we don't need you, we don't care about you. In case this is not clear - I will paint you a picture of a dead frog on your face (or pumpkin's) chest with my tattoo pencil. Any questions?

Live free or die!

Steve Brown's picture

Really, I was just asking for legal opinions.

For the record, I asked for Mayor Langford to abstain for the Scott Bennett hearing for the exact same reasons.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Calling all of us fools for criticizing your performance and calling Haddix out for vomiting his opinions. Glad to see you do have somewhat of a common decency filter. Nevertheless, before you edited yourself I responded to you with a reading suggestion. Something I thought would be helpful to you.

Right here courtesy of The Citizen this very week in the Opinion section.

Humbled by greatness by Rick Ryckeley.

Might want to print that out and tape it to the windshield of that Pontiac Aztec where you can review it on your way to public meetings.

Live free or die!

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