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What to make of our Fayette governments

Cal Beverly's picture

First of all, the two local governments that seem to be working most efficiently and with the most careful stewardship of the taxpayers’ money are Fayetteville and Tyrone.

Fayetteville has made a science out of spending other people’s money (meaning taxpayers from Tyrone to Ty Ty and from Portland, Maine to Portland, Ore.) while assiduously looking after and spending as little as possible of Fayetteville taxpayers’ cash. With all that federal and state tax money, you get lots of new concrete sidewalks, brick pavers in downtown and Norman Rockwell streetlights. But Fayetteville taxpayers don’t get charged for those amenities. I suppose that means Fayetteville taxpayers are well looked after.

Most must think so, given that Fayetteville voter turnout for the last several city elections remains below 10 percent.

Tyrone went through a wrenching process in recent years to get a slate of council members whose vision more closely aligned with that of the town’s voters. But Tyrone’s newest budget shows a healthy surplus. Who can argue with surplus?

Three other local governments — the Board of Education, Fayette County and Peachtree City — seem less firmly anchored in current 2011 economic reality.

Budgets that will be adopted by all three in the coming weeks will demonstrate unmistakably whether a majority of those elected officials (and public employees paid with public tax money) reside on the same planet as the rest of us. The signs are not encouraging.

In fact, it seems to this private business owner who has had to lay off more than half his employees in the past four years that thousands of Fayette County government workers and their bosses, the elected officials, are deliberately ignoring the economic reality of late spring, 2011.

This privileged group — who talk much about “morale” and having to forego annual cost of living increases — seems detached from the economic realities that most of the rest of us have been run over by.

However late the arrival, economic reality will arrive even at public employees’ doors this year.

There’s a lot of smoke and many mirrors at the meetings of the Board of Education, the Fayette County Commission and the Peachtree City Council.

With the Board of Ed and Peachtree City, you hear the word “special” used a lot. Here’s a flash for those “special” folks: We cannot afford anymore for you to feel so “special.”

With the Board of Commissioners, you just have a lot of dumbness. I think I have never seen (and I have covered local governments in Georgia since 1969) such a gobsmackered gang of politically stupid elected officials as currently occupy three seats on the commission.

The incumbent-friendly Georgia recall law works against recalling stupid public officials, but it does allow for recalling an official for breaking the law. One commissioner has admitted doing that in front of a state court judge and was on probation for a while.

You recall one of the Gang of Three for an admitted drug offense and you have an opportunity to elect the third member of your majority on the commission. Why the West Bypass opponents haven’t moved on that warehouse-sized opening is one of the deeper mysteries of local political astuteness.

As to squelching the public comments, the Gang of Three will pay an electoral price — this year (if a recall is mounted) or next (if the West Bypass opponents are all talk and no action).

I’m wishing the current Peachtree City Council had a little more class than it showed with the trashy firing of a well-regarded leader, Randy Gaddo.

The council — even Eric “the Bubble” Imker — is staggering toward some recognition of economic necessity with a long-needed realignment of the city’s functions. They could not have picked a worse starting point than Gaddo.

Note to staggering council: It’s the Leisure Services functions that must be diminished, not its erstwhile leader. Somebody at City Hall must finally decide what basic government services are essential and what services are simply “special.”

We are willing to pay for those essential services, not so much for the “special” ones.

Note to Eric “the Bubble” Imker”: What happened to the Imker we elected? Are you still there, hiding somewhere under the special interests camouflage suit you wear so well these days? Or has a zombie-like bureaucrat virus overtaken your common sense?

[Cal Beverly has published The Citizen since 1993.]


suggarfoot's picture

I love you Cal. You and this paper are what have kept a lot of these politicans from being as dirty as they would like to be. Time and time again you have printed the truth and kept them at bey. Thank you for being you.

DBarlow's picture

You are right on Cal. Thanks for your candid observations.
"With the Board of Commissioners, you just have a lot of dumbness. I think I have never seen (and I have covered local governments in Georgia since 1969) such a gobsmackered gang of politically stupid elected officials as currently occupy three seats on the commission."
I had to apologize to Scott Bennett for calling him a "buffoon" but I do agree with your characterization of Frady, Hearn and Horgan, STUPID! I don't understand why Horgan is not in jail. Sheriff Hannah would take good care of him and keep him from breaking the law any further. There are consequences for one's actions and Horgan somehow escaped incarceration. Oh well, I digress.
Thursday night will be a humdinger of a commissioner meeting. I wonder if they are so stupid as not to listen to the citizens of Fayette County. The three "holdovers" know they are done. They simply choose to plow on full steam ahead; to heck with the citizen's. My prayer is that they will come to their senses and allow any remaining SPLOST funds to be used to reduce county expenses and/or be returned to the tax payers.
Time will tell.

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

NUK_1's picture

..he committed a MISDEMEANOR, DUH! Know the law, understand the law, then maybe have an informed opinion instead of this crap. "Escaped incarceration?" Whatever.

Is it any wonder with the kind of total ignorance that shows itself here frequently that the Three Stooges don't take you very seriously at all? I have a hard time lending too much credibility to people who call them "stupid" when they are just as clueless as the Stooges and don't mind showing it over and over.

That's about enough said.

citizenal's picture

The crime is that Horgan didn't have the class to resign and the commission didn't have the class to censure him to the limit. More proof of the quality of what we have - POOR!

What is Nuk's problem? A bit crabby there. Adds some real class to this board - NOT.

BHH's picture

I may criticize you and/or your paper sometimes but you are right on the money this time.

And I do love what you do for this county.


citizenal's picture

Enough said. You do great work keeping us informed.

As usual, Cal is on point.

Shenanigans of elected government officials aside for a moment, cannot help but feel somewhat embarrassed for having voted for some of them – only to find that
we ended up putting into office little fiefdoms that were not on the ballot. That is a hit on me! There are times when our County government reminds me of the governance in the Dukes of Hazzard! One big difference: we seem to have a constant competition among commissioners as to who is really BOSS HOGG!

Wonder how many of them have taken a serious view of Glynn Street in the past couple of years; route 54 from Fayetteville to PTC, and noticed the vacant commercial building – some having never been occupied; swung through what once were thriving neighborhoods, but now vacant homes – many in foreclosure? And, how about the school seat VACANCIES throughout the County?? (Was this just shoddy planning on the part of the School Board, or are we running off young families from Fayette County?) Just how dense does one have to be to FAIL TO COMPREHEND what is directly in front of your eyes? How do these elected and appointed officials think the investors (taxpayers) feel about their failure to research, plan, and execute with the taxpayer’s resources as a driving force?

What is most bothersome is the FIRST solution to a County revenue problem was INCREASE TAXES!! Are our government stewards clones from Team Obama?
Are they transplants from DC? Are they experts in redistribution of limiting citizen resources – so much so that they will reward themselves after the completion of their dastardly deeds? Do they really think that they are omnipotent in their actions? Do they not comprehend that they are making history for themselves – individually and collectively that their heirs will either live up to, or HAVE TO LIVE DOWN?? Do they not comprehend that their actions have consequences on families' and businesses' decisions to move to this County? When will they come up with a FEASIBLE PLAN TO CUT SPENDING – SHORT, AND LONG TERM -- and have the spine to lay it out for the public??

Now that the chair of the commission wants to limit comments from the pesky citizens, certain that he will call out the marshals to maintain the decorum allowing him and his posse to rule by edict. Sound preposterous in Fayette County? Just look at the facts. Certainly not the finest hour of governing – much less, governing in Fayette County Georgia, USA! Is it now time for a Constitutional test of all commissioners, with a proviso of a RECALL for those who fail??

Guess the most important issue facing our imperial commission is: WHO WILL BE BOSS HOGG at the next commission meeting??

Love it!!! If there was ever a perfect match it's Frady and Boss Hogg.

Let's see if the recall effort takes wings.

G35 Dude's picture

There was already an attempt to recall Horgan. It failed as almost every effort to recall a politician does. The laws are made by politicians for politicians.

I received an excellent comment from an irate citizen that hits the nail on the head. I'll pass it along, as it makes good reading.

"It has been my experience in the past that our County's Administrative Staff have always been responsive to the citizens requests and are helpful and polite. We wish that the same could be true for our elected officials who in most cases refuse to answer the citizens question by hiding behind regulations, policy and procedures and when they do answer it is usually some politically motivated response that does not actually address the question. Unfortunately 3 of them do not Govern by the will of the people and instead cater to the wishes of developers, businessmen, the county elite and their other special interest groups. With their 3 to 2 majority the Commissioners that understand and solicit the citizens opinion and wishes are over ruled during every vote. This county does not function in a democratic manner and instead governs as a totalitarian state for which a definition follows; (Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible. This is verified by the Public Meetings that are becoming increasingly active with the citizens voicing their displeasure in the decisions being made for them. Session after session the citizens voice their displeasure with the decisions being made yet the commissioners continue to march in unison to the beat of their special interest friends and completely ignore our desires. The citizens of this county resent this behavior and will not rest until one or more these disgraceful thugs are removed from office before the end of their terms if at all possible."

Commissioners Brown and McCarty had every intention of bringing transparency to the Commissioners table. But when the 3 amigos bonded together on major voting issues, the two newcomers were stopped in their tracks by simple mathematics. Carrying the process a step further, Commissioner Frady is always the spokesperson, and you have to go back a long way to find where he was defeated on any issue. With 55% of the 2010 vote going to Brown and McCarty, that's too much power for one person, even though his buddies voted him in as Chairman. He could care less what the 2010 voters want.

That being said, it is true that recalling Horgan would have been the best bet. But the process is through a wormhole, not a warehouse opening. This has already been tried by the Tea Party, but their valiant effort fell short. Some time ago, an attempt was made to recall the mayor of Tyrone. While sufficient signatures were obtained, the mayor had a high power lawyer provided at taxpayer expense. The petitioners soon found out that they couldn't afford to pay attorneys fees for both sides. That effort fell short, too.

Then, there was the West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition that spent over $30,000 on attorneys fees and other expenses plus blood, sweat and tears before its suit was to be filed. Simply a third effort hampered by lack of funding.

With county government the way it is, a firm having expertise in organizing and securing funding for a taxpayers' lawsuit could make a mint.

Recall laws were crafted by politicians who want to protect themselves. It almost never serves the public. It's big news, indeed, when it does.

Now, Commissioner Brown has been effectively excluded from presenting his HB240 proposal to reduce debt and taxes. The three amigos will vote on the 2011-12 budget under the first item on the agenda. Brown gets to go 11th.

Do you suppose Chairman Frady will move to dismiss Commissioner Brown's comments as moot?

Bost Hog runs Bartertown

I've had nothing but respect for your opinions and columns in the past, but in this instance I've got to ask.... What in the heck are you talking about?!?

I'll admit I don't follow much of the local governments of Fayetteville, Fayette County, Board of Education, Tyrone, etc, but I do closely follow PTC, as my name obviously suggests.

Where o' where do you come from stating that PTC council lacked-class or was "trashy" in the firing of Randy Gaddo? Sure, you may disagree with the decision. Or maybe you're referring to the relatively short, albeit legal time frame the public was made aware of the decision? But in no way, shape, or form would I have pinned it as "trashy" or classless. A big "HUH?" here.

Next, "Eric 'The Bubble' Imker"? Are you somehow trying to tie the Kedron bubble to Imker? What? Why? He's had no more or less impact on any bubble decisions than any other council member. I find that as perplexing as you would find me saying Cal "Destroyer of Antarctica" Beverly. What in the world, Cal? Double "HUH?" here.

And lastly, regarding your special note to Imker: This is the most confounding of all.
> Do you not recall he was the only council member last year to actually hold public budget idea sessions?
> Do you not recall his complete and utter emphasis, over and over again, on needing to get even leaner last year?
> Do you not recall his actual budget ideas and multiple potential solutions to fix the budget (not just the fluff statements actual politicians will throw around)?
> Do you not recall his voting to make cuts during last years budget sessions, even though he was outvoted by the other council members? (If you need reminding, just look at the budget voting history and minutes!)
> Do you not recall the emphasis he's placed on solving the budget issue above all else? It seems his whole term in office he's been obsessed with nothing more than fixing our broken budget.

And, of all people on the entire city staff and council combined, it's Imker, who put out a public letter on how to run for office, that you're going to try to pin as "hiding somewhere under the special interests camouflage" and not having common sense???????? R.E.A.L.L.Y.?!?!?!?! Wow. Triple "HUH?" with chocolate syrup and a cherry.

Are you all of a sudden attacking Imker because you were (still are?) a staunch Haddix supporter and you're panicking due to his complete and utter implosion?

I expected these kind of outright baseless assertions and name calling from bloggers, not an editor like you with a good head on your shoulders. I'm disappointed, Cal.

........small as they were to the PTC costs.

And You know what, from the complaints, the cuts were the wrong cuts to the wrong people? Looks as if the new City Manager took liberties with the "old boy" network and fired someone who was a vwerty nice fellow and loved by all! I don't know him nor his work!

The point is this: if this whole city has to approve every city employee whom the City Manager and Board need to remove for whatevber reason to make a budget, then we can forget about ever making such budget!

Mr. Bradshaw suggested that the Person laid off should have been kept and his staff laid off! The usual procedure is to let the manager go also when there is a major reorganization!.
Unless of course if he could type for 15-20 dollars an hour!

I'll tell you what.........when cuts have to occur in the police and fire departments, I suggest we don't have a popular vote as to whom we cut!
(no senoirs, no ranked officers, no females, etc., can of course be cut-----at first.

It is distressing however to read here one week that we will live with the old "bubble" for now, and then the following week announce we are going to borrow a half million to replace it! As I understand it about 2-3 hundred use the pool regularly and some high schools use it in the winter time. Quite a price to pay for that!

Also, it blows 10-15 thousand on intertest! To what bank, I wonder?

hutch866's picture

Where you been man?

I yam what I yam

Nothing significant has been said for a week or so!

So, when a move is made to reduce the city expenditures, it woke up all of the good old boys and gals!

Why my cousin or bridge partner, Hank might even get run off!!!

carbonunit52's picture

[quote]Nothing significant has been said for a week or so![/quote]

I knows what you mean.

PTC Observer's picture

I have to admit Cal I have never seen this adjective before, for all your other illerate readers here’s the definition.

Gobsmackered - derivate I suppose of –

Gobsmacked - (ɡɒbˌsmækt) – slang (British) astounded; astonished

Example: Gobsmackered (astonishingly) stupid politicians, as in Mr. Frady, Mr. Horgan, and Mr. Hearn.

Thank you, Mr. Beverly for taking the time to teach us this little used but very effective word.

Now we can use it to describe our gobsmackered stupid Congress that passed Obamacare and State Representatives that brought us the TSPLOST.

There is just no end to the use of this word within the same sentence as stupid and politician.

I will give Cal the benefit of the doubt and suppose that he was trying to make some kind of mutant Southernism out of a perfectly good Britishism and not that he is just clueless on this one.

One of those 'socialist' countries I used to live in was the UK, so I am familiar with gobsmack. It comes from gob, which is Scottish slang for mouth, and smack, to hit. So, it literally means 'hit in the mouth.'

Basically, it means 'astonished' not 'astonishingly' as wrongly presumed by PTCO. Thus, you can't use gobsmacked as an adjective to describe an astonishingly dumb politician. Using the word correctly, one would have to say 'I was gobsmacked by his stupidity.' Or, 'I was gobsmacked by Cal's misuse of this word.'

Now, Munford, about that first cousin once removed (not second cousin!) business involving the Hearns....

Go Braves--Swept the Blue Jays!

BHH's picture

Just too cool.

Thanks for this lesson.


to providing free copy-editing services! Now, about your trespassing on PTC recreational facilities....

Go Horgan--Take a Lesson From Spike Lee and Do the Right Thing!

BHH's picture

You'll have to talk to my wife about that.


PTC Observer's picture

for the lesson, I am into using words correctly. I have been to the UK many, many times and I have never heard this expression. I assume this is a recent slang expression? I can't find it in Samuel Johnson's dictionary, so I assume it's not 18th century.

Perhaps Cal is trying to invent a variation?

Either way I am still astonished by the stupidity of politicans, local or otherwise.

Last night's meeting was the first time I had ever seen the two guys in person. Horgan came off as unintelligent and mumbled his way through some poor excuses to not follow Steve Brown's lead.

Hearn got burned quoting a Standard and Poor's document on the county finances. One guy got up and read an Internet story on S&P's major screw-ups and others followed.

Neither one of them made a decent point the entire evening.

Check out the Youtube videos from DBarlow of the meeting. It's pretty clear the three stooges didn't have a clue.

It's all about the West Bypass. Follow the money!

WOW! The question is: Did Boss Hogg learn his tricks from Barrack Obama's play book, or did he plagiarize that of NANCY PELOSI??

johenry, be real careful. This display of facts could get you ousted from the next commission meeting. Who knows, Boss Hogg could borrow techniques from Sec of Home Land Security, Janet A Napolitano, and start confiscating cameras, tape recorders, cell phones, even pencils and paper of all attendees. (You know, the Boss might consider pencils a weapon of myth destruction.)

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