BoE, county commission get failing grades

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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 YouTube.com.

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.