Letters to the Editor

To the Editor,

I want to state publicly my annoyance with the uncalled for attack done by Commissioner Earl Johnson that targeted — primarily — citizen Joe Webb but also other citizens who have voiced concerns about county government malfeasance and misfeasance. The pretext of Johnson’s fifteen-minute rant at the October 25 commissioners meeting was a letter from the state attorney general’s office.

The letter stated the office had declined to act on Mr. Webb’s complaint that the Fannin County Board of Commissioners illegally failed to respond to his Open Records requests. The decline was posited on grounds that Webb’s request was not given to the county’s designated recipient for such requests, county clerk Rita Kirby, and the fact that the county did not have to do research to deliver answers to questions it did not already have in its records. These grounds for rejecting Webb’s request could have easily been conveyed to Webb by any one of the commissioners. Instead, his requests were ignored with silence.

To compound the insult of his lengthy attack on Webb, Johnson ignored Webb’s remarks in the budget workshop portion of the meeting, wherein Webb made these thoughtful suggestions: 1) Separating capital expenditures from general expenditures would give clarity as to how our money is being spent; 2) Elected officers who received large increases in their budgets should be required to report to the commissioners and citizens their reasons for the large increases; 3) County should comply with audit recommendations and provide a plan and narrative; 4) The cost of school resource officers should be carried by the Board of Education to which citizens, like himself, are paying twice as much in taxes than to the county; and 5) Amended budgets should be voted on, a idea given previously by Johnson himself.

I think it is astonishing that Johnson would ridicule at length a citizen who went to him while ignoring such recommendations. He wallowed in the celebration of the rejection of Webb’s complaint by the state attorney general. Mr. Johnson, you had no call to attack Joe Webb the way you did. He probably leaned on you for the informationmthat was withheld because he trusted you more than the others.

Moreover, did you not say you had a problem with “people [who] want to have influence and input when they haven’t been elected to [a] position”? Yes, you did say that, and then you turned around in your remarkable exhibition of verbal diarrhea to state, “We’re suppose to be partners here.” When considering the many instances of malfeasance and misfeasance by this board of commissioners — our chairmanmin particular — woe unto Fannin County if concerned citizens are ignored and ridiculed when attempting to participate in the conduct of our government.

Signed, Ralph Garner Blue Ridge, GA

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