dekalb county

Suspicions surround DeKalb’s ‘missing’ millions by Mark Niesse

Suspicions surround DeKalb’s ‘missing’ millions
By Mark Niesse – The Atlanta Journal Constitution, August 9, 2016

The item is buried on a 4-year-old DeKalb County Purchasing Department spreadsheet: an eyebrow-raising $72,348,739.04 to build a sidewalk.

The actual cost? Just under $1.26 million.

DeKalb officials say the discrepancy is some kind of error — a baffling but harmless mistake.

But the citizens group Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter is more wary. In a county that has seen one government corruption case after another, members of the group say, it’s obvious a comprehensive audit needs to be conducted.

Read entire article at link: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/suspicions-surround-dekalbs-missing-millions/nsCqL/

https://www.scribd.com/document/317834011/Where-is-the-70-Million-Dollars-that-s-Missing-from-DeKalb-County-Watershed-Department

Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton’s Pink Slip

Pink Slip - Sharon Barnes Sutton jpeg

Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton’s Pink Slip
By Viola Davis, July 12, 2016
http://voteincumbentsout.org

To Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton:

We regret to inform you that your employment as Commissioner of the 4th District of DeKalb County, Georgia is being terminated, effective July 26, 2016. Your termination is the result of poor performance as outlined below:

• Constant Late Arrival to Commission Meetings and Committee Meetings
• Refusal to Allow the Public to Call Commissioners’ Name During Public Comment
• Refusal to Perform a Forensic Audit of Departments with Missing Money and Discrepancies in Funding
• Suing DeKalb County Board of Ethics which Cost Taxpayers and Voters Thousands

We issue this “Pink Slip” as a written form of termination for poor performance. Copies of the “Pink Slip” will be sent to taxpayers and voters throughout the 4th District and made part of your personnel file. Your neglect to attend community meetings and debates, answer citizens’ concerns, provide strict oversight of departments, dishonesty and divisiveness are signs that indicated an overall disrespect for the 4th District constituency.

As Commissioner of the 4th District, you have a prior history of stating the following:

• “I’m not an “employee”, I’m a Commissioner!”
• “I am good with everything I’ve done.”

Since it is our vote that hires and fires elected officials and our tax money that pays elected officials salaries, we (the people of the 4th District) are the “employers” and you are the “employee”. In the name of moving our district in a new direction with a new vision, we must advise you that after two terms…your performance is poor and we are looking for new leadership.

Attachments below:

http://thechampionnewspaper.com/news/local/sutton-i-am-good-with-everything-ive-done/

http://dekalbofficersspeak.blogspot.com/2011/05/sharon-sutton-im-not-employee-im.html

http://www.cbs46.com/story/31999475/dekalb-county-commissioners-ask-for-names-not-to-be-mentioned-at-public-meeting

Mission: Restore District 4

CBS46 News

Restore District 4:
By Restore DeKalb

New Vision, New Direction, New Leadership

R - Restore Public Trust by removing the “Cloud of Corruption”
E – Economic Development throughout the county
S – Safety and Security for our community
T – Transparency and Integrity
O- Open, Honest and Accountable Government
R – Rebuild and Reclaim our Local Control
E – Ethical and Efficient Governance

1. Restore Public Trust by removing the “Cloud of Corruption”:
a. Steve Bradshaw will demand a forensic audit of the Watershed Department to verify a recent complaint that $70 million dollars is missing. He will have a full forensic audit of the county budget so that we have a clear understanding of where our money is going.
b. The Incumbent (I) was on the Public Works Committee that oversaw the Watershed Department 5 of the 7 years the committee existed. She was/is chairman of the Finance, Audit and Budget committee. Yet, she stated that she could not have a forensic audit because, “we don’t have the infrastructure in place to do it (audit)”.

2. Economic Development throughout DeKalb County:
a. Steve Bradshaw has a new vision for the 4th District as a businessman to increase commercial development. He pledges more aggressive business development efforts to drive job growth.
b. The Incumbent (I) has hindered commercial development throughout her term. We ask that everyone drive down Memorial Drive. She is attempting to build a library at Wade Walker Park in violation of federal regulation that cost taxpayers over $100,000 in grants.

3. Safety and Security for our community:
a. Steve Bradshaw will ensure the police and fire personnel receive adequate funding to retain our experienced officers. He pledges better pay and benefits for our public safety and public works employees. He also pledges more timely and efficient code enforcement.
b. The Incumbent (I) has hindered increased funding for police, fire and code enforcement. During her term, she has had open differences with the Code Enforcement Advisory Board.

4. Transparency and Integrity:
a. Steve Bradshaw pledges to honor the Open Records Request Law and answer requests in a timely manner.
b. The Incumbent (I) refused to answer Open Records Request until the watchdog group, Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter, filed a complaint to the state Attorney General.

5. Open, Honest and Accountable Government:

a. Steve Bradshaw pledges to have at least one County Commission meeting a month in the evening so that more citizens can be engaged and additional town hall meetings in the 4th district. He will support expanding the public comment time during County Commission meetings.
b. The Incumbent (I) was instrumental in starting the policy that restricted the public from using the Commissioners’ name during public comment. The practice was so controversial that it made national news. She is notorious for not answering complaints from citizens, home associations, etc.

6. Rebuild and Reclaim our Local Control:
a. Steve Bradshaw pledges to work with the local representatives and form a partnership with the Board of Education. He will establish a District 4 Mayor’s roundtable and Pastor’s roundtable so that our cities and churches are partners in government.
b. The Incumbent (I) has a history of being divisive and dishonest. In her two terms thus far, her record has decreased the development of our local community.

7. Ethical and Efficient Governance:
a. Steve Bradshaw pledges to behave in an ethical manner with integrity and honesty. He is an honorable discharge commissioned officer and has a history of business ownership, management, and ethical governance.
b. The Incumbent (I) is presently suing the DeKalb County Board of Ethics at taxpayers’ expense. Watchdog groups view this as nothing other than a delay tactic on her part. The Incumbent’s executive assistant was found guilty by the Board of Ethics of the following charges:
i. Failure to properly preserve government records. Specifically, failure to maintain purchase card receipts.
ii. Theft by taking, theft by deception, false certification of gift cards with county funds for personal use, improper purchase of personal items on government issued purchasing card without reimbursement to the county in many cases.
iii. Theft by deception, false certification by employee, making a false statement in violation of O.C.G.A. Specifically, use of county time to attend Barnes Sutton’s political event.

Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter and Restore DeKalb were victorious. They originally filed this complaint May 30, 2014 against Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and her executive assistant, Judy Brownlee. Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton threw Judy Brownlee “under the bus”.

CBS46 News

Violation of Citizens 1st Amendment Rights Places DeKalb County in National News

CBS46 News

Violation of Citizens 1st Amendment Rights Places
DeKalb County in National News
By Viola Davis, July 11, 2016

Memorial Day gives honor to our fallen soldiers that risk their all to protect our Constitutional rights against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Who would ever guess that DeKalb County would make national news for violating one of the most important Constitutional rights of them all, the 1st Amendment (Freedom of Speech).

DeKalb County Board of Commissioners in Georgia instituted a new rule prohibiting citizens from using the names of commissioners during the public comment portion of the county meeting.

This rule carried little weight with Ruby Bozeman Davis, co-founder of the Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter ministry. Davis appeared at the May 10th Board of Commissioners meeting to speak during the public comment to simply state the board members’ names. Her first attempt to call the name of the Presiding Officer, Commissioner Larry Johnson, was met with an episode of chastisement.

The interaction was televised throughout our nation, particularly on CBS stations and made national news to include:

1. Conservative Tribune article titled, “County Leaders Get Brutal Surprise After Ordering Voter to Keep Their Names Secret” at link -http://conservativetribune.com/county-leaders-names-secret/

2. The Blaze.com article titled, “County Commissioners Prohibit Citizens From Saying Officials’ Names During Public Meetings — the New Rule Doesn’t Go Over Well” with 673 shares – http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/05/18/county-commissioners-prohibit-citizens-from-saying-officials-names-during-public-meetings-the-new-rule-doesnt-go-over-well/#

Taxpayer Ruby Davis told WGCL-TV, “That’s my First Amendment right of freedom of speech.”

first amendment violation pic 2

DeKalb Co. commissioners ask for names not to be mentioned at public meeting. @MurphyCBS46 > http://bit.ly/1qsrcZ6

By Adam Murphy
✔‎@MurphyCBS46

Taxpayers blast #DeKalb commissioners for prohibiting them from mentioning their names during public comment.@cbs46
9:49 AM – 17 May 2016

first amendment violation pic 3

“They forget that they’re supposed to work for the taxpayers,” Davis said. “They believe the taxpayers work for them.”
“You’re getting an ethics complaint, each of you, on violation of our freedom of speech,” said taxpayer Jerry Jackson.

During a meeting, taxpayer Jeff Long noted that “the county’s own written comment policy does not address using a commissioner’s name during public comment time.”

“If you don’t want your name mentioned during public comment time, then stop doing outrageous, offensive, illegal and, quite frankly, stupid things,” Long said.

Also during a recent meeting, taxpayer Beth Long said, “With this rule, the message that you’re sending to us the public is that you hold yourselves above our constitutional rights,” adding, “We the public are the ones who put you in those seats.”

barnes sutton head shot

(Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton Picture)

WGCL noted that one of the commissioners — Sharon Barnes Sutton — found a creative way to avoid hearing her name at the meeting: She arrived two hours late.

Read entire article and view the video at the link:

http://www.cbs46.com/story/31999475/dekalb-county-commissioners-ask-for-names-not-to-be-mentioned-at-public-meeting

http://www.cbs46.com/story/32329960/70-million-allegedly-missing-dekalb-taxpayers-demand-audit

CBS46 News

No Cell Towers On School Grounds Campaign – We Won!

no cell tower on school grounds

Statement from Get the Cell Out – Atl: Congratulations to everyone involved in every community who helped bring this subject to the forefront of their conversations and who held their elected officials accountable for their actions. And thank you to every person involved in this fight and similar battles taking place across the country. Your willingness to put yourself on the line in order to learn the truth and face skeptics should be an inspiration to others. We would never been able to stand up to the “system” here if there were not success stories of others who had faced the same Goliath, and won their battle before ours.

We appreciate Commissioner Rader and the entire DeKalb County Board of Commissioners for stepping up and taking on this fight against T Mobile while upholding the zoning code in our communities.

Regardless of any bad publicity you may have heard about our county commissioners,
they at least did the right thing for the communities they serve when they all signed a
letter to the CEO’s office, advising that any attempt to gain an “administrative permit”
instead of using the proper channels should be denied and our county’s zoning ordinances
should be upheld.

commissioners.story.makes.front.page.news.04.2012.page.2

If you have not educated yourself about the many adverse effects that have been documented about cell phone towers, please look over the many sources available on our website or email us with questions. A good source of information can also be found at the Center for Safer Wireless – http://thecenterforsaferwireless.us.

http://www.GetTheCellOutATL.org

Email:sayno2celltowers@yahoo.com

We also encourage everyone to thoroughly read the new zoning ordinance as suggested by Commissioner Rader and voice any feedback to the county commissioners and CEO’s office as soon as possible.

kathie gannon pic

Federal Judge Backs DeKalb on Denying Cell Tower Permits

In 2011, T-Mobile and the DeKalb Board of Education proposed to build cell towers on 11 school properties located in residential areas. Many citizens and parents organizations were concerned and asked DeKalb County to act. At the urging of Commissioner Kathie Gannon, the DeKalb Board of Commissioners wrote then CEO Ellis and asked that the administration refuse to issue building permits because the tower locations, while on school properties, are zoned residential, which does not permit cell phone towers. The cell tower company and the DeKalb School Board challenged the right of County government to enforce its zoning code on school properties. Recently Federal District Judge Thrash ruled that the County acted properly in refusing to issue the building permits.

“I’m pleased with the Federal Court ruling and that DeKalb enforced this protection of our neighborhoods,” said Gannon. “The cell towers will not be built on the school properties.”

The Commissioner can be reached: http://www.kathiegannon.com or email kgannon@dekalbcountyga.gov.

jeff rader newsletter_header

Cell-phone Tower Update

One of the most pervasive signs of our mobile communications society is the proliferation of cell phone towers across the landscape. In DeKalb, the mobile communications revolution occurred after the widespread development of the landscape, so the infill installation of these structures has been perceived as intrusive in many residential neighborhoods. One recent decision and one pending regulation are relevant and noteworthy.

The recent noteworthy decision is the dismissal of a suit against DeKalb County by T-Mobile, a cellular provider. T-Mobile had sued DeKalb seeking a building permit for structures on two DeKalb County School System (DCSS) properties in District 2: Lakeside High School and Margaret Harris Comprehensive School. T Mobile had entered into a contract with DCSS seeking to invoke DCSS’s exemption from zoning regulation to erect the towers in residential districts where they are otherwise prohibited. Encouraged by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, the DeKalb County Administration declined to recognize the requested permits as exempt from zoning since the cell towers were not educational facilities. T-Mobile sued, but canceled their contract with DCSS after the Federal Courts ruled in favor of DeKalb. T-Mobile also paid DeKalb County court costs incurred in our defense.

The decision is important because it helps limit exemptions to zoning laws intended to protect neighborhoods from incompatible development. Governments (Federal, State, Local and Public Schools) retain this important prerogative, but it should only be exercised to directly advance their public mission, not simply to generate revenue.

The pending decision on the regulation of cell towers is in our new zoning ordinance, which will soon be considered by the Board of Commissioners. After considerable public input and a thorough investigation of relevant federal legislation, the current proposal would allow cellular antennas within or attached to nonresidential structures legally permitted in single-family neighborhoods. These would include houses of worship or other institutions that are legally permitted to be of sufficient height to make a cellular antenna attractive to a carrier. The new proposal would not allow the cell towers that were the object of the T-Mobile controversy.

The proposed policy turns on the inherent incompatibility of a free-standing antenna with a surrounding single family neighborhood, and not on the concerns that some citizens have about the radio waves generated by the antenna. This is important because federal communications regulations prohibit local regulation of cellular antennas based on radio wave concerns. We convened citizen stakeholders interested in this issue recently, who made suggestion on refining the policy for adoption. The new zoning ordinance can be found online at http://planningdekalb.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/finalDraftZoningCodeJan20151.pdf

The Commissioner can be reached at: http://www.commissionerrader.com or email, jrader@dekalbcountyga.gov.

DeKalb County Purchase Card (P-Card) Audit

dekalb board of commissioners 2
DeKalb County P-Card Audit

Mark Niesse and Johnny Edwards wrote an article titled, “Audit: Spending reports sloppy” on October 24, 2014 in the AJC newspaper. The front page article was an investigative piece, highlighting the results of a ten year audit of the Board of Commissioners, their office staff and the clerk’s office purchase card usage.

DeKalb County has been lax in its oversight of spending by elected commissioners, and some officials frequently paid for items on their government debit cards without submitting required receipts, according to an audit released Thursday.

The audit shows the seven commissioners used taxpayer funds to pay for everything from steakhouse dinners to speeding tickets…

The DeKalb commission submitted receipts for just 57% of the transactions. However, the Purchase Card (P-card) spending by commissioners includes (according to the AJC):

1. Elaine Boyer: $103,665 with 40 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244408986/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Elaine-Boyer

2. Jeff Rader: $34,606 with 77 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244409024/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Jeff-Rader

3. Larry Johnson: $78,757, with 97 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244409015/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Larry-Johnson

4. Sharon Barnes Sutton: $108,720, with 25 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244410962/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Sharon-Barnes-Sutton

5. Lee May: $57,283, with 39 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244408974/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Lee-May

6. Kathie Gannon: $26,327, with 97 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244409040/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Kathie-Gannon

7. Stan Watson: $57,937, with 78 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244408999/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Stan-Watson

The DeKalb County Purchase Card (P-Card) audit on the Central Office Administration and Clerks:
https://www.scribd.com/doc/244408960/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Central-Office-and-Clerks

For the entire article, view the link : http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/report-finds-loose-spending-by-dekalb-officials/nhqw7/

NOTE: Stay tuned for our take on this so-called audit. We have not done a complete review as of this date. However, a preliminary perusal of this report leave us with a lot of questions to be asked and answered.

Time for Parrott to prove libelous and defamatory statements in Kathie Gannon’s Ethics Complaint

unhappy taxpayer and voter logo1

Memo
To: Chairman John Ernst, DeKalb Board of Ethics, Interim CEO Lee May, Executive Assistant, Zach Williams, District Attorney, Robert James, Lori Dennis, Travis Cherry, Scott Callan, Morris Williams, Commissioners Chief of Staff and Barbara Sanders, Clerk of the CEO and Commission
From: Viola Davis
cc:
Office of the State and Federal Inspector Generals, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sally Quillian Yates, DeKalb Board of Commissioners, Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter, CTEA, Restore DeKalb and all Appropriate Parties.
Date: July 10, 2014

Re:
Documentation of Monica Parrott’s Open Records Request for Official Government Information Regarding Commissioner Kathie Gannon’s Ethics Complaint

Documentation of Monica Parrott’s Open Records Request for Official Government Information regarding Commissioner Kathie Gannon’s Ethics Complaint

Pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Law (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70 et seq.)(The Law) and/or Freedom of Information Act, copying: all files, records, and other documents of Monica Parrott’s Open Records Request for Official Government Information regarding Commissioner Kathie Gannon’s Ethics Complaint to include:

1. Parrott’s Open Records Request for Bank of America records with Lori Dennis’ name at the top and dated:
a. October 05, 2012 – November 04, 2012 (Page 28 of 30)
b. December 05, 2012 – January 04, 2013 (Page 15 of 16)
c. February 05, 2013 – March 04, 2013 (Page 25 of 26)

2. Parrott’s Open Records Request for Bank of America records with Travis Cherry’s name at the top and dated:
a. April 05, 2013 – May 04, 2013 (Page 27 of 30)
b. May 05, 2013 – June 04, 2013 (Page 31 of 32)
c. November 05, 2013 – December 04, 2013 (Page 15 of 16)
d. July 05, 2013 – August 04, 2013 (Page 28 of 30)
e. December 05, 2013 – January 04, 2014 (page 14 of 16)

3. Parrott’s Open Records Request to the finance department for copies of the Bank of America Bank Statements and documents quoted concerning Commissioner Kathie Gannon’s payments to nonprofits for “kickbacks”.

4. Parrott’s Open Records Request to Purchasing and Contracting for financial information regarding Commissioner Gannon’s Ethics Complaint.

It is important to increase transparency, ethics, and accountability in DeKalb County Government. It is paramount that we increase “Public Trust” in DeKalb County. We must hold our elected officials and their staff accountable.

DeKalb County government (legislative and administrative) must be investigated to assess if any government resources, staff, finances, etc. were used to assist Monica Parrott in filing the ethics complaint. We must verify the following:
• Did Monica Parrott receive any assistance in compiling the ethics complaint against Commissioner Kathie Gannon from elected officials and/or government officials/staff?

• Did Monica Parrott obtain the information provided in the ethics complaint through the help of elected officials and/or government officials/staff to intimidate, humiliate, and retaliate, etc. against private citizens?

Monica Parrott’s ethics complaint against Commissioner Kathie Gannon contain false statements that are libelous and defamatory. We request the opportunity to subpoena Parrott to give a sworn deposition concerning the accusations stated as fact in her ethics complaint. We are particularly interested in the involvement of a third party or parties in these malicious statements.

The statements involving Viola Davis and the Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter ministry involve:
• Defamation of character
• False accusations with total disregard of research
• Intention to defile our reputation of respect, adhering to high ethical standards, honesty and integrity
• Reckless disregard for the truth

We have proof of the following facts to correct the libelous and defamatory statements made in Kathie Gannon’s ethics complaint by Monica Parrott to include:

• Commissioner Kathie Gannon has not paid Viola Davis and/or Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter “one penny” in money or any other in-kind financial support…period.

• Viola Davis and/or Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter has never received illegal financial support of any kind to include “kickbacks” from Commissioner Gannon or any other party.

• Viola Davis, co-founder of Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter, is not presently a member of PRISM due to the lack of payment of membership dues for over 1+ years. However, Davis thanks Monica Parrott for reminding her to renew her membership.

• Viola Davis is not part of a nonprofit “whose 501 (c) (3) status has been revoked by the IRS for non-compliance with its reporting requirement”.

• Viola Davis and the Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter ministry are not political operatives of Commissioner Kathie Gannon or any other elected official.

• Viola Davis is a critical care registered nurse (License number – RN101605 issued 9/18/1991) with over 20+ years’ experience in MICU, SICU, and CCU. As a Veteran with an honorable discharge from the military, I, Viola Davis, am a commissioned officer trained in combat nursing. The statement, “questionable income” is libelous and defamatory especially since Monica Parrott continuously references illegal activity throughout the ethics complaint.

• Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter, Inc. was registered with Georgia Secretary of State on 4/19/2002. On April 21, 2004, a U.S. federal trademark registration (serial number 78405400) was filed for Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter. We have spent over 12 years earning the respect of the community. We are known for our research, advocacy, and educating the public on serious social and political issues. We are a government watchdog organization/ministry. We analyze the manner in which taxpayer funds are spent and disseminate the results to the public with the purpose of encouraging fiduciary responsibility amongst elected officials. (View the Link)

A federal complaint was filed by Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter with the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, Office of the Inspector General, United State Attorney General and the Department of Revenue on September 2013:

Ethics complaints were filed against Kelvin Walton, Nina Hall, Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee:

We also recently attended a meeting with the offices of the federal and state Inspector Generals. We requested information/documents on protection for witnesses and government employees with knowledge of illegal activity, wrongdoing, waste, mismanagement, abuse, etc. We have an obligation to educate the public and government employees who fear acts of intimidation and retaliation.

We’re afraid this ethics complaint filed by Monica Parrott is an example of retaliation for attempting to hold our elected officials and government agencies accountable. The libelous and defamatory statements within the ethics complaint are acts of retaliation.

We request a full investigation into the method that Monica Parrott obtained her information if no Open Records Request was ever filed. Once again, we view such acts as retaliation.

If this request is denied in whole or in part, we ask that you cite in writing the specific statutory exemption upon which you have relied, as required by law, we also ask that you release all separate portions of otherwise exempt material. Please waive any costs associated with this request, or first inform us about such costs as required by Georgia Law.

As you know, the Law requires a response by you within three business days of your receipt of this Open Records Request and provides sanctions for non-compliance. I look forward to hearing from you. I can be reached at 770-256-0034 or via email at UnhappyTaxpayers@gmail.com.
Sincerely,

Viola Davis
Community Missionary

Moratorium on Purchase Cards (P-Cards) in DeKalb County

unhappy taxpayer and voter logo1

MORATORIUM ON P-CARDS UNTIL AUDIT AND INTERNAL CONTROLS ARE COMPLETED

Time for a moratorium on purchase cards (p-cards) usage in DeKalb County. DeKalb County must implement a moratorium on purchase cards to regain public trust and proper oversight of the program.

The recent exposé on Commissioner Elaine Boyer and Commissioner Sharon Barnes-Sutton has created a cloud of distrust, waste, abuse and corruption (borderline alleged illegal activity) involving the use of p-cards for personal use such as paying for speeding tickets to financing a ski resort trip. The common factor each commissioner recites involves their lack of knowledge of policy, procedures, keeping proper records, etc.

A moratorium on purchase cards involves the following:

1. Moratorium on further independent usage of the purchase cards until the audit is complete. We must improve management oversight and internal control of the purchase card program.
2. Cardholders must submit supporting documentation to the program for review and override within 24-72 hours. Documentation must include all purchases made with p-cards with verification that such purchases were for county purposes.
3. Blockage of high risk transactions and categories must be part of the program to deliver red flags to administrators responsible for oversight.
4. Develop training sessions on p-card policy and procedures for purchase cardholders and approving officials to address the non-compliance issues.
5. Depending on the severity of the violations, cardholders and approving officials in violation of agency policy and/or procedures may have their authority revoked, suspended, and/or possibly be subject to termination and/or civil/criminal prosecution.

Once a pattern of abuse is verified through the audit, the individuals in willful and flagrant violation of the purchase card policy and procedure must be held accountable with civil and criminal charges to the fullest extent of the law.

Ten Year Audit of DeKalb Commissioners’ P-Cards

Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.

Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton surprised the public as well as her fellow commissioners with a gift…A ten year audit of the DeKalb Commissioners’ P-Cards.

Commissioner Jeff Rader and Commissioner Kathie Gannon introduced a resolution during the Board of Commissioners meeting, directing the executive assistant to obtain the services of a certified internal auditor or a certified government audit professional to analyze the expenditures of each member of the Board of Commissioners and their staff.

The audit will include the following:

• Audit to review the expenditures for the past ten years by each BOC, his/her respective staff and office, and the central office of the BOC;
• Audit shall review expenditures and decide whether the expenses were for county business;
• The auditor shall begin auditing commission district 6 first, per Commissioner Barnes Sutton’s substitution.
• The final and complete audit shall be distributed promptly to each member of the BOC, the CEO, and the Board of Ethics, and shall be made available to the public.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution article, “DeKalb Official Spent County Funds On Herself” by Johnny Edwards (3/22/2014), reported alleged misuse of the her purchase card (P-Card).

http://legalpronews.findlaw.com/article/22082f625614e6f3810cfff376dbde72#.U0rRSiiKV6U

http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/dekalb-official-spent-county-funds-on-herself/nfH4g/

The resolution attempts to restore public trust through the use of transparency, and begin to restore public confidence.

Update: Email statement from Commissioner Kathie Gannon
kathie gannon photo

Independent Audit for all Commissioners

Yesterday the Board of Commissioners took the first step forward into sunshine and transparency. Commissioner Rader and I introduced the attached resolution calling for an independent audit of all spending for the past 5 years by each County Commissioner starting with District 1. The audits will include Purchase Cards, all other expenditures and all commission staff. The resolution directs the County to hire a Certified Internal Auditor or a Certified Government Audit Professional using funds previously budgeted for an internal auditor. The resolution was modified by Commissioner Barnes-Sutton to start with District 6 (my District) and to go back 10 years and then begin with District 1. This substitute motion passed without a dissenting vote. Commissioner Barnes-Sutton later attempted to call for a reconsideration of her substitute motion, however that failed. Please see the attached resolution that calls for an audit of all County Commission expenditures.

Kathie Gannon
Super District 6 Commissioner

http://www.scribd.com/doc/220196905/Ten-Year-Independent-Audit-of-All-DeKalb-Commissioners-P-Cards

Walton And Hall Suspended

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WALTON AND HALL SUSPENDED

DeKalb’s Interim CEO, Lee May, placed the county’s purchasing director and CEO Burrell Ellis’ former secretary on paid leave Monday, April 21, 2014.

Kelvin Walton and Nina Hall were involved in alleged corruption in county government procurement processes. May said that he decided to suspend Walton and Hall to rebuild public trust.

Read the rest of the story at this link:

http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local/two-tied-to-corruption-in-dekalb-suspended/nffHN/

Two Tied To Corruption In DeKalb Suspended

or view the video at:

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/2-dekalb-officials-accused-accepting-bribes-placed/nffGg/
2 DeKalb Officials Accused Of Accepting Bribes Placed On Administrative Leave (4/21/14)