I would like to set the record straight about the comments that I made during the last commissioners meeting.
I dont know why all of that got printed about me wearing a T-shirt with a Sheriffs Department logo on it. Was someone trying to suggest that Sheriff [Steve] Wilson sent me to the meeting? I dont know the answer to that question but I would like to say that the meeting was on audiotape.
I suggest someone go replay the tape to see how I approached the commission. I made it very clear that I was there as a taxpaying citizen and not as a county employee. I was not at work or on duty. It is true that I was wearing a shirt with a department logo on it but it is no different if an employee at Roper were to go out in public with a shirt that said Roper on it, or a teacher of the high school going to a school board meeting with a LaFayette Ramblers shirt on. What difference does it make?
This is still that ole smoke and mirrors magic trick we have been seeing for some time now. Sheriff Wilson never knew I was going to the meeting. Quite frankly I didnt ask for his permission. I am a citizen who dosent like what is going on and was requesting action on a very serious problem.
If Senator [Jeff] Mullis wants to make this a partisan politics war, then its time to get it on. Senator Mullis [was] quoted in the Sunday News Free Press that he thinks the people just wanted to see us being good stewards of their tax dollars. Come on Jeff, you didnt really mean that did you? Please tell these people you were just joking.
The budget that was placed before us by our commissioner had a line item calling for economic development administration to the tune of $86,000.00 for fiscal year 2006. The previous year read zero. Did you, as a public [official], want this extra salary to pay for or could it be you didnt know anything about it? Well thats the way I see that it was intended to be until this was exposed.
I encourage all voters everywhere to tell other Walker voters about this and tell the people in Catoosa and Dade counties as well. My question is, do they pay him the same thing we do or are they getting the shaft on decisions at the Senate level?
Senator Mullis is the chairman of the Economic Development Committee in the state of Georgia. That seems to be an aweful powerful position if your greasing his wheels. I contacted the state Capitol and ask about a senators pay. They were very cordial and revealed that a state senator makes a base salary of $16,524 per year. The state also pays their benefit package that is 32 percent of their yearly salary which amounts to $5,287.68.
In addition to that they get $128 for each session up to 40 sessions. If they go all 40, it amounts to $5,120. In addition to the sessions they get another $128 for every committee they sit on. Senator Mullis sits on four different committees. They get one round trip milage per week and as of yet I dont know whether he drives his vehicle or the county vehicle that we didnt know we gave him.
Also, last but not least, they are entitled to $7,000 reimbursement for all expenses incurred for that year. All of this, and not to mention the benefit of lobbists wining and dining them. Oh yes, that certainly goes on too. Do the math. You can certainly see why I am so upset.
I am standing up for all of my fellow officers that I appreciate with all of my heart. I know that at any given time or situation they would be willing to die to help me in time of crisis.
If I wind up being the sacrificial lamb for this, then so be it. I love all of them dearly and want them to know that. Please understand that I am just another deputy struggling to make a living and pay my bills.
I hope the public can see this the way we do because this mess will be with us for years to come and its up to you to do something about it.
Bruce Coker, LaFayette
Government should be run for benefit of people
Critics lambasting Walker Countys governmental budget are sending barbs at the fire department, which isnt funded by that budget, county officials said.
I have to comment on this one. The fire department may not be included in this budget; however, the fire department is funded mostly by taxes from Walker County residents. They should also cut down on unnecessary use of county vehicles, just like the rest of the county employees or officials.
It seems as if everyone in the county has forgotten these officials are supposed to be doing their jobs with the best interest going to the taxpayers, not themselves. I, for one, have seen fire department vehicles being driven for personal use many times.
Maybe I am wrong, but if we cut out unnecessary use of these vehicles, maybe that $65 of taxes could be trimmed back to, say, $50, or maybe even $35.
The message I am trying to send is this: the taxpayers of Walker County want to see our government run for the benefit of the people, which includes not only providing good service when needed, but also providing that service at a well-managed rate. When we see people spending county money when they should be spending their own, we think the rate could be more reasonable to benefit us all, not just a few.
This includes everything tax-funded, not just the vehicles, and not just the fire department. I keep reading about all the officials saying they just dont know how they are going to operate under their budget. Well, cutting out the cell phones and parking a few cars is a good start, but I am sure if they look they could find a few more things to cut out. Driving cars home is one more thing we could cut out. This is not Atlanta, where major problems develop daily. I wonder how many county vehicles we can get rid of completely and stop paying insurance and repair bills on?
Cut off the bathroom lights or something give me a break!
Chris Hollis, LaFayette
Secrecy in government has become rampant
Responding to Chicken Little Was Right, (Sept. 8), since the Republicans took control of Georgia government mainly by defections of former Democrats, not by election mandate secrecy in government has become rampant.
The state has no right to secrecy for any reason. Citizens of Georgia are heavily burdened by taxation and the notion that elected officials can
conduct any type of state business in private is a direct infringement upon the people who are paying the bills. If I were a state industry recruiter I would have the intelligence to know that catering to giant government welfare land developers and other business corporations which suck tax money by the millions from state coffers is in direct violation of the people who furnish the cash.
Photo IDs at the polls is a Republican ploy to disenfranchise those who have no drivers license. It has been stated those who do not have a drivers license may obtain another form of ID. If the people cant afford a drivers license or cannot obtain one, whats to make our illustrious representatives think they will be able to get any other type of ID? Registering to vote at the local registration office is the reason there is a registration office to obtain IDs and proof of who you are. How did the legislature miss this 100-year-old fact?
Women wanting an abortion should not be forced to listen to religious quackery, extremist counselors, or government agents in dark sunglasses as they are making an important decision in their lives. As Chief Justice nominee John Roberts stated, Roe vs. Wade is, settled law. We all have our personal opinions.
Our legislators eased restrictions on predatory lending, which means those firms making a loan will give you $1,000 for which you will repay with interest around $2,678.54 one month later.
Another law makes it hard for the poor to sue for injuries by not being able to afford an attorney. The bar has been raised high enough to disqualify practically anyone who needs a low-cost or free lawyer. The Georgia Legal Services, once used by those who couldnt afford a lawyer, cannot tell you how they can help you, because they actually cant help you with any legal problem. Their lawyers are always in but never go out on a case.
Possibly the low point in state government is the fact the governor has been granted the power to drop children from Peach Care low-cost insurance to punish slow-paying parents who sometimes are late paying the premiums.
If Orris Tottle is concerned with secrecy in state government, then why a secret pen name?
Signed, Borris Pottle ... er ...
Larry C. Stone, Dalton
Sergeant from Chickamauga made big difference in boys day
About two months ago, I was getting my hair cut with my son. Like any 5-year-old, Michael was getting bored. He asked to go to the Army recruit office across the way to talk to the Army guys.
I told him they were probably busy. Michael, being very persistent, asked again. Finally one of the salon girls took him. About 20 minutes later a very excited, happy boy came back with oodles of Army goodies, binoculars, key chains and pens.
Then Michael asked in a very serious manner if he could invite the Army guys to his birthday. I said I didnt think they would have the time. Michael asked again. As we were leaving, a few of the Army recruiters greeted me and said what a nice young man Michael was, and how polite he was.
When I was done thanking them. Michael boldly asked, Will you guys come to my Army party on Saturday?
To my surprise the answer was, You bet, we would be honored.
A sergeant gave me his card and asked me to call to remind him. Michaels party approached, I called to remind them, and they even remembered.
So, with the entire kindergarten class anticipating the arrival of real live Army guys at Michaels party, one awesome young sergeant, Mark A. Catlett (see editors note below), showed up. You can imagine the awestruck faces of these young boys. Mark took pictures with all the boys with a huge smile at least a dozen times. He stayed for an hour and a half, full of fun, love and Army honor, a day seven young boys will always remember.
At a time when Americans spend so much time criticizing the Army, especially recruiters, one sergeant made a difference in a little boys day. I am proud of our Army most are like Sgt. Mark Catlett. I am honored to know him.
An army of one? I would like to think that we could be that as a nation. God bless America, and God bless Sgt. Mark Catlett.
Arlene Temple, Sonora, Calif.
Editors note: Mark Catlett is from Chickamauga.
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