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Tax Commissoner's resignation is the best outcome

Posted: December 22, 2013 - 12:09am

As I was writing this Friday morning, rumors were swirling that Kay Allen had resigned her office as Columbia County Tax Commissioner. Neither the county commission nor Gov. Nathan Deal’s office had received any official notification. By the time you read this, all of that might have changed.

I sincerely hope so.

First of all, I want to say that I mean Allen no ill will. I certainly hope that there has been no criminal wrongdoing on her part, but it appears at least one state law has been breached by side deals with Grovetown and Harlem that resulted in thousands of extra pay for her at taxpayer expense. No one knows how that will be resolved.

Her resignation, however, is necessary, even if no criminal charges are in the offing.

The actions of our public officials should be open and upfront for all to see.

The government belongs to the people. It works for the people. It answers to the people. When it ceases to do so, we are all cheated.

That’s what happened here. Allen cheated her constituents by conducting the public’s business in secret.

Perhaps a case can be made that she was entitled to additional pay for collecting taxes for the cities of Grovetown and Harlem, but not without public disclosure.

For years she collected the money she thought she was entitled to, but failed to make a full and fair accounting to those she served. This secret grew and festered as the money involved ballooned to outrageous sums – taxpayer’s money.

Allen thought this was none of our business. When asked directly how much she was making from these side deals, she refused to answer. She thought the people who pay her salary had no reason to know how much it was.

It seems that Allen had succumbed to the disease that infects many of our leaders as they grow a little too comfortable in their seats of power. They forget they are there to serve the people.

It seems Allen was more concerned with serving herself.

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Comments (6)

soapy_725

The government belongs to the people. It works for the people.

The government belongs to the people. It works for the people. It answers to the people. Not in CC. It is as you say. Career, unopposed government jobs become ethical traps.

Just the tip of the iceberg. She fired a county employee over $55. While stealing $160K. Did he blow the whistle? Because you cannot open your mouth about anything as an active CC employee. You are toast.

CC has long ceased to do so, we are all cheated.

soapy_725

610 Ronald Reagan Drive? The taxpayers of CC just bought it

for $3,000,000. Were you informed? Who is LZC or JZC Investors,LLC? Rhodes Murphy, Meybohm Realty, Sherman & Hemstreet, a group of county officials, a local bank,

CC records list grantor/grantee from "one government agency to another government agency"?

Little Lamb

Caspar Milquetoast

I was creeped out by this statement in the editorial:

First of all, I want to say that I mean Allen no ill will. I certainly hope that there has been no criminal wrongdoing on her part, but it appears at least one state law has been breached. . . .

Not exactly what one would term "hard hitting," is it? Does the editorialist fear that the tax commissioner will ultimately triumph in this kerfuffle? Is he afraid of ever-increasing assessments on his property?

Well, relax. In theory, the tax assessor's office is supposedly independent of the tax commissioner's office. And, the editorialist tries to comfort us with the notion that government is transparent. But I'm not so sure.

Little Lamb

Transparent

I think Steve Crawford's assertion of transparency in government is Pollyanna-ish. Many, many, many persons in government operate in secret. Think about the CIA. Think about the NSA. Think about the IRS. Think about Homeland Security. Think about the FBI. Think about the GBI.

Think about President Obama. He promised the most transparent presidential administration in U.S. history. But he has delivered stealth, secrecy, opaqueness, and darkness.

For better or worse, the drafters of the State of Georgia constitution granted enormous powers to county tax commissioners (and county sheriffs, for that matter). If I am not mistaken, the entire Georgia Constitution was re-written and subjected to a referendum of the people back in the 1970s or 1980s. If I am correct, then we cannot blame Jim Crow legislators from the 1880s.

From the editorial, we read these words:

When asked directly how much [Columbia County Tax Commissioner Kay K. Allen] was making from these side deals, she refused to answer.

Well, isn't that the American way? We have a U.S. Constitution that grants us citizens the legal right to refuse to answer questions. Saying, "No comment," is as important a matter of free speech as is spewing profanity at a children's picnic.

Kay Allen has retained the services of highly-regarded criminal defense attorney Jack Long. He has thrown down the gauntlet, saying Commissioner Allen will not resign and will not make a statement.

Columbia County needs an editorialist who will take a bolder stand than this ". . . actions of our public officials should be open and upfront for all to see. . . ." pablum.

Riverman1

LL, that's why they have you

LL, that's why they have you and me. :)

janellaH

Tax

I guess this serve as his escape goat. I mean he resigned so that he he'll be free of some possible charges against him. Having corrupt officials in every country is not anew. The argument regarding tax rates are on going. Republicans choose to refuse to increase tax as the Democrats continue to agreed. The real score in this is that, Americans doesn't pay too much for it. It was clearly stated by a survey. In order for you to pay your taxes, take a peek at https://personalmoneynetwork.com

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