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.