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It's time for Kay Allen to step down

Posted: February 26, 2014 - 12:10am

It’s not going to get better.

Kay Allen’s tenure as Colum­bia County’s tax commissioner appears to be grinding to a slow, inexorable end.

A criminal investigation file is sitting on District Attorney Ashley Wright’s desk. Federal authorities, including the Internal Revenue Service, have another investigation bearing down. And now the Board of Commissioners appears at the ready to file a civil lawsuit.

It is just a matter of time before Allen will be a former elected official. How and when that happens is still within her control, at least for now.

She could continue to hold out and stall, but that will only serve her interests and not those of the citizens of Columbia County.

In one scenario, Allen could be placed under criminal indictment, on either state or federal charges, a circumstance that would likely cause Georgia’s reluctant governor to remove her from office.

It is also possible that no criminal charges will be filed, and that Allen will use all her will, political might and money to battle the county to a standstill, hanging on until her job is placed in the hands of the electorate in 2016. If a recall effort mounts, that situation might occur much sooner.

Either way, being unelectable, Allen will almost certainly be sent packing by voters.

There is only one scenario, however, in which Allen can exercise a measure of control and demonstrate a sense of responsibility as a constitutional officer of this state. She can step down. Now.

Allen needs to remember that she is not THE tax commissioner. She merely has been elected to serve that role, to fulfill responsibilities of that job.

She has served for more than two decades, but during that time it is clear that she used the position to enrich herself at the cost of the taxpayers.

Perhaps she was allowed to do this by state law, and – if you accept her lawyer’s arguments – perhaps she was unaware that the law had changed affecting her payments from Harlem and Grovetown, and even then she really did nothing criminal in the process.

If that is the case, Allen did nothing more than exploit a flaw in state code to turn a service she was in a position to provide into an easy revenue stream for her personal bank account.

Last year, she was paid an additional $36,000 for collecting city taxes. You can be certain that the vast majority of actual work was performed by county employees, working on county time and using county resources. None of that money went to pay those employees or reimburse the county for its expenses. Is this how a public servant should act?

It is a simple matter – just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Allen has acted in a way that places herself above the people she supposedly serves. She actually thinks she deserves it.

So, while she is working on her next move with her team of attorneys, Allen needs to consider negotiating a settlement with the taxpayers of Columbia County. She needs to come up with a suitable plan to make it right with the people who placed her in office.

Sure, she needs to return the money, but that’s not enough. Her opening offer has to be resignation.

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Comments (5)

Little Lamb

Other Shoe

This editorial is fine as far as it goes, but it is incomplete.

One other elected official who should resign as a result of the tax commissioner’s chicanery is the tax commissioner’s husband, Charles Allen, a county commissioner. He was knowledgeable of his wife’s windfall, and was a beneficiary.

During recent months Commissioner Charles Allen has recused himself from voting on matters involving the tax commissioner as he should. But he has recently taken to being absent from commission meetings altogether (judging by photos published in the paper). Thus the citizens in his district are getting second-class representation.

When will we see a News-Times editorial calling for Charles Allen’s resignation?


Nothing Less Than Criminal Charges

At this stage, after enduring weeks of Kay Allen and her lawyers denying any wrong doing, nothing less than criminal charges should be acceptable.


Somebody Please Enforce The Law

There's an attorney out there arguing any existing contract with a town when the law changed meant the practice was okay and could be continued. That's what the Tax Commissioner in Atlanta who is doing the same thing says, not what any responsible legal authority opines. It's time for the DA to enforce the law.


Crawford thinks there is a flaw in the State Code

Then call on the Legislature to fix it. There is a long line of TC's in GA collecting the same monies under that law.

Also the staff that works for the TC does so under the TC office budget, which, once granted, is not a County resource. Therefore ther is no call to reimburse the County for resources.

And as for RM, if you want a legal opinion, consult with State Rep Wendall Willard (http://www.house.ga.gov/representatives/en-US/member.aspx?Member=229&Ses...), Attorney from Sandy Springs, and the author of the law created in 2007 specifically to stop Arthur Ferdinand from collecting fees in Fulton County. Ferdinand has an existing contract which predates the 2007 law. Willard has confessed that is a loophole, and has tried to get further legislation passed, including one bill to make the Fulton County TC an appointed position, which would then be subject to the County Commission.
Let us know what Willard tells you........

Little Lamb


One strange thing is that the city governments of Grovetown and Harlem have not publicly complained about the matter. The persons who paid Grovetown and Harlem city taxes are the ones who actually paid Kay Allen the $36,000. The people who are complaining the loudest live outside Grovetown and Harlem. Why should non-citizens of Grovetown and Harlem be so upset? They didn't spend any of their money to Kay Allen.