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I am always looking for ways to stay in touch. Your neighborhood and community meetings are important to me as they give me a chance to hear directly from you about concerns and ideas. If you do not belong to an association, I can arrange to meet with your friends and neighbors for conversation in your home. Please get in touch with me about upcoming activities so that I can attend. You can reach me at 404-371-4909, through my website, www.kathiegannon.com or email at email@example.com.
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Statement on Bowers/Hyde ReportDear Friends,
The Bowers Report was released this week and there are many conversations that will need to continue. First, I need to converse with you as a listing of some of my expenses has been included. This will also be sent to Mr. Bowers, the GBI, FBI, Attorney General and Governor.
As a County Commissioner serving the public, my duties include supporting my community. Among the ways I support my community are my office’s constituent services, public appearances, community meetings, dissemination of information, and – when appropriate and when manifestly in the public interest – expenditures from the commission discretionary budget intended to facilitate these things I do to support the community. My constituents expect this sort of involvement, and I am confident that they approve what I do. Each commission office, which operates much like a separate department, is allocated the same budget amount.
At the outset of this investigation I did two things. First, I requested a meeting with Mr. Bowers where I pledged my full cooperation and agreement to provide any information he sought. All supporting records or documents that were requested were delivered. It was my hope he would delve deeper, especially into Watershed where previous attempts to investigate were sidetracked and into those expenditures for which there is no work product. Second, I notified ICEO Lee May and our County Attorney and the public that without a contract, scope of service, and adherence to budgetary policy, controls and procurement procedures, that this venture was not legal and an example of poor management. It is unfortunate that the citizens of the County had to pay over $800,000.
Mr. Bowers takes a very hard line against contributions to non-profit organizations. As you will see in my expenditures report that follows, the non-profits are organizations that the county contracts with to run our senior centers, enhance our parks, or they help our libraries and school programs. All are services that are a priority to our citizens and the expenditures I have made are for specific needs, not some unrestricted, contribution for a tax exemption. I will work with the County Attorney to clarify this issue, as there are few guidelines in a discretionary budget. At the same time the assertion that that state legislators and elected officials are not allowed to make small grants for good public purposes is unusual. The question seems to me is whether or not the grants are genuinely for the public good, not whether or not the grants are made.
Citizens should take some comfort in knowing that the reform legislation that I helped to initiate last year is coming to fruition. The County is establishing an Independent Internal Auditor that will be in place soon. In November citizens will have the opportunity to vote on a stronger and more independent Ethics Commission. And new Purchasing and Procurement policies will be codified into law very soon. It is citizen advocacy that made this happen. Please do not give up.
In a spirit of full governmental transparency, here are details on the items listed in the recent report by former Attorney General Bowers. Any constituents who want to learn more know that they only need to phone me. Thank you.
Open Letter Introducing an Initiative for Accountability on the AUFC HeadquartersOn August 4, 2014, a bare majority of the DeKalb County Commission took action to approve an open ended incentive of at least $12 million for billionaire Arthur Blank to headquarter and train his new professional Atlanta United Football (Soccer) Club (AUFC) on DeKalb County property on Memorial Drive between the Kensington MARTA Station and I-285. The action was extraordinary, as it occurred with no opportunity for public input, and only six days after the proposed deal became public. News reports on competing proposals available at the time of the decision confirmed that our DeKalb County Community could have given Arthur Blank a very good deal at a much lower cost. It didn’t need to be a giveaway.
Read the entire letter.
Statement on Proposed Soccer Deal in DeKalb, 8/3/15Dear Friends,
The use of public money for Stadiums is in the news. From Cobb County’s behind closed doors rushed deal to the Presidents proposal to curtail the federal tax breaks for what John Oliver correctly defines as the businesses of wealthy owners. Now we in DeKalb have our own opportunity to rush into a behind closed doors deal to contribute public money to a stadium complex for a wealthy owner.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was presented to the BOC last Tuesday with a requirement to vote on it this Tuesday, tomorrow, 8/4/15. Some commissioners were ready to vote that same day. Apparently they were behind those closed doors.
I have a long list of questions regarding the extent of public (YOUR) money to go into the project and the benefits that will come to YOU.
So far there isn’t much balance.
View my full statement in opposition of this deal.