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The Fayette County Board of Commissioners are not doing what's best for the County. They are working hard at undoing the things that Chairman Dunn and the previous Board work so hard to accomplish. I know the Employees at that County feels like they are in the middle of a tug of war. Trying to leave yesterday in the past but constantly living the pains of today. Chris Venice was the right person for the job. Makes me think that the new Board can not handle a woman with a strong mind and her own opinion. She was asked to resign because; she's not a yes person and that is exactly what made people respect her. How many more women in top positions will be fired before it's over.

Chris Venice I wish you well and don't let the ignorance of some stop you. You are a great person and was the perfect Administrator for Fayette County. Any County would be lucky to have your expertise.

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Submitted by 30YearResident on Sat, 04/21/2007 - 11:18am.

The rumor was that the Road Director was having problems with an employee. She told him to fire the employee but instead, he handled it differently and gave the employee 3 days off as a penalty. She got mad and gave the road Director 3 days off for not following her orders to fire the employee. The road director apparently had issues with her prior to this and it was the last straw. He accepted a good position with another county at equal if not better pay. The commissioners got wind about what happened and looked into other instances. Then they took action. Again, this is the rumor and could be wrong. I have never found Chris to be anything but professional in her job, both before and after her promotion.

The previous administration did a lot damage to the county admin structure. They made the finance director much to powerful by transferring unrelated departments under their control. They've not addressed methods of keeping qualified people who have "topped out" in pay, consequently, the county has lost good folks.
Criteria to promote someone to run departments and subsequently the county manager was that they do things like Mr. Dunn decreed. Most weren't allowed to make decisions and failed to do so due to fear it would be against Mr. Dunns liking.
Mr. Dunn tried to run things like he did in the military rather than running it like a business. He dictated rather than allowed the department heads to manage.
Moral went into the toilet. Good people left unless they were so vested in time that they couldn't afford to lose it.

It's going to take the new commissioners a while to get things sized up and change both the atmosphere and the structure.

Give them the benefit of doubt for now. If, in a year, things haven't started turning around, I'll be right there with you in yelling for their heads.

Submitted by swmbo on Sat, 04/21/2007 - 7:44pm.

I have never found Chris to be anything but professional and an insubordinate employee subjects him or herself to disciplinary action. Period.

Criteria to promote someone to run departments and subsequently the county manager was that they do things like Mr. Dunn decreed. Most weren't allowed to make decisions and failed to do so due to fear it would be against Mr. Dunns liking.

Okay, if we take that as true for the sake of argument, isn't Chris' firing, essentially, the same thing? Apparently, the commissioners didn't like how Chris handled that matter -- she didn't do their bidding. So, they fired her. I don't see that as materially different from what you describe under the previous board. And, for that matter, what do you think Jack Krakeel is going to do? Do you think he is likely to run things the way he sees fit if it contradicts the commissioners (Eric Maxwell and Jack Smith, to be specific)? C'mon, were adults here; they're just going to replace the people they cagetorize as the "old guard" with a new "old guard."

No, this is just the same song, second verse.

If you and I are always in agreement, one of us is likely armed and dangerous.

Submitted by 30YearResident on Mon, 04/23/2007 - 12:02pm.

And here's why...

Department heads are paid a lot of money for the responsibility of running their respective areas. The county manager should allow a department head to discipline their employees as they see fit.

Assuming the rumor is true, to "micro-manage" to the point of giving a department head punishment for not doing as the county manager said regarding this employee, is wrong, and the current commissioners were correct in their action. As I mentioned, if the rumors were correct, this was not the first time.

A county manager or general manager must allow their department heads to manage. By overriding their authority, they discredit their position.

Submitted by tonto707 on Sat, 04/21/2007 - 11:39am.

Ms Venice professional on the one occasion I dealt with her. Professionalism does not equate ability, by a long shot. I think it's a loss for the county that she is not head of Planning and Zoning, but that was her choice, to gamble.

I'm betting you're right about her being a lackey for the old board, Dunn, Wells & Pfeifer. At least, that's what seems to be the case
from the few county employees I encounter on occasion.

Lee Hearn is a loss to the county also, unfortunately, but he made the choices too. Without knowing more about the dispute over diciplining the one employee, I can't really say who's at fault, and
we may never know.

Submitted by tonto707 on Sat, 04/21/2007 - 6:39am.

that you don't know the real reasons Ms Venice was fired. I have on one or two occasions dealt with Ms Venice, and she is indeed a nice lady with abilities in her area of expertise.

She is not qualified to oversee 800+ employees. Didn't we read that she recently asked for four (4) super-supervisors to do the job she
was hired to do? County with already some 15 or so department heads, and she needs a layer between herself and them? At a cost of $600,000
to the county.

What the current board did was to undo an unnecessary mess that Dunn and cronies created. And knowing they had created the mess, they
revised her contract in December to include a year's payout when the new board fixed things.

I wish Ms Venice well in the future, but no apologies for the board of commissioners correcting course and moving on.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Sat, 04/21/2007 - 7:51am.

with 15 department heads and one Ms. Venice.
You just don't understand bureaucracy.
800 divided by 15 = 53 employees per head. (too many)
15 heads divided by 1 Ms. Venice = 15 (too many)
Also, the big boss is too close to the 800! When one of the 15 is on sick leave, vacation, or administrative leave, and if it is Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday, then Ms. Venice would have to handle
it! (too much)
What a bureauocracy needs is:
800 divided by 15 each = 53 supervisors
53 supervisors divided by 15 each for super-supervisors = 4 supers
Now Ms. Venice would have only four supers to supervise, and never have to work on those days mentioned above!
I don't know how many peers Ms. Venice has, but maybe there are also too many of them for her next superior supervisor, also.

Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Sat, 04/21/2007 - 12:54am.

She was a really nice lady and competent in all the dealings I ever had with her. Ok...that was only twice. Not sure if she was the right guy for the overall job though. That I don't know.

But let me tell you what I do know.... Bill "King Pin" McNally must go. Wasn't one of Eric Maxwell's main objectives to get rid of the most powerful and corrupt person in Fayette County? King Pin McNally is an unelected, over billing, condesending, danged Yankee carpet bagging trial lawyer. This character has fleeced the citizens of Fayette County long enough and it's time for him to go. Bill once told me that "Hey,...if the commissioners or county staff makes a bad decision and he has to defend it then his firm will profit from the bad decision". Ok...not his exact words but perty dern close.

McNally & Company aren't looking out for us. They're looking for billing opportunities and influence.

It's admirable that the commissioners are whacking the budget in order to reign in spending. (So I Hope) But, if they really want to cut our budget then we'll hire our own in house attorney's. Come on Eric and Jack.... what's holding you back? Did you guys cut some kind of stinky backroom deal and now you're suddenly best buddies?

Let's go! Pull the trigger on ridding us of Fayette County's original gangsta thug. Remember...that's one of he platforms you guys ran on and that's why we voted you in. Serve the hands that feed the county.


You may not be at war with Islam, but Islam is at war with you! If we lose.... They will follow.

Submitted by swmbo on Sun, 04/22/2007 - 12:17am.

I have long heard Mr. McNally referred to as "the 6th commissioner" and, to be candid, I can't say whether that's deserved or not. But, I bristle a little at the thought of firing him because of the previous commissioners' actions. Simply put, an attorney can't do anyting their client doesn't authorize. He can't file suit if the client doesn't tell him to and he can't settle a suit if a client says he wants to take it to a jury trial, no matter the cost. And if the client chooses to take an expensive course of action, the attorney is no less entitled to his fees for work legitimately performed -- win or lose.

So, we don't know -- and the attorney-cient privilege will prevent us from ever knowing -- whether he raised objections or tried to tell his clients the potential pitfalls of their chosen strategy. And on that basis, I would not lay blame for the suits against the sheriff at his feet.

If you and I are always in agreement, one of us is likely armed and dangerous.

Submitted by tonto707 on Sun, 04/22/2007 - 11:49am.

is not an elected official, so there is no voting him out. He is appointed by the board of commissioners, until the appointment is terminated.

He is the 'sixth' commissioner to the extent he can lead a majority
of the board, and you can bet your sweet butt he does that, especially
when it means $$$$$. Should he have advised Dunn against some to the
actions by the previous board? Of course he should have. Did he?
I tend to doubt it. Afraid to go against Dunn for fear of losing the

I read where someone had earlier said it, and now I agree, the board
should put an attorney on payroll, it will be much cheaper and the county will run smoother.

Submitted by swmbo on Sun, 04/22/2007 - 6:14pm.


While I understand your point about McNally, I'm not sure your suggested solution will work, economically and logically.

As things stand right now, McNally can operate his law practice while representing the county; he is free to earn income from as many sources as possible (other than people who want to sue the county). Thus, he has a disincentive to make all of his money from the county. However, as an employee of the county, he (or whomever is hired) will be limited solely to representing the county. Most people will not want to take that severe of a reduction in salary but if the taxpayers want someone smart, they're going to have to pay a salary to attract a smart lawyer and the county will have to provide benefits. So, economically, it makes better sense for the taxpayers for him to work as outside counsel.

Logically, if the county attorney is employed by the board of commissioners, he/she will have 5 bosses. what happens when 3 of them want to take one course of action that differs from the other 2? To whom is the county attorney to be responsive? And what if all 5 of them want to take a position that isn't legally sound? The county attorney will be just as reluctant to go against the board for fear of losing his/her job with no private practice on which to rely for financial support in the event that they are fired.

And, by the way, having in-house counsel only means you spend a little less on legal fees overall because you will have to spend on hiring outside counsel. After all, no one lawyer can know everything about every area of the law. So, the taxpayers will spend just as much as they have paid McNally. The only real difference is that they will have turned their in-house counsel into a virtual politician by having a substantial outside counsel budget to share with cronies.

If you and I are always in agreement, one of us is likely armed and dangerous.

cogitoergofay's picture
Submitted by cogitoergofay on Sun, 04/22/2007 - 8:08pm.

Kingpin McNally… I must take mild exception to the post by Ms. SWMBO…..She seems to take the attitude that within the cryptic, attorney client relationship that there are certain things that the taxpayers have no right to know about. She is far too eager to shield the county attorneys from scrutiny. The difficulty with that type of thinking is that it has given Mr. McNally a Wizard of Oz standing. He is unchallenged and unquestioned. He has never been exposed to competitive bidding. No one knows how much the county
pays him. Compare this to Fayetteville, Tyrone and PTC where the budgets are far more transparent. This should be distressing to the average taxpayer but despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars that flow to this one small law firm, no one seems concerned.

What of this string of losing lawsuits ? First there was a series of lawsuits against Tyrone on the sewer. Then the county battled Peachtree City and Mayor Lenox over sales tax distributions. Then the county besieged Sheriff Randall Johnson with a series of lawsuits. Why? Either McNally gave bad advice or he mishandled the lawsuits. Think about it. The only way to explain this string of costly, losing lawsuits would be if McNally could take the position that he repeatedly warned the Commission that there was no way the Commission could win but that they insisted upon going forward with frivolous suits they knew they would lose. Peter Pfeiffer and Herb
Frady could end this privacy and answer these questions for us.

The more important economic questions are (1) how much do we pay in attorneys fees to McNally (2) why has this contract not been put out for competitive bidding (3) what would the savings be with an inhouse attorney and (4) how many other professionals do we have like this that bill without competition and seemingly without oversight?

I think SWMBO is too close to the legal profession to be objective.

Submitted by swmbo on Sun, 04/22/2007 - 11:31pm.

First, I have no idea about how McNally got his appointment as county attorney. If he has not had to compete for the business then, that raises an entirely different question. Specifically, is the county getting the best value for its dollar? And that is a legitimate question.

Second, I was simply speaking in the general sense about how clients tell their lawyers that they want to do something and their lawyers have no choice but to do as told (unless the request is to do something criminal). I don't know Mr. McNally personally and, if it is time to examine the county's relationship with him, there is nothing wrong with that. No public servant -- including those whose services are contracted -- is above scrutiny as to the cost of their services and the value received in return.

From time to time, I gently remind my doctor that I am a consumer of health care services -- one who has choices in where to spend my health care dollars. It keeps us both working in reality when we decide on my treatment options.

Maybe it's time to have that type of discussion with McNally. I just wasn't entirely comfortable with blaming him for the lawsuits. Heck, given some of the things people have said on the blogs about the previous commissioners, I'd be inclined to believe that they were told not to go that route and ignored the advice. (shrug) I just don't think we'll ever know.

If you and I are always in agreement, one of us is likely armed and dangerous.

Denise Conner's picture
Submitted by Denise Conner on Sat, 04/21/2007 - 5:58pm.

"Bill "King Pin" McNally . . . the most powerful and corrupt person in Fayette County."

Doesn't he think that he's the 6th commissioner? He's certainly the most well paid.

Definitely agree with your assessment of this situation.

Seems that Mr. Maxwell forgot about replacing McNally about the time that the commissioner proposed dropping all lawsuits against Sheriff Johnson, despite the huge investment that already been made (at McNally's advice).

I think that Mr. Smith is a bit too cautious -- hesitates to rock the boat. But, as you say, in the interest of fiscal responsibility (Mr. Smith's expertise), McNally needs to go.

"Remember...that's one of he platforms you guys ran on and that's why we voted you in. Serve the hands that feed the county."

I second that motion!

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