The Fayette County School System is one of the best public school systems in the nation, according to Expansion Management Magaz

Tue, 05/08/2007 - 3:55pm
By: The Citizen

Krakeel: system will need more accountability than seen previously

Change is afoot in Fayette County government, and that was on display at Wednesday’s workshop meeting of the Fayette County Board of Commissioners.

Interim County Administrator Jack Krakeel got approval to look into several significant matters for the commission, including a possible reorganization of county employees and perhaps the resurrection of the employee “purchasing card” system.

Krakeel also will be looking into the cost and details on providing a defined benefits retirement plan for county employees. But Krakeel committed to bring his suggestions back to the commission instead of unilaterally implementing such changes under his authority as county manager.

The county was already leaning toward a reorganization of staff based on recommendations from a study of county workers conducted by the University of Georgia. But a move back to the purchasing card is significant because it was abandoned in 2005 after some flaws were discovered in the system.

Specifically, it was learned in 2005 that then-County Administrator Chris Cofty had used his purchasing card for more than $4,000 in business lunches in 2003 and 2004. Although then-County Commission Chairman Greg Dunn said the expenses were legitimate business lunches, “... it was getting difficult to see which were legitimate expenses.”

It was also revealed that Cofty purchased an airplane ticket for his wife using the purchasing card although he reimbursed the county even before the expense was submitted.

Krakeel told commissioners last week that he has already put in place some financial controls in the county’s purchasing system, but if the “p-cards” are to be used again they will need more fiscal controls and department accountability, Krakeel said.

No official vote on these potential changes was taken but commissioners agreed in consensus with Krakeel’s recommendations to investigate them.

The commission also discussed briefly a published report in a recent edition of The Citizen that the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority wants to have a commuter bus running in Peachtree City by 2012. Commissioner Herb Frady, a former Peachtree City mayor, said he noted that the article outlined how once Coweta County agreed to fund the busing program, GRTA directed about $15 million in state funds for road widening programs.

Commissioner Eric Maxwell said he wasn’t as inclined to cooperate with GRTA until he found out what improvements they might be willing to help with. Maxwell said he’d like to see GRTA help turn the Ga. Highway 92 bridge over Interstate 85 into an interchange so more Fayette motorists can get onto I-85, but until there was some progress in that direction he wasn’t as inclined to “work with” GRTA.

Maxwell also noted that GRTA is trying to force Peachtree City to construct traffic improvements for the McIntosh Village development in eastern Coweta County which the city has no control over. That dispute led Peachtree City to file a lawsuit against GRTA, which wants Peachtree City to widen the bridge for the proposed TDK Extension to be widened to four lanes despite the city only having enough right-of-way for the road to be two lanes wide.

The TDK Extension has been controversial since earlier this year when it was revealed that Reese Development wants to locate 3,100 homes as part of the McIntosh Village just on the other side of Line Creek from Peachtree City. Peachtree City residents have complained that the resulting traffic increase will choke Hwy. 74 during morning and evening commuting times.

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