The truth: Pay raises and open meetings

Tue, 06/24/2008 - 3:43pm
By: Letters to the ...

I’ve seen the comments of several bloggers/writers regarding a few different issues. I’m lumping those together as they contain errors that I am going to correct.

First, the “Open Meetings – Executive Session” issue. Those who said that I said nothing at the time are incorrect and the one who said (“Save Fayette”, an anonymous blogger) that the Georgia attorney general told me “to take a hike” is also incorrect.

When the illegal executive session on Aug. 1, 2007, was called, I questioned it. After the meeting, I followed up and contacted the attorney for ACCG, the district attorney, the state court solicitor and the attorney general. The attorney for ACCG expressed his concern to me verbally.

Most of the letter writers have missed this, but the commission held TWO illegal executive sessions: the one on Aug. 1, and another on Aug. 9. When I, publicly, objected to the Aug. 9 meeting because there was no county attorney, the interim administrator said he had hired one!

Both the Daily News and I heard him say this and the statement appeared in the Saturday, Aug. 11, 2007, issue. Later, he denied that he had appointed an interim attorney, which he had no authority to do.

The attorney general’s office said, and I quote; “The attorney/client privilege only permits an executive session when the attorney for the commissioners is present and then only to discuss litigation, O.C.G.A 50-14-4.”

The Fayette County Commission did NOT have “the attorney for the commissioners” present, either time, because they had fired the commission’s attorney without planning or foresight about any future issues, such as these.

I suspected this was the case when I brought it up BEFORE BOTH of the illegal meetings. What I did not know then was that I should not attend any meeting that I suspected was improper.

Later, I fixed this. The special attorney for the Lake McIntosh Project asked the commission for an executive session. I contacted that attorney to let them know that if they wanted an executive session, they were going to have to put the reason in writing or make a verbal statement for the record describing precisely why an executive session was needed and why it was permitted under the Open Meetings Act. I informed them that if this were not done, I would not attend the meeting. They decided that an executive session was not really needed after all.

Then the other commissioners decided that we hadn’t really met for a “legal issue,” that it had really been a “personnel issue” and they changed the official records.

There was (blogger) comment that I “get something right AFTER the fact” specifically about the employee pay raises. And, I get accused of “grandstanding” during these budget hearings.

The truth? I opposed the substantial pay raises when they were adopted back in February. Check the minutes or the “letter to the editor” I wrote back then. My opposition to these raises is not new.

In comments about the raises, there are also phrases such as: “to see what other surronding (spelling in original) counties were being paid and why Fayette County was losing so many qualified people,” “That is why employees with little time in Fayette Co. seek other jobs,” and other comments that claim that Fayette County loses people because it doesn’t pay enough.

I’ve heard these comments many times. Problem is, I have never seen a study that proves that this is true! If you have one, let’s see it!

Let’s be clear. I do not have a tendency to spout off, “grandstand” or throw around false accusations. I try to be very careful of the facts and not say anything as a public official that I am not sure of. I cannot and will not “compete” with those who do. I think those who do make baseless comments do damage. I’m not playing that game.

Peter Pfeifer

County Commission, Post 3

Peachtree City, Ga.

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NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Tue, 06/24/2008 - 9:14pm.

There was (blogger) comment that I “get something right AFTER the fact” specifically about the employee pay raises.

It's "NUK," not just some run-of-the-mill "blogger" you mentioned Smiling

Yeah, I said that and it's so true. You sit there all silent, saying nothing, then you are all in the newspaper raising hell about the violation of the Open Meetings Act that you were present(and silent) for, and now it's the pay plan that you sat quiet about during a budget workshop to specifically discuss the plan. Maybe you need to come better prepared to the meetings so you won't get accused of grandstanding after it's already been said and done and you're too late with the "very careful" facts. Blah.

ptctaxpayer's picture
Submitted by ptctaxpayer on Tue, 06/24/2008 - 8:13pm.

Aw c'mon, Peter....You always wait until after the fact to lob a stink bomb. Not team play.

And your chest pounding that you don't "throw around false accusations" ???? How about when you tried to smear Maxwell as a pervert lawyer when you knew it wasn't true?

Submitted by the weasel on Tue, 06/24/2008 - 10:22pm.

Apparently the two bloggers above either have difficulty with reading comprehension or just take information out of context. Pfeifer's letter clearly states when he initially disagreed on both issues which totally cancels out their argument. This is information which is verifiable.

My hope is that people who read these articles are able to discern personal attacks from the actual truth.

If you could see past your personal vendetta (whatever it may be), maybe you could be thankful that you have someone respresenting you who actually cares about YOU and every other citizen.

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