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Your views: Commissioners should take tax assessors' issue seriously

POSTED: April 23, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Commissioners should take tax assessors' issue seriously
It has been interesting to watch the events transpire since Lyman Martin and James Cantrell came forth in February with information they said would document that Chairman Emory L. Martin Jr. violated official office policy and Georgia law in receiving as much as $47,000 in per-diem payments he was not entitled to. We are now told the day count has increased from 477 days to 661 days of illegal per-diem pay, increasing the amount under question to $66,100 from $47,000, as well as board members listing official county holidays as days worked when the office was closed.

We have now also been told in The Times article on March 15 that the Hall County Commission has evidently hired an attorney to defend this individual. New information is also brought out regarding improper holiday pay, an improper assessment of commercial property with board approval and a policy of arbitrarily giving employees a day off with pay for their birthday. The chairman says we have now stopped this practice after learning it was against county policy. How did this practice start and by whom? How long was this practice in effect? Has the county been reimbursed for the monetary loss resulting from birthdays off with pay? Is it not time for the commissioners of Hall County to come clean on this matter and let the people know what is going on in this office? This man should at the least be on administrative leave while the courts review this matter.

Commissioner Gailey has said we need to get out of the individuality aspect of it. Why should the individual aspect be ignored in that it was an individual who committed this act of filing false time sheets. A review of the other two boards that receive compensation is proper, but has nothing whatsoever to do with this issue. The policy in place during this time period was proper in requiring a quorum to receive compensation for work.

Health insurance, we are now told, has been paid for this board for over twenty years, but no one seems to know why. No other part time board receives this benefit according to the Times article of April 3, 2008. Would someone please tell me what is going on with the Hall County government. This situation would be laughable if it was not so serious!

Citizens should look at the recent situation with the former chief prosecutor of the Piedmont Judicial Circuit whereby he was sentenced to six years in prison in a payroll scheme to see the seriousness of this matter.

Karen Carswell
Buford

Christians should embrace task of loving their enemies
I rarely see eye-to-eye with Joan King, but I do find myself in agreement with her April 8 column about an ordinary guy she overheard suggesting that killing a Muslim is a good thing. My take would have been slightly different than hers.

I expect that kind of attitude from ordinary guys. Ordinary people in my vernacular are people who are not indwelled by the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. Becoming a Christian makes a person distinctively out of the ordinary. It should, at least.

Joan did not say or even suggest the person she overheard was a Christian. And there's no reason, even in the Bible Belt, to assume this person was a believer. In fact, by his remark, we might be inclined to think otherwise. Nevertheless, I've heard similar remarks by fellow believers.

Jesus does not tell us to hate our enemies (or perceived enemies, in this case), but to hate sin. He says to love our enemies. If that sounds like an impossible task at times, it should for the ordinary guy, that is. But not for a person indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Christians often forget we are called to do things that are impossible, such as loving those who hate us, blessing those who curse us.

Had Joan's article been mine, I think I would have tried to convince people such as the man in question: Don't be ordinary. Don't take on the hatred of the world (or groupthink, as Joan says) and the bitterness of the world's issues. Take on the character of Christ.

I disagree with much that politicians say and do, but the greater issue than Barack Obama's religion is whether Americans will resort to hatred or to love. That is, will we continue to move away from Christianity, or will the remaining believers in America return to our first love?

In 2001, a Muslim cleric complained in a live interview on Al-Jazeera that Muslims were converting to belief in Jesus Christ at a startling rate. According to the Web site islam-watch.org, Sheik Ahmad Al Qataani said, "In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity."

Somewhere, Christians are doing the impossible task of loving their enemies. Why not in America? And even more so, why not in northeast Georgia?

Patrick McWhorter
Flowery Branch

Legal or not, clerk shouldn't keep passport fees
Can someone please explain the insanity in Hall County government?

What other departments are allowed to keep the fees that they charge for providing "courtesy services" to individuals who live in the county?

Doesn't anybody think this is an unethical practice? Legal or not, it stinks. As a taxpayer in this county, I am discouraged to think that the Board of Commissioners allows this to happen when we are always struggling with how to make tax dollars stretch without raising taxes. These passport fees could fund his salary, school programs, fire services, police officers, etc. This policy needs to be reviewed.

Carolyn Foote
Murrayville

Carrying concealed guns in restaurants won't make us safer
I fail to comprehend how any citizen, no matter how extensive his background check, feels that carrying a gun in any public place will make our community safer.

Does anyone actually think that if someone were willing to burglarize a business, that this person would think twice just in case some of the patrons might be carrying guns? If a crime were to take place, would this thoroughly scrutinized law-abiding citizen pull out his security blanket and take the law into his own hands? If not, why do you need to carry it around in the first place?

To me, that is similar to always carrying an umbrella with you in case it rains, but never opening it when it does. I am no legal expert, but I am fairly confident that law enforcement officials would prefer that citizens remain citizens and not turn themselves into vigilantes. I am also pretty sure that anyone discharging his firearm will no longer have such a squeaky clean record. Do not mistake my position, as I have no issue with the right to bear arms, I do take issue when those arms are sitting next to me while my family and I enjoy dinner at a restaurant.

Adam Lindler
Gainesville



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