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Opinion: Hall commissioners should look into investigation of tax commissioner
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Hall County Tax Commissioner Darla Eden speaks Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at The Times - photo by Scott Rogers

I am very disturbed by the actions of Hall County involving my tax commissioner, Darla Eden.

In two articles by Conner Evans and John Chambliss, I see a few questionable actions that need to be explained by my Board of Commissioners.

Instead of referring this alleged discrimination matter to the EEOC, the outside law firm of Freeman, Mathis and Gary, representing Hall County, hired an investigator, circumventing county bidding procedures, to prepare a report “because of legal duty imposed by federal law to investigate several complaints made by employees in Eden’s office”.

Do we not have a county attorney, a Van Stephens? What does he do? Why did he not handle this?

Then the mentioned before law firm claims the investigation was not conducted by the county.

Yet Teresa Stivarius, the investigator hired by the expensive mentioned before law firm is quoted several times working with HR director Lisa Rae Jones in revisions and proofreading the report. Stivarius goes on to say “Once I prepare it (the report), I always share it with my client first.”

So, if shared with Jones then the client is the county — right? 

But wait — it gets more convoluted. According to the article (Oct. 30-31) “Stivarius told The Times the county gave her a directive to not create certain written records … concerned that documents would be subject to open records requests ...”

The County Administrator Jock Connell “said no such directive was given.”

The article goes on to say that Ms. Eden’s attorney has asked for mediation with the Board of Commissioners at the end of an Oct. 1 letter.

I call upon the board to look into this thoroughly and completely and do it now without further delay. As of Oct. 29, Ms. Eden has written there is no response from the board.

This is plenty of time to consider and move on this issue. I’m going to bet it did not take 29 days to consider that raise they just voted in.

Michael Conway

Flowery Branch