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Your Views: Hall Countys government is starting to look like Chicagos
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Hall County, Georgia is beginning to look a lot like Cook County, Ill., where Chicago government shenanigans and expense padding are ways of life.

The Times reported on April 22 that the clerk of courts needs $75,365 more to run his office next fiscal year. I submit that if courts clerk Dwight Wood had any sense of decency or ethics, he would return the $194,000 plus that he's personally pocketed for processing passport applications.

By the way, he used your tax dollars to pay his personnel to do that actual work for which he personally retains the income. Come on, Mr. Woods, get some ethics: Give us back the money earned with our county fixtures, equipment and personnel. That money belongs to us.

Next, the same edition of The Times tells us the tax commissioner's office needs $146,413 more to run that office in the next fiscal year. Meanwhile, it's reported that the chairman of the board of tax assessors, Emory Martin, has singlehandedly pocketed over $66,000 in allegedly fraudulent "per diem" reimbursements. His two cohorts on the board also are alleged to have collected unearned per diem checks to a lesser degree. (If you or I stole from our employer by padding expense reports to the tune of $66,000, we currently would reside in the Hall County Detention Center awaiting felony prosecution.)

I suggest that our district attorney file charges against all members of the Board of Tax Assessors for their alleged misappropriation of county funds. Those unearned funds, when confiscated and returned, will make up the entire departmental budget shortfall.

Other county departments are also asking for increased funding in the coming year, reportedly to the tune of nearly $ 1 million. If we had an ethical county administrator, we taxpayers wouldn't be asked for so much more of our hard-earned money.

Administrator Jim Shuler, we all recall, is the double-dipper (despite his protestations) who "retired" at the end of 2006 and was rehired two days later for the very same job, a ploy allowing him to collect $92,000 a year in retirement income while still receiving a pay and benefits package worth $330,000 yearly to do the same job. That $92,000 would go a long way to ease county expenses.

By the way, we taxpayers are now funding a second retirement account for Shuler to collect when he retires again from the very same job. Come on, Mr. Shuler, learn some morality and stop double-dipping the people of this county. Retire once and for all and let us get someone in that job who has ethics.

Let's clean up this county before things get worse. We don't want to be known as Little Chicago.

Craig Cook

Poverty needs attention
In response to Kassie Millwood's recent letter: We need to help try to feed the homeless and give them shelter. We need to fix all the problems that we have. I know we have a lot of them. We have a lot of poverty that we need to help. I think that America is No. 1 because we don't really have a lot of problems compared to the other countries.

Chris Connolly
Chestatee High student