January 4, 2013
Having fulfilled the balance of ex-Chairman Charles Bannister’s term, Charlotte Nash was sworn in for her own four-year term as chairman of the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners on Sunday, December 30, 2012. Jace Brooks, who fulfilled the balance of disgraced ex-Commissioner Shirley Lasseter’s term in District 1, and Tommy Hunter, who bested Mike Beaudreau for the District 3 seat, were also sworn in by Judge George Hutchinson . The BOC is now complete once again.
Madame Chairman Charlotte Nash has set a high bar for the ethical and fiscal behavior of Gwinnett’s elected officials. She has repeatedly vowed to increase governmental transparency, governmental efficiency, and citizens’ trust in government. I believe she has already made a huge improvement in all of these very critical areas during the 18-months that she has already served as Chairman.
Shirley Lasseter has been quoted in the popular press as saying that business in Gwinnett has a corrupt platform. Apparently, in her opinion, she was only doing what other folks were doing in generating and accepting bribes for her favorable vote. It was her own dysfunctional moral compass that put her in this maelstrom that ended in federal prison; I do not believe it was the business climate of Gwinnett. Former District 2 Commissioner Bert Nasuti told me recently that not once in the eight years he served on the BOC did anyone offer him a dime. This did not surprise me. The crooked people always know who will be receptive to an illegal offer and who will not.
That brings me to one of my favorite homilies: “Birds of a feather flock together, always have and always will.” I am always watching for this.
So, as we launch into 2013 with all of the massive responsibility of the good and responsible stewardship of Gwinnett’s $1.4 Billion budget on the shoulders of the men and women of our Board of Commissioners, I am more hopeful than ever that all of them will manage to acquit themselves well in the administration of their public trust.
The sorry events of the past years, however, have taught me to be as vigilant as I can, just in case. And, one last thought: In my view it is not proper to ask for a “campaign contribution” from someone who has an issue before the BOC. This smacks of something untoward, no matter what you want to call it. Gwinnett’s elected officials should raise campaign funds in the generally accepted way, by forming a committee to handle a mass mailing or invitation to an event.
Happy New Year to everyone! Thanks for joining me.