I have attended almost every BOC workshop, regular meeting and all Special Called Meetings for years, and have aged accordingly. Through Open Records Requests I have obtained documents and financial records that most people have never seen. Our county is now a big business with big problems. The Federal and State laws, we need to comply with, require someone with previous large business management experience. As someone that has sat through all these long drawn out meetings, I am deeply concerned about the future management of Gilmer County. So for the reasons listed below I urge you on May 20th to VOTE for anyone else.• Preparation for Meetings: JC is a very poor manager. I have never attended a BOC meeting where Mr. Sanford has been prepared. No matter what the issue, it is just an agenda item. The Chairman should present a previously prepared recommendation on each agenda item prior to the meeting that would include all associated costs and time schedules and it should be provided in advance to the Post Commissioners. During the meeting the recommendation could be modified, adjusted or scrapped, but the Post Commissioners would have had time to read and analyze the material prior to the meeting and the citizens would have facts upon which to base discussions. This failure to plan is the primary reason every item below has either never been completed or has taken years to accomplish.
• Special Called Meetings: JC’s repeated lack of preparation causes us to have more emergency 24-hr notice, special-called meetings (SCM) than the 3 surrounding counties combined. Most major decisions have been in SCM’s. The SCM on May 13 at 9 am was to decide whether to deduct from county employees additional premium per pay period for health insurance or reduce coverage. This change could eat up the entire 3% raise just awarded. There was no time to get quotes from other carriers or consider other options.
• Sole Commissioner: For the past 3 years JC has functioned as a sole commissioner. You elect 3 commissioners to have 3 voices. JC keeps everything to himself. Money has been moved between departments and bank accounts to spend as he deems necessary. This makes it virtually impossible to have an accurate accounting of expenditures by category or department. Dallas Miller and Danny Hall receive critical material requiring immediate votes at the same time as the public. This does not allow the Post Commissioners the opportunity to table the decision or vote no without jeopardizing some aspect of the county’s well-being. Gilmer does not have 3 commissioners.
• Bond Refinancing: During the recession Gilmer County had numerous opportunities to refinance its bonds which would have saved the county millions in interest. JC either voted no or failed to allow the refinancing to appear on the agenda for several years. The current refinancing was done in spite of JC’s objections for the past 18 months and saved the county $1.8M in interest.
• Clear Creek Ball Fields: This project has been on the agenda at least 30 times since 2010. The original proposal was for two phases totaling $3.3M. Since then every discussion at every meeting has ended up tabled because they didn’t have “numbers.” A competent chairman would come to the meeting with a well thought-out proposal with associated costs that had been given to the Post Commissioners at least 24-hrs prior to a meeting. All work previously done has been piecemeal without a written detailed scope of work. Now, supposedly we can complete the ball fields for $630,000.
• Golf Course: JC knew 4 weeks before the tenant walked out that he was leaving and did nothing to acquire equipment or hire a maintenance expert. Randy Bell recommended in July and again in August to hire Mike Brumby for maintenance. JC failed to allocate enough funds for expenses for basic maintenance, sand, weed killer, etc. to protect the course and waited almost 6 months before finally hiring Mr. Brumby jeopardizing one of the county’s largest assets.
• Sign Ordinance: County adopted a new sign ordinance to restrict billboard-like signs. When I questioned wording that would prevent a property owner from placing any signs, even No Trespassing or Beware of Dog on your own tree I was told they didn’t read that part as they were only dealing with the billboards. An astute businessman would have read the 7 pages and fixed everything that needed fixin’.
• Cartecay River Access: We have had to sit through at least 15 meetings on this issue. The citizens and the river rafters have made umpteen recommendations and suggestions. The BOC adopted a solution last fall which would require posting signs with the new rules. It is now almost Memorial Day and at the last meeting when it appeared still on the “Old Business” part of the agenda, JC said “we still haven’t figured out the wording for the signs.” That means they haven’t been ordered. He put it on the agenda, why didn’t he draft sign language for the other commissioners to review? In fact, why wasn’t the sign language drafted last fall after they voted to erect signs???
• Grant Money: Every time we take a Federal or State grant no one seems to read the fine print. We have a Civic Center we can’t tear down, an airport we can’t close, and …….
• Courthouse: County spent $25,000,000 on a building we could have built for $12M yet fail to maintain it. In our brand new building we have had major roof leaks for years. Mold and mildew growing everywhere. JC knows nothing about automation or computers. The employees have a really nice building, but archaic computers and software to work with.
• Cherry Log Fire Station: For two years JC ignored legal notices from the owner of the land asking us to move. It was bad enough that the land was sold out from under us considering the previous land owner was the GILMER COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION. One would think the two entities could communicate once in a while. He even ignored the legal eviction notice from the new owner until our own Sheriff showed up to EVICT the fire station. Then he spent legal fees tying the landowner, a Church, up in court while JC decided what to do. Every time I ask the status he says he is working on it and that someone has offered to donate land to us. It has been almost another full year. How long does it take for JC to take something for free?
• Requesting assistance from State Rep: According to our State Representative, Gilmer has received no assistance from our 7th District Rep. because we have never taken the time to go to Atlanta to request anything. Maybe that’s why Fannin seems to be doing so much better?
Paid for by Joene DePlancke, Citizen of Gilmer County