The Doraville City Council in 2007 passed an Ethics Code for its Mayor and council. A Large plaque was placed in a prominent place in the city hall’s wood paneled foyer. City stationary to business cards all proclaimed the city was now ethical. Madonna ‘Just like a virgin’ or A quick dip in the river Jordan and all is forgiven. The crooks were born again. The speed trap eyesore at 285 and Buford highway was born again. No more hookups, cheating, lying, money payoffs, zoning deals, jails in the city park, campaign tit for tat, etc.
Ethical Doraville is an bit of a oxymoron. Photo-ops and pretension. It was not going to be too long before this Mayor and council fell off the wagon. The burden of behaving in an ethical manner got to be too much for this ex mall guard Mayor and her council cronies to bear. Reporting monies and following the law was just too troublesome. Besides, a rumor of ethics violations being filed against the Mayor and her BFF on council was the last straw. Things had to change. This was an emergency and something had to be done to keep their phoney baloney jobs.
The panic started when I asked for copies of ethics complaint forms from the clerk’s office. Four inquires netted no forms. After the fifth inquiry, a member of Doraville’s law firm: Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe (major campaign contributor to the mayor and her cronies) was put on the phone. I was informed by the attorney that there were no ethics complaint forms and I would have to follow the law and make up my own. No form??? I looked through old files and found not one but 10 Official ethics complaint forms. At the next meeting, the council voted to call a moratorium on filing any new ethics complaints while they changed the law.
They refused to appoint a full ethics panel of three people. The panel was down to one lone appointee ( a friend and neighbor of the mall guard mayor ). They added one member only after voting to put a moratorium on complaints. When a third name was offered, the mayor was the deciding vote -NO. No ethics panel to turn in the forms and a moratorium. New ethics laws are being passed to block ethics charges being filed against those voting on the ethics laws, making it all but impossible to file an ethics charge.
1. The limitation on filing is a year after the basis for the charge occurs. It takes two years to get the city to turn over an open records request, if ever, to file the complaint. If they can lay low for a year after robbing the bank, they are safe. The Attorney General, when asked whether the statute of limitations on a crime is 6mos or a year, replied there is no statute of limitations on a crime. Doraville thinks so!!!
2. If their lawyer turns down the ethics complaint as being ‘inadequate’ ( remember their law firm donated a hunk of cash to get the bums elected) you can’t file again on another charge for another 6 months, if ever.
3. Complaints can’t be filed if they might run for office or they are running for office or in office.
4. The people hearing the complaint are hired ( hearing officer) or are put on this shell game panel plan by the very people the complaints are being filed against. HMMMMM!!
Sometimes an attempt to cover up a possible scandal ignites a bigger scandal when the cover up fails. If ethics charges are quashed in Doraville’s clumsy attempt to put the lid on the problems, the court of public opinion will hear the cases. Attorney General, newspapers, tv, media, internet. The crimes are not going away..
Perhaps a new plaque for city hall and its stationary : Doravile, City of No Ethics. Corruption and mismanagement in local and national government has reached epidemic proportions. Dekalb County’s CEO , Burril Ellis, ( campaign contributor and friend of the mall guard mayor of Doraville) has been indicted, staff members of the county indicted and jailed- all well documented. Sunshine laws and open government in Doraville are only words used by crooked politicians to give the uninformed residents a sense that their city is being run by honest people. The latest in Doraville scandal is only the tip of the iceberg.