The purpose of the public hearing is to determine whether or not a violation of the county ethics ordinance occurred for regarding Flowers-Taylor’s comments on an election night Facebook post by Connie Pound. The meeting originally scheduled for 2 p.m., this past Thursday, was cancelled and has been rescheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, Dec. 17, in Meeting Room 108 of the Spalding County Courthouse Annex.
A reason for the rescheduling was not given.
Three citizen appointees were randomly selected to the review board – Jesse Bradley, Johnnie McDaniel and Kathy Noble, plus three alternates – Tootsie Powers, Jackie Perkins and Fred Edwards, in case any could not serve. At least two of the alternates will be serving.
Edwards, the third alternate, said he was not part of the three-member board, but did know Noble had stepped aside, due to her activity in the Spalding County Republican Party. And county officials announced Friday that first alternate member Powers has resigned from the Ethics Review Board but the second alternate, Perkins has agreed to serve.
Perkins will serve with Bradley and McDaniel. Bradley and Powers were appointed by Commissioner Raymond Ray; McDaniel and Noble by Commissioner Chipper Gardner; and Perkins and Edwards by Commissioner Eddie Freeman.
Pound filed the complaint the day after the election and said Flowers-Taylor caller her “a stupid biatch” and “a conservative racist queen.” Pound provided copies of the Facebook post and comments made the night of the election.
The initial post by Pound was summed up by Flowers-Taylor at the Dec, 5 initial hearing as being about “Democrats being whiners, welfare recipients, getting EBT cards.”
The review board is being asked to consider if those comments made by Flowers-Taylor election night in response to Pound’s post and others' comments on the post are a violation of the county ethics code, Section 8, which states county officials shall “never engage in other conduct which is unbecoming to an official or which constitutes a breach of public trust.”
The purpose of the county’s ethics code “is to establish ethical standards of conduct for all covered officials of Spalding County by identifying acts or actions that are incompatible with the best interests of the community and the organization and by requiring disclosure by such covered officials of private, financial or other interests, in matters affecting the county.”
Those covered officials, according to the ethics code, “are bound to observe, in their official acts, the highest standards of behavior and to faithfully discharge the duties and responsibilities of their office, regardless of personal considerations, recognizing that public interest must be their primary concern.”
The two phrases which may be at the heart of this issue are “in matters affecting the county,” which Flowers-Taylor asked about at the Dec. 5 hearing, and “in their official acts.”
She noted at the initial hearing her response to the Facebook post was made “in enjoying my First Amendment rights on election night, made in my home, on my personnel device, on my personnel account.”
She described the proceedings saying, this is an emotional intercourse to reconcile hurt feelings.”
If the review board determines an ethics ordinance violation has occurred, then a majority of the board of commissioners shall set a penalty. The possible penalties for a commissioner are as follows:
• Written reprimand or public censure, which shall be printed in the Griffin Daily News and posted in the courthouse as well as the courthouse annex;
• A fine in an amount not to exceed $1,000 in addition to a written reprimand and/or public censure.
Only covered members and employees, but not elected officials, can be removed from office for ethics violations under the county code, along with the written reprimand, censure and fine.