County manager to retire early under plan he helped devise

Fayette County Administrator Jack Krakeel.

Fayette County Administrator Jack Krakeel announced last week that he intends to retire as of July 1, the date by which a group of long-serving county employees must elect whether to take their enhanced early retirement benefits or remain on staff.

Commissioners lauded Krakeel’s work as being exemplary, and he was asked to stay on past his retirement date to assist the commission in making a transition to the next county administrator.

Krakeel said he was willing to do so, but according to existing law he will have to remain in the same position at the same salary, and he will not be able to draw from his early retirement at the same time he receives a salary from the county.

Several days after Krakeel’s announcement, Commissioner Steve Brown filed a request to have an outside attorney review the matter because of Krakeel’s role in the creation of the early retirement plan, which was touted as having the potential to save the county more than $1.6 million in salary annually.

The early retirement package is being offered to employees age 55 and over who have more than 20 years of service to the county.

Some 44 county employees meet those qualifications for eligibility in the early retirement program.

The county is offering to provide them an unreduced retirement benefit along with credit for an additional five years of service, which would increase their monthly payment under the plan.

The county is also offering a post-retirement health insurance benefit for participants until age 65, but that benefit would be limited to the employee only, not their spouse or immediate family members, according to county documents.

The estimated average increased plan liability is $86,864 per participant, and the county would be paying that contribution into the plan from its cash reserves, officials have said.

The intention is to eliminate most of the positions through the early retirement program, but those which are deemed essential would be re-filled, Krakeel told the commission in late March.

Brown did not share his concerns at the commission’s Thursday meeting after Krakeel made his announcement. Instead he sent an email to county staff early Saturday morning asking for the external probe of the situation to be put on a future commission agenda.

“Your participation has also raised concerns with your transmission of the terms of the early retirement package to certain employees before the BOC (Board of Commissioners) ever had a chance to review, discuss and vote, hence locking the term in,” Brown wrote in the email to Krakeel.

Brown’s email also claimed that Krakeel’s participation in the early retirement offer “came as a surprise.” But Krakeel noted at Thursday’s commission meeting that he had informed each commissioner of his decision in advance of the meeting.

Krakeel said Thursday that he came to his decision to retire early after consulting the matter with his family. He has been employed by the county in various capacities for the past 28 years.

Krakeel served as assistant director and later director of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and in 2003 was named director of Public Safety, which he remained until April 2007 when he was appointed as the interim county administrator before winning the job in November 2008.

Krakeel has steered the county through a series of cost saving measures over the past several years in large part due to the pinch on local property tax revenues from the struggling real estate market.

Krakeel said he is proud of the work he’s been able to accomplish here in his 28 years with the county.

But after speaking with his family, “and much thought and consideration,” Krakeel said he ultimately decided it was the right time to retire.

“I certainly appreciate the confidence the board has had in me my last five years, now starting my sixth year, but I believe that time has come. Thank you very much for the opportunities that have been presented over these 28 years.”

Commissioner Herb Frady said he thought Krakeel has been “very outstanding in everything you’ve ever endeavored to do for the county” including national accolades received by the county fire and emergency services department.

“I’ll say one thing: you are a hard worker, you get the job done and I certainly appreciate it, and I think this board appreciates it, and past boards as well,” Frady said.

yeahwhatever
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Jack Krakeel

Thanks for all of the great service and leadership. We will miss your straight shooting and your ability to hear opposing opinions without taking it personally. Enjoy your retirement Chief! You've EARNED it.

PTC Observer
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Steve Brown

Let it go pal, move on to bigger issues, solve some problems instead.

This man as they say is "history" and soon to be forgotten.

highflyer2
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Just wish

you would return my call before you retire.

yada yada yada
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Jack Krakel

He knows he will be history when new commissioners come on board so he is smart to take the plan he devised. Good Bye and Good Riddance.

yellowjax1212
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We Need An Investigation

Obviously Krakeel devised this plan, that saves the county $1.6 million a year, merely as a smoke screen so that he could retire early after only 28 years of exemplary service.
Come on Steve! Why do you look for the Boogie Man in everything? Shake his hand, thank him for his service and move on.
Jack, thank you and enjoy your retirement.

Gene61
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County manager to retire early under plan he helped devise

I have to agree with yellowjax..

given his 28 years of service and the fact Mr.Krakeel has helped the city through some tough economic times, its time to wish well..thank him for his service , alow the man the retire with respect, not under a cloud of investigation..

Steve seems unable to allow this to happen..

Robert W. Morgan
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True Gene, he is completely unable to allow it

Anytime someone is from the old guard or has the respect of the "establishment" he or she is automatically suspect in M. Brown's fertile mind. That is his default position and I honestly think he can't help himself. We had enough of that in PTC. He is now the county's problem. Good luck when he becomes commission chair. Everybody with more than 4 years in is going to be investigated or accused.

bringinabroom
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Morgan seems to pine for the

Morgan seems to pine for the good old days. You know--- back when things were quiet and decisions were made and "real men" and "real Mayors" ran the city. He seems to share the same sympathy for Krakeel.

Two good examples of what happens in "the good ole days". Mayor Fred Brown---- he and Frances Meadors were all set to quietly give a beer and wine license to the convenience store being built at the corner of PTC Parkway and Robinson in 1991. Oops--- there is an elementary school right across the street. Problem ? "Nah, these guys are good businessmen and own another convenience store at Robinson and 54. We checked the lines, we measured the required distances from store to school. We have a good staff." All of this quietly. No public meetings. Until the parents raised hell and brought in a real tape measure and 15 years later that convenience store still does not sell any beer, wine, etc. I'm sure Fred Brown was counting on a whole bunch of golf cart DUI money from that deal.

The other secret meeting story is a whopper. Bob Lenox, Mayor. He essentially negotiated the City's purchase of the sewer system that the private developer paid $1.00 for that the City committed $26 million of your monthly sewer bills. The real deal was done almost fully in private with a cute followup of colorfull public Power Points. The year was 1996. The Citizen tried but could not derail that mess.

It's the not internet or live feed that makes these guys slightly more transparent. It is simply Open Government laws that have been changed (remember Georgia got an "F"; 50 out of 50 states). Good luck, Jack. You did your job-- we paid you--- we're even.

The governments that we leave alone are the ones that do the most damage.

bringinabroom
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Corrections Mr. Morgan

You gloss over the facts as usual !

First, Peachtree Parkway and Robison was about a convenience store and beer and wine. You forgot that they had it in the bag before the parents complained.

Second, on the sewer deal it is true that closed door meetings can be used for council/commission to discuss real estate acquisition BUT NOT to negotiate in private with the seller. That is precisely where the sin occurred.

While you condemn Steve Brown and Bob Lenox, you praise Fred Brown. It should be remembered--- Fred, too, allowed very excessive discussions in executive session. It was far beyond what is allowed. Reportedly (from City Hall) Manager Basinger would bring in a hand written agenda of items that they really should only have discussed in public.

Don't get me started on Jack Krakeel and the county, with handwritten, separately hidden notes about executive session. Budgeting? Ha-- a maze.

By the way are you advising the PTC council with your "flexible" closed meetings advice ?

borntorun
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Question For Broomman

You make the allegation that Fred Brown "allowed very excessive discussions in executive session. It was far beyond what was allowed". How would you know what was discussed in executive session unless you were present? I don't have a dog in this fight. Just curious....

bringinabroom
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From 2 former employees who

From 2 former employees who attended those meetings.

borntorun
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Two Things Broomman

First I may be wrong but I don't think "employees" are allowed in executive session. Only mayor/council members and lawyers...maybe city manager? Second, if these people were in executive session and then repeated what was said in executive session, seems to me that would be a violation of the law.

bringinabroom
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Indeed you may be wrong

Indeed you may be wrong because you are...LOL. Employees and staff are allowed in to executive session.

NUK_1
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Hmmm.....

You want to extrapolate how many times "employees" besides the City Mgr have been in attendance during Exec Sessions? Since you have already stated that the council negotiated with the sellers(Mitchell/Black/Ga Utilities) directly in Executive Session, maybe you can shed some more light on this subject that you apparently think you know a lot more about than anyone else.

yellowjax1212
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Ahh, Now Its Clear

So you are passing along second hand information from "unnamed" sources about meetings that happened years ago, condemning a former mayor about something that seems to have no connection to the topic of the "witch hunt" that Steve Brown is attempting to use to discredit a man retiring from public service after what most seem to believe was career of dedicated service.
There, how's that for a run-on sentence?

yada yada yada
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Steve Brown

Steve Brown is the King of witch hunts. How on earth did he get elected? After we endured his four years in PTC, he ran against Matt Ramsey and lost. Then he rode the road to nowhere to get elected to County Commission. Sadly the County Commission's actions have an effect on the entire county including PTC. Maybe a recall is in order.

Robert W. Morgan
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Stuff your broomhandle somewhere on good old days

You are batting .500 on your 2 isolated examples.
The Brown/Meaders convenience story has no truth in it whatsoever. There was never a distance issue. The store was given a building permit after planning commission acknowledged the 10-year old commercial zoning and then some hysterical parents started in on the "they may sell adult magazines" crap. After calling the TV stations, it all calmed down and no kids were ever kidnapped by the perverts buying magazines across the street. As an aside, the same thing happened 10 years before when Aberdeen Woods - the Pitney Bowes Training Center was proposed. Ken Ginter and others in Pinegate claimed that their kids would be put in danger by horny single men who would be traveling in packs on the cart paths after being released from their training sessions, which didn't happen. So, this one is not even close to true.

The sewer deal is almost 100% true. $1 turns into $26million (actually $28million) because the 2 secret weapons - Bob Lenox and Jim Pace dispatched by PCDC infiltrated city government and made it happen. Fred Brown would not have played that game, but it was easy to wait him out on term limits and get Lenox and Pace in there to do the deal. Sadly secret meetings are allowed for real estate acquisition - like the sewer system. Despite many warnings, the city bought this white elephant ignoring the horrible condition of the main collector pipes which were made from the equivalent of residential polyblue.

Facts are facts. Stick with what you actually know something about, dude.