Judge upholds Horgan's ethics violations

A Superior Court judge has upheld a ruling that sitting Fayette County Commissioner Robert Horgan violated the county's ethics ordinance when he had a misdemeanor amount of marijuana in his truck May 23, 2009.

The Aug. 31 ruling by Senior Judge E. Byron Smith specifically found that “the conduct of said commissioner violates said ordinance, in particular, not acting in the best interests of the citizens of Fayette County.

An ethics panel consisting of three county attorneys ruled Oct. 14 that Horgan violated the county’s ethics ordinance by not following Georgia law. The panel also determined that his conduct was unbecoming of a public official.

Now that the panel’s ruling has been upheld, Horgan’s fellow county commission members will have to determine whether or not to fine him up to $1,000 and whether or not to publicly censure him, both penalties that are authorized under the county’s ethics ordinance.

Horgan has already pled guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving with an expired tag, charges filed after he was pulled over May 23 on Stanley Road in his pickup truck by a sheriff’s deputy who spotted the expired tag. Horgan was arrested on the charges and booked into the Fayette County Jail before he bonded out, officials have said.

On Oct. 22, he pled no contest to the misdemeanor marijuana and expired tag charges. He was sentenced to an $800 fine, 12 months probation and 40 hours of community service by Fayette County State Court Judge Fletcher Sams.

Sams also ordered Horgan to avoid any drug or alcohol use for which he will be tested during the probation period. He must also submit to a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow any recommended course of treatment if any along with attending a session of the county’s new drug court.

Horgan initiated the appeal of the ethics panel’s decision, contending that the incident was not connected to his service as a county commissioner. It was noted by Horgan’s attorney that the incident occurred on a Saturday afternoon when Horgan was in his personal vehicle and was returning home from a trip to the Lowe’s home improvement store in Fayetteville.

Horgan has resisted numerous calls for his resignation, including one several weeks after his arrest by fellow county commissioner Eric Maxwell. Horgan also survived a recall challenge when a Superior Court judge in LaGrange ruled in August 2009 that Horgan’s infractions occurred when he was not on official county duty.

Save Fayette
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Horgan no big deal!!!

I agree, there are bigger things going on than Horgan. Just look at our Federal and State politicians, there are ethic violations being thrown around like nobody’s business. One of our newly elected Commissioners has had ethic problems. The way I see It, is he did not steel any money, did not cost taxpayers any money,he did not have county employees at his house doing yard work,he did not miss use any P-card for personal gain, has not voted on any property zoning for his personal gain, did nothing wrong in the course of his office, has made nothing but solid votes while in office and he does look after the Citizens of Fayette Co. I cannot find one thing that he has done wrong while in office. You talk about Maxwell; you all have forgotten how much money he cost the county for suing the county over his sign problems. Thousands of $$$, He made a bad judgedment in his personal life. I am sure he and his Family are paying for it. He is not going anywhere for the next two years.

ptctrader2010
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Spell Check please

Your comments would have more impact if you took a moment to proof read them. Sloppy. Fayette County Schools???

jevank
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ptctrader2010
ptctrader2010 wrote:

Your comments would have more impact if you took a moment to proof read them.

Ummm..."proofread" is one word, big guy.

ptctrader2010
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funny... my software didn't care

proofread, proof-read, or proof read..... All seem to pass the word-processing test.. Thanks though.

NUK_1
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Proofread is one word.....

......dumbazz. Of course it passed your "software" because both "proof" and "read" are words and software isn't quite to the point yet of recognizing how properly spelled words are used in a sentence.

The point is to maybe STFU before you start to criticize others and commit the same faux paus.

NUK_1
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SaveFayette:...whoa!

It seems like you are focused on important matters instead of a bunch of stupid BS. I think u are in need of some therapy to get more in tune with the residents who don't have any control over themselves once they stand in the voter's booth.

Dogood Quietly
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true to form

Just wait til you find out how well he is complying with the terms of his probation....he has such a Love and Respect for the people of Fayette County, he just cant help himself!

ptctrader2010
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THIS GUY HORGAN NEEDS TO GO

It is sad to think that we have an elected official who thinks that as long he is not attending a meeting or function in his "official capacity" that it's ok to operate a vehicle intoxicated... much less using marijuana. Correct me if I am wrong... when an official is "sworn in" don't they swear to uphold the constitution and laws of the state????

Mr. HORGAN... O U T for you!!!!

maggie
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Fine and censure

I hope the Fayette County Commissioners censure Horgan and give him the maximum penalty. Horgan is an embarassment to Fayette coutny.

PTC Observer
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Maggie

I couldn't have said it better. One thing we cannot hope for is a degree of conscience on Horgan's part.

doright
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PTC Observer

excellent comment. When one thinks he is above the law as Pot Smoking Horgan does, then its time for the people to send him packing.

Come on County Commissioners Give him the Max sentence! I would encourage EVERYONE to write/email the commissioners TODAY asking for the max sentence.

NUK_1
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Horgan...whatever

I know his misdemeanor pot possession(not driving while intoxicated as another hysterical blogger threw in)is the end of the world and how he votes is not important or anything else, but I am sure the $1000 fine and a public "censure" will really matter in the grand scheme of life in Fayette County.

MAX SENTENCE! MAX SENTENCE! Yawn.

ginga1414
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doright, Thank You

Thank you for "just doing what is right."

If we all just sit back, do nothing, and say "whatever," nothing will ever be accomplished.

Thank you for sharing your letter with us all.

NUK_1
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Thanks ginga420

Like I said before, you would love Horgan if he came out and stated "I'm changing my vote on the WFB!"

Now, I'll add that this too: "I molest children and small animals but I am against WFB!" All good, no doubt. WFB! WFB!

doright
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Walking the Talk

Here is my letter that was emailed to Commissioner Jack Smith (the other commissioners were also emailed. I hope everyone will do the same):

Mr. Smith,

I know you are only here with us for a bit longer as County Commissioner Chairperson. I would like to ask that as the head of the commissioners that you impose the maximum fine and a censure of Commissioner Horgan now that the Superior Court Judge has upheld the ethic’s violations.

When the people elected commissioners to represent them we expect that they understand that its a 24/7 job and that appropriate behavior must exhibited at all times. We expect that those who think they are above the law will be fired. All county laws should apply to commissioners as well. If a county employee did what the commissioner did they would be in jail.

You have never called for Mr. Horgan to step down or even admonished him, only Mr. Maxwell has done the right thing. I am asking now that you stand up for the people that put you in office and let the record show that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.

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