Resident wants rebuke, fine for commissioner’s marijuana case
A Fayette resident who has been critical of County Commissioner Robert Horgan for his May 2009 arrest — for misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving with an expired tag — Thursday asked the commission to act swiftly in rebuking him.
The ball is in the court of Horgan’s four fellow commissioners now that a Superior Court Judge has upheld an ethics panel’s ruling that Horgan violated the county’s ethics ordinance.
Thursday night Robert Ross urged the commission to fine Horgan $750 for each of the two ethics violations. He also suggested Horgan should be forced to reimburse the county for the costs incurred in dealing with the entire ordeal, which Ross estimated to be $6,155.
Ross also noted that Horgan has already violated the terms of his probation by testing positive for alcohol during a July 9 test at the probation office. A subsequent hearing in front of State Court Judge Fletcher Sams resulted in Horgan being ordered to 20 days of community service work and attend 30 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in a 30-day time period.
Ross urged the commission to take public action to censure Horgan, which would essentially be a formal rebuke of his conduct. The commission also has the power to determine whether or not to fine Horgan up to $1,000 according to 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 Judge Sams.
Sams also ordered Horgan to avoid any drug or alcohol use for which he will be tested during the probation period.
Horgan did not reply to Ross nor citizen Pat Hinchey, who also asked the commission to resolve the matter “very swiftly.”
“I don’t want to be represented by somebody who doesn’t take the law in place in our state seriously,” Hinchey said. “... We all have to follow the same rules.”
Hinchey and Ross jointly filed the ethics complaint that led to a three-attorney panel ruling that Horgan had indeed violated the county’s ethics rules on two counts.
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.