Georgia Last in Ethics

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The Shadow
The Shadow's picture
Joined: 01/17/2008

The headlines in the March 19, 2012 Atlanta Journal gives the results of an Ethics report showing Georgia ranks last in the Nation with a score of 49 F. This is not surprising to any citizen who has ever made an ethics complaint to the many ethics boards who are supposed to oversee all government entities. That’s because these boards are made up of government appointed lackeys who protect their associates. The report scored Georgia on 330 categories which included conflicts of interest laws for civil servants, enforcement of ethics rules and government procurement laws.

Also not surprisingly government officials, who are the ones the ethics apply to, criticized the report as having been done by the newspaper and citizens groups. House ethics committee chairman Joe Wilkinson said, public officials are the ones who have always judged themselves in the past. Really? Now isn’t that the problem? It’s like the fox guarding the hen house.

For example, the GA Bar Assoc., who is made up lawyers, rules on complaints about lawyers. The Judicial Qualifications Commission who are made of lawyers who become judges rules on the ethics of judges. It’s like that for every government agency. They all have these very specific laws and rules with examples of unethical practices that are rarely followed, only if the news media brings it to the publics’ attention. Thousands of citizens’ complaints are ignored without any investigation.

The State Dept of Health Committee actually refused to investigate serious health complaints in 2010, 2011 & 2012 in violation of legislatives mandates. The Town of Tyrone used to have a citizen’s ethical complaint committee. But that created a problem for the town council who was supposed to rule on the committee’s investigation. Not wanting complaints on themselves, the council solved the problem by abolishing the complaint committee. Now a citizen must complain in person to the council or by written letter. They always and I mean always ignore the complaint without responding.

The newspaper report is correct. Georgia is last in ethics and the complainant is always wrong. These ethics laws, rules and regulations are for nothing but show, and are used to protect government officials and not the public.

Davids mom
Davids mom's picture
Joined: 10/30/2005

The sad thing is that there is too much of the lack of ethics throughout our entire government system - and the call for reform is shallow. Too many of those involved are profiting - and too many are apathetic. Maybe this article and some news coverage will wake up Georgians. . . .and Americans.

Missy-Sippy's picture
Joined: 02/20/2008
Right about ethics

Atlanta created an effective independent ethics board after rampant misconduct in the administration that sent former mayor Bill Campbell to prison. Now the current Council wants to take the Boards’ power away.

Council Lamar Willis has introduced a Resolution to give the council power to name the City’s ethic officer and director of the Citizens Review Board, which would put politics back in control and take the heat off of crooked officials.

The reason: Councilman Willis was fined $3500 last year after the Ethics Board ruled Willis accepted money from companies and individuals doing city business. Councilman Martin says he is also for ruling in the Board’s power because they have more power than the Council, NO, the Board only has the power to investigate complaints and fine crooked electors and bureaucrats. Reference: AJC Section B-1, 3-19-12. Council seeks to oversee officers.

Chow's picture
Joined: 04/01/2008
Ethics Boards are a Farce

One of the big ethical violators is Fayette State Judge Carla Wong McMillian. Since Carla was appointed, not elected, in October 2010, I know of 3 ethical complaints filed in connection with her as well as an appeal on her legal rulings that is now before the GA Supreme Court at great costs to the taxpayers and individuals.

All Ethics board specifically list what an ethics violation is. In Judge Wong McMillians’ case those violations include not holding a fair trial, bias, rudeness, discrimination against ones of the parties, acting as attorney for one of the parties, prejudicing the jury by exhibiting any of the foregoing and acting as a witness without being called in matters outside her judicial duties, as well failing to oversee the actions of a judge’s personnel.

The judicial qualifications board dismissed a complaint on all of the above stating that these were matters for appeal not ethics violations when the boards ethical violations clearly say they are.

On a complaint to the Ethics Board of Court Reporting regarding Carla’s court reporter who violated GA Law that says Court reporters must not destroy their trial transcript record without formal court approval by the judge, Carla’s court reporter destroyed some of her records without going before the judge for permission. Instead without being called as a witness Judge McMillian submitted erroneous statements to the Board causing the farcical board to dismiss the complaint and send a thank you letter to the Judge.

In another complaint to the State Board of Health regarding a ruling of Judge McMillian that is now before the Supreme Court is a Health Department ethical violation, that contractors and companies involving health related work must be State Licensed and certified, Carla just simply ignored that legal and ethical violation ruling in favor of the unlicensed contractor. Because of Carla’s ruling, the State Board of Health was powerless to take action on that ethical violation because of the necessity of a legal appeal.

Given the uselessness of Ethics Boards, apparently the only way to get justice in Fayette State Court is not to re-elect Judge Carla Wong McMillian in the July 2012 Election.

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