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County attorney says Henderson closer to being able to vote on budget
J.C. Henderson
J.C. Henderson

COVINGTON, Ga. – During a special called meeting Wednesday, the Newton County attorney said after stepping down from a leadership position at Nelson Heights Community Services, District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson is closer to being able to vote on the county’s budget.

Martin’s comments came in response to a question from District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz regarding Nelson Heights and Henderson’s involvement with it.

“I know that there’s been a lot of discussion about Nelson Heights and I do believe that we owe it to Commissioner Henderson and we owe it to the citizens so we can have some clarity about what is taking place at Nelson Heights so that we can make sure that we are in compliance,” she said.

Schulz asked if Henderson is in compliance with the ethics ordinance.

Martin told commissioners Henderson’s stepping down from leadership at the nonprofit was an appropriate step.

“Commissioner Henderson has stepped down as a director or officer of Nelson Heights Community Services, Inc. and I believe that this was an appropriate action for him to take,” she said. “I have further communicated with Commissioner Henderson as he has asked these same questions and wanted to get my input and I believe the only remaining ethical issue that we’re looking at is that Nelson Heights Community Services, Inc. does provide payment to board members for attendance at meetings of $100 per meeting.

“As I conveyed to Commissioner Henderson, being that if he votes on the budget and that $100 payment continues to go to Councilman (Anthony) Henderson and Mrs. Sandy Henderson that I would recommend at that juncture that we either bifurcate the budget, such that he can vote on everything except that if the payment’s going to continue or if they are going to no longer going to confer the $100 per meeting, I would be very comfortable at that point in time that there is no conflict of interest or any problems with him voting on the budget.”

Henderson’s involvement with the nonprofit as CEO prevented him from being able to vote on last year’s budget.  The Nelson Heights Community Center is slated to receive nearly $39,000 in taxpayer money in the county’s FY 2019 budget.

According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s website, Nelson Heights Community Services, Inc.’s registration with the state was amended June 19 to show Anthony Henderson as CEO and secretary with Sandy Henderson listed as the chief financial officer.