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A new naughty or nice list for the Newton County BOC
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Dear Editor,

The Newton County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote whether to reappoint Tommy Craig as county attorney at its next regular meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan 6, 2015, at the old courthouse on the Square in Covington.

Documents recently obtained by citizens through an Open Records Request show that Mr. Craig was paid over $900,000 for the first 11 months of 2014, and seemingly on track to be paid over a million dollars for the year.

Further, for the 2015 fiscal budget year which began July 1, 2014, Mr. Craig has already been paid 73% of the total annual budget for only 33% of the year, and, again, on track to be paid another million dollars. Newton County, like many, has budget struggles to cover needed services. We simply cannot afford this kind of cost overrun, especially when it is multiple times the amount other counties of similar size spend for legal services.

The vote at the BOC meeting on the reappointment of Mr. Craig will be a public declaration by each commissioner of whether they are for or against fiduciary responsibility, transparency in government, integrity in conducting the public’s business and listening to the will of the people who have consistently challenged these expenditures.

At the least, the vote should be postponed until these and many other questions of performance and expense have been fully explored and vetted. Each commissioner’s vote will place their name on a new Naughty or Nice list. With a view toward the next election, citizens are making a list and checking it be good for goodness sake.

Steve Brown