From our view:
Two years into this role, we are humbled by the opportunity to serve the citizens and help shape a bright future for Newton County. While nothing is public yet, there are many active projects being discussed related to new industry, premium retail and housing developments. Our county and our cities need new investment and planned quality growth. In order to achieve premium, controlled growth, we must work together as a small and deeply rooted community should.
We encourage our citizens and business owners to respectfully, professionally and constructively engage their elected representatives — challenge us to listen and apply various perspectives to the matters at hand. The current “negative noise” simply drives good people away from participating in the process of local government. It also leaves a stain on our community that is not justified or fair.
Just two weeks ago, the Board of Commissioners unanimously reappointed Mr. Tommy Craig as County Attorney for 2015. The fact that six people with varied backgrounds came to the same view for the 38th year in a row should prove that the elected representatives believe there is strong value in the work he does for Newton County.
The Craig Law Office performs duties tasked to it by the Chairman, the BOC, Constitutional (four-year elected) officials and other departments in an exemplary fashion. Mr. Craig’s’ knowledge and skill are among the very best and are always professionally applied to the best interests of the county. The claim that he pocketed $1.1 million last year is slanderous and false and those making such claims are flat wrong. While his firm was paid that amount of money, there are five lawyers in his office that have to be paid as well as office overhead and other expenses routinely associated with any business.
Significant measures do need to be taken to reduce our legal costs — but there are other high cost areas in county government such as the landfill, EMS, public safety, the four-year elected officials, the Judicial Center and the very high salary for the Chairman’s position. The Board of Commissioners is just beginning to prepare the next annual budget that goes into effect on July 1, 2015. Contact us with your ideas, come to our budget hearings, let us know what you would do to improve the budget. We want to hear from you.
I hope this clears up our position on some of the topics being discussed. We are perfectly willing to sit down and have a civil discussion of the issues but will not dignify a modern day lynch mob with our presence or comments.
John Douglas, District 1 Commissioner
Levie Maddox, District 5 Commissioner