Editor’s note: This press release was provided to The Covington News Friday, Aug. 4 by Commissioner J.C. Henderson with an attached copy of the signed agreement, which can be viewed on our website at www.covnews.com.
In 2015, accusations of discrimination on handicapped citizens were made against Commissioner Nancy Schulz and the Newton County Board of Commissioners for her actions of enforcement of and changes to zoning regulations for group homes throughout Newton County, more specifically the Fantastic Futures Group Home, located in District 3. An interview was conducted by EOS Mechelle Puckett on Nov. 18, 2015 to gather information from Commissioner Nancy Schulz and Representative Jenny Carter concerning the Fantastic Futures proposal and process one must go through to apply for a conditional use permit (CUP).
The federal government found that the Newton County Board of Commissioner was in deed culpable for discriminating against the Fantastic Futures Group Home and ordered to pay approximately $19,000 plus attorney fees in 2016. The actions of Commissioner Schulz, which has cost the already financially strained BOC thousands of dollars, has kept this entire ordeal hush-hush from the Newton County citizens.
The BOC members state they promote transparency. However, this behavior does not promote transparency. However, this behavior does not promote transparency within Newton County. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has devised a Conciliation Agreement/Voluntary Compliance Agreement for a period of two years with an effective date of April 26, 2017 and requires the signature of all Newton County Commissioners.
Therefore, Commissioner Henderson wants to make it known that he did not participate or support these discriminatory actions and does not condone any of the decisions made by Commissioner Schulz.
Commissioner Henderson states, “I love Newton County and my community. Targeting a group that already faces hardships on a daily basis is unacceptable. I will continue to fight for the citizens of Newton County no matter the race, gender, sex, ethnicity, social status or any form of disability. However, due to the fact a lawful order has been made against the BOC, I am being forced into signing this agreement by Aug. 8, 2017 so the Board of Commissioners will be in compliance.
“Before I sign, I wanted to make sure the citizens understood I am signing not as an admission of guilt of participating in the negligent behaviors of Commissioner Schulz, but only as an act of protecting the county’s interests to move forward in abiding by the Fair Housing Act.”