The recent loan from Newton County Chairman Keith Ellis on behalf of Newton County to Commissioner J.C. Henderson was a huge problem for our local government.
A problem that needs to be solved immediately. Here are the ways we would like to see the commission move to make sure something like this does not happen again, and that the BOC operates in a more transparent fashion.
First, Henderson should have the courage and integrity to abstain from any vote concerning forms of government and the commissioner’s rights. This would be a way to insure the citizens of Newton County that the government was not operating under shady tactics concerning the $4,500 loan.
Second, the BOC needs to change who is responsible for the check-signing policy to include either the county manager or the county clerk; all checks should require a personal signature by both signees, not a signature imprint. The fact that an imprint and not a signature is all that is required is an irresponsible way to handle taxpayer dollars.
Third, there should be no more pay day advances for any county employee, and especially not elected officials. This is the money of the people of Newton County, not a corporation that can make up the money from a week’s pay in another department. It is also a part-time job for commissioners. Would anyone else expect a pay advance from their part-time employer? Not likely.
Finally, we believe a system should be set in place to allow county employees to be able to report abuse of power by any elected official without fear of firing or retribution. Everyone, especially those who represent the people, needs to be held accountable for their actions.