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Letter to the Editor: Nesbitt recusal not voluntary
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Dear Editor: I just read your editorial in (Dec. 11, 2010) edition of the Rockdale News; while your assessment of Commissioners Oden and Nesbitt’s antics with the 2011 budget was very accurate there was one misnomer in your editorial. Mr. Nesbitt did not voluntarily recuse himself from the vote on the nonprofits as your editorial implies.

I made a comment at the Dec. 14th BOC voting session to the effect that Mr. Nesbitt had a conflict of interest voting on any allocations for the nonprofit Ceek to Fulfill. A well known fact in the community is that Cheryl Board is the program director for Ceek to Fulfill. On Sunday, Dec. 19, she hosted a Christmas brunch for Commissioner Nesbitt. It wasn’t until these documents were presented to the BOC and County Attorney Qader Baig that Nesbitt abstained from the vote on the nonprofits.

Michelle Kim came in after public comments to the voting session on the 14th; therefore, she did not see the presentation of these documents to the board. She was presented with a copy of these documents, however, upon her arrival. I’ve attached these documents for your review. A brief summary of these documents:

Pages 1 and 2: A copy of GA code section O.C.G.A. § 50-20-3 in its entirety. Specifically O.C.G.A. § 50-20-3(f) says:

"(f) Nonprofit organizations which receive funds from state organizations shall refrain from political activities, including endorsement of any political candidate or party, use of machinery, equipment, postage, stationery, or personnel on behalf of any candidate or any question of public policy subject to referendum."

Make special note here that Ms. Board was appointed to a position with former BOC Post II candidate Courtney Dillard’s campaign while holding a position with Ceek to Fulfill. You can see this on pages 9 and 10, a reprint from candidate Dillard’s website ( While this specific code section has no bearing on the BOC, it becomes relative once state funding to this organization are validated on page 14, a reprint from the Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) youth council recommendations for their 2010 budget.

Pages 3 and 4: This is a letter from Commissioner Nesbitt to county resident Arthur Kidney; Mr. Kidney originally e-mailed Commissioner Nesbitt with his displeasure of the county funding the above mentioned nonprofit Ceek to Fulfill. In Commissioner Nesbitt’s response to Mr. Kidney he noted:

"As it relates to Ceek-to-full-fill and other non-profits, I made certain I only gave support to those agencies and organizations that will directly impact all of Rockdale County in a positive way through their missions.

Specifically, Mrs. Cheryl Board happens to be an active member of the local Democratic Party, a former supporter of the Dillard campaign and a board member with Ceek-to-fulfill, all separate functions and roles.

I’m confident that she has the skills to separate politics, civics and business. This is NOT an unusual posture for active local citizens in any community."

As you can see by his reply he sees nothing wrong with Ms. Board’s association with Ceek to Fulfill, the Rockdale Democrat Party and/or candidate Dillard’s campaign. However the State of Georgia, and likely the US Government, have a different opinion on Ms. Board’s political actions and as it relates to the nonprofit Ceek to Fulfill. This brings in the question of the status of their 501C3 nonprofit status. Mr. Nesbitt would have voted for these nonprofits if it were not for these documents.

Pages 5 and 6: Page 5 is a reprint of the contact information of the nonprofit Ceek to Fulfill from their website (, note the physical address of the organization. Page 6 shows a list of regional offices for the Georgia Democrat Party; it seems interesting to me that they are at the same physical address as Ceek to Fulfill.

Pages 7 and 8: This is a reprint from a June 7, 2010, Rockdale Citizen article that identifies Ceek to Fulfill Director Evelyn Cooksey and Cheryl Board as working with the Georgia Department of Human Services.

Pages 9 and 10: Reprint from candidate Dillard’s website ( announcing that on August 18, 2010, Cheryl Board was appointed to head up the campaign youth development program.

Pages 11 and 12: Another reprint of a Rockdale Citizen article, this time from the October 28th edition. This once again identifies Cheryl Board’s association with the Dillard campaign and Ceek to Fulfill a few days prior to the November 2 election.

Page 13: This is a list of outside agency appropriations from the Rockdale BOC as of November 23, 2010. Ceek to Fulfill was scheduled to receive $35,000 in funding from the county.

Page 14: An excerpt from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) 2010 budget outlining youth council recommendations; Ceek to Fulfill is scheduled to receive $130,000 from the ARC.

Pages 15 and 16: This is an invitation that Ms. Board sent out on behalf of Commissioner Nesbitt. An invitation to attend the December 19 Holiday Brunch featuring Commissioner Nesbitt.

As you can see, your editorial is misleading indicating that Commissioner Nesbitt voluntarily abstained from the nonprofit vote; he was forced out.

Your paper is normally very accurate; Michelle works very hard to find the information before going to print. Unfortunately she missed the early part of the voting session where these documents were presented to the BOC. Mr. Nesbitt doesn’t have an integrity bone in his body where he would voluntarily recuse himself from a BOC vote; the documentation of his past affairs will quickly prove. Your editorial was spot-on with the exception of the reference of Commissioner Nesbitt towards the end.

Sam Smiley

Rockdale County