If I have heard it once, I have heard it dozens of times from Ricky Wolfe, the County Commissioners and County Manager Tod Tentler. They are referring to the Troup County Board of Elections and Registration, or the BOER. But I wonder if any of them really mean what they keep saying. I have yet to see a single commissioner at any of the BOER meetings.
The BOER meetings are becoming more and more interesting and unbelievable. There appear to be four of the seven board members who actually want to follow the laws that exist. I have heard few comments or concerns from either Ms. (Gloria) Watson or Mr. (Fred) Higgins (board members). When one of the other four board members expresses a concern, it is usually met with hostile pooh-poohing by the chairperson, Ms. Jane McCoy, who was hand-picked by Ricky Wolfe for reason of control, and even at times suggestions have been totally ignored as if the chairperson never heard the suggestion.
At the most recent meeting, a most childish thing happened. Board member Ellen Gilmore questioned Chairperson McCoy, “Who will be responsible for taking the minutes of this meeting?”
Chairperson McCoy replied, “Mrs. (Sherry) Ratliff (elections supervisor) is responsible for taking the minutes.”
Board member Gilmore replied, “Mrs. Ratliff is not here. Who will be responsible for taking the minutes of today’s meeting?”
Chairperson McCoy replied, “Mr. Higgins.”
Board member Gilmore responded, “Mr. Higgins is not here, either. Who will be responsible for taking the minutes of today’s meeting?” Finally, Chairperson McCoy held up a tape recorder, I guess to imply that she would be responsible for the minutes.
It is unbelievable some of the comments and reactions that the board members receive from the chairperson! Where was the local media at this meeting? Did the chairperson and county not want the media there, knowing that some controversial issues were going to arise? Board members had submitted items to be discussed at this meeting, but the chair had chosen not to put them on the agenda.
If this is “the most important board in Troup County,” one must question why our commissioners have decided to not pay the BOER members for their time and efforts. The board has had 10 regular meetings, five special called meetings, spent hours in special training from Kennesaw State University, and has overseen the past November election for the better part of the day, yet no one has received one red cent for their services or necessary expenses. Several of the board members have questioned why they are not being compensated for their time, but they continue to be ignored. There is $5,000 budgeted for the BOER expenses, yet our commissioners refuse to compensate the members of “the most important board in Troup County.”
Do you remember the witch hunt that Ricky Wolfe and the other commissioners created against BOER member Ellen Gilmore? Do you remember how they tried to intimidate and embarrass her with all their lies and innuendos hoping that she would resign? Well, from my observations, Mrs. Gilmore is the strongest, most concerned, and the most learned member on the entire board when it comes to following the laws that exist to protect my and your voting rights. There appear to be three more members as well who are coming on strong now trying to protect your voting rights.
I would hope that this letter to the editor will make the public more interested in what is going on in hopes that more will attend these BOER meetings. The next meeting will be (Monday) Dec. 2, 2013, at 9 a.m. in the Planning and Zoning conference room at the Government Center. I hope to see you there, as well as the local media.
Editor’s note: Parenthetical additions made for clarification.