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10 March 2010

No Surprise Here: Fulton County Engages In Wasteful Spending

In Wednesday's Atlanta Journal Constitution, reporter Steve Visser brings light to some excessive spending in Georgia's largest county.

Fulton County Commission Clerk Mark Massey is determined to ensure the taxpayers get an accurate record of each commission meeting.

He oversees an elaborate operation in which at least four members of his eight-member staff, and a contractor, assist him in his duty at commission meetings.

The tab: more than $1 million.

The Fulton County clerk's budget dwarfs clerks' budgets in other core metro Atlanta counties. DeKalb County's five-member clerk office has a budget of $452,915. Cobb County's three-member office operates on a budget of $397,049. And in Gwinnett County, the one-person clerk budget is $107,464.

Visser, Steve (2010-3-10). Fulton County's million-dollar clerk. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2010-3-10.

Here's something else to consider:

The Secretary of the Georgia Senate performs many of the same duties that the Clerk of the Fulton County Commission does. The Secretary of the Senate keeps an accurate record of the daily proceedings in the Senate Chamber. The Clerk of the Fulton County Commission does the same thing at the county level. The Secretary of the Senate tallies and records all votes on motions and legislation. The Fulton County Commission Clerk does the same thing.

There are 56 state senators that the Secretary of the Senate interacts with on a daily basis. In Fulton County, the Commission Clerk only deals with seven commissioners.

The Secretary of the Senate has a budget of $1,229,925 [SOURCE: FY2010 Budget]. The Fulton County Commission Clerk has a budget of over $1 million.

Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves defended his clerk's large budget with the following statement:

"I do believe that the dynamics of Fulton County is different than Cobb and Gwinnett and the range of services that we have is commensurate with the funding."

So Chairman Eaves, explain this to me. How can Fulton County justify setting a $1 million budget for the Commission Clerk's office; especially when the Secretary of the Senate is able to do much more with that same amount of money.

The answer to that question is quite clear. There is no way to justify it while keeping a straight face. Fulton County is wasting the taxpayers' money.