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01 July 2015

Fulton County Parks & Recreation Director Comes Out Against Atlanta Annexation Efforts

(Fulton County Parks & Recreation Director Tony Phillips recent statements against citizens' efforts to annex into Atlanta raises new questions about the political activities of county employees.)
Meet Tony Phillips (pictured right).

For fifteen years, Fulton County employed Tony Phillips in several different capacities. Phillips once worked in the county's code enforcement department. Then he became Deputy Director of Planning & Community Services, before being tapped as Director of Parks & Recreation by new county manager Dick Anderson.

There can be little doubt Tony Phillips' performance in the workplace enabled his rise through the ranks of Fulton County employees. Recent statements made by Mr. Phillips concerning a citizen-led effort to annex into the City of Atlanta, however, are raising new questions about whether he is engaging in political activities while on the job.

On a day when several unincorporated south Fulton County residents spoke before the Atlanta City Council opposing a petition to annex approximately 1,094.30 acres into Georgia's capital city, Tony Phillips spoke with WSB-TV reporter Dave Huddleston on the issue.

"Experienced educators will tell you what happens to overcrowded schools," Phillips said. "Academic results plummet. School performance goes down. There are trailers. Teacher to student ratios balloon. And as a father I find that unacceptable."

Phillips was addressing a claim often repeated by annexation opponents that if Atlanta honors the citizens' request to bring over 1,000 acres into the city, which includes Randolph Elementary and Sandtown Middle schools, students would be displaced, schools would close, and local parks would be shut down.

Fulton County Parks & Rec Director Tony Phillips also spoke before the Atlanta City Council, telling local leaders, "The bottom line is these annexation petitions fail to meet the requirements of the law and as such, are not legal."

Georgia Unfiltered reached out to Director Phillips, County Manager Dick Anderson, and Fulton County Commissioners.

We wanted to know if Mr. Phillips' public statements represented an official policy position of Fulton County Government. We also wanted to know if any county or state laws were broken due to Mr. Phillips' political activism apparently taking place during regular business hours.

We received no comment from anyone affiliated with Fulton County.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.