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Two vie for Forsyth solicitor general

Finch, Gopaul tout credentials

POSTED: July 6, 2014 12:04 a.m.


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FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County’s remaining candidates for solicitor general are ready to face off in the July 22 Republican primary runoff.

Donna Gopaul, who was appointed to the post in March 2013 by Gov. Nathan Deal, and political newcomer William “Bill” Finch each feel best suited for the position. They were the top voter-getters in the May 20 primary, which also included a third candidate, Susan Zereini.

“I have a strong understanding of the vital role this office plays in not only keeping our streets safe but also attracting new business and promoting a high quality of life,” Gopaul said.

“As the only candidate with experience managing the solicitor general’s budget, I have been able to save taxpayers $200,000 while reducing red tape and enhancing the level of customer service.”

While Finch hasn’t served as a solicitor general, he thinks his life experience has prepared him for the role.

“After graduation, I had the opportunity to serve as a Fulton County police officer for eight years,” he said. “I attended law school while working as a police officer … after completing law school, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to come and work for the [Forsyth] solicitor general’s office.”

He then opened a local law practice. All of that experience, he said, means that he “has served in multiple roles in the courtroom.”

“I have made cases as a police officer, prosecuted cases made by law enforcement as an assistant solicitor and defended the accused as an attorney in private practice,” he said.

If elected, both Gopaul and Finch said customer service and running the office on a lean budget will be top priorities.

“I will continue looking for innovative ways to decrease the solicitor’s budget while also increasing the rate at which we dispose of cases,” Gopaul said. “Since being appointed … I have worked to increase the accessibility of our office and introduce methods for ensuring transparency.

“My goal is simple: I will continue to be a servant to our community, not a politician.”

Finch said he is pursuing similar goals.

“My plan for the office … is to provide our community with effective and efficient service, and to establish an environment of professionalism and civility,” he said. “I propose to develop a staff that shares my goals and vision for the office and then provide them with the training, leadership and trust necessary to do their jobs.

“I will make it a priority to staff the office with people who are not only good employees and lawyers, but good people.”

Finch said he would also work on “ensuring that the office is running as efficiently as possible … at the lowest possible cost.”

As for voters who may still be undecided, Gopaul pointed to her record.

“As the most experience prosecutor in the race, I have also demonstrated an ability to streamline the solicitor’s office while also reducing spending,” she said. “… As our community continues to experience growth, Forsyth County taxpayers deserve a proven conservative leader.”

For his part, Finch said he tells voters he is “100 percent invested in this community.”

“My wife, Leah, and I have lived here for over 20 years and have raised and educated both of our daughters here,” he said. “… I understand what the quality of life here means to our citizens and I understand the issues we face as our county’s population continues to grow.

“It is important to me to give back to this community which has given so much to me and my family.”



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gaonmymind: July 7, 2014 5:58 p.m.

I would first like to thank the Forsyth News site for posting the series of articles on this race. They have not only been fair but they have been impartial to both candidates and I very much appreciate that.

I was a little taken aback by a comment I read in the above article,which I would like to address having had first hand knowledge of dealing with the current staff at the Solicitor General's Office:
“I will make it a priority to staff the office with people who are not only good employees and lawyers, but good people.”

Recently, I had a very trying experience with my 18 year old son who was ticketed for speeding. Not only was I not familiar with the procedure, I was lost in exactly what we needed to do. Upon entering the Board Of Commissioners meeting room my son and I were shown a very informative and easy to follow power point. It covered the traffic laws in Georgia and the effect that my son's ticket would have on both his ability to drive as well as my auto insurance policy. When my son's name was called, I then spoke with Ms. Gopaul's staff who were very knowledgeable and above all professional, efficient and courteous. They helped to allay my concerns and make me feel like my problem was their problem. We were given direction and the entire process was over in 45 minutes. It was painless. This is a very well run, capable office staffed with "good lawyers", employees and above all respectful, empathetic people. I am not sure if Mr. Finch realized that when he said "good people" that comment could be taken as a disparaging remark about the current staff. Which in my experience is far from true, they are good people.
I urge everyone to do their homework, consider Ms. Gopaul's practical experience and knowledge at running an office staffed with employees she can be proud of and above all a proven track record.
This experience and the way I was treated strengthened my feeling that my first vote that I cast for Ms. Gopaul was the correct vote and she will certainly be getting my vote again on July 22.

Lively: July 9, 2014 9:04 p.m.

I have been told Donna Gopaul worked for Cynthia McKinney and voted for Obama both times. Is this true? It doesn't make any sense because she was appointed by Governor Deal. He knows what a conservative county Forsyth is, why would he appoint her if she really voted for Obummer and worked for a communist.

forsythdad: July 11, 2014 5:51 a.m.

Bill Finch will get my family and friends vote.
I have known him and his family for 14 years, I cant think of any reasons to not choose him honest, dependable and cares of his home town!!!

gaonmymind: July 13, 2014 4:00 p.m.

I have done my research and instead of listening to innuendo, hearsay and vicious mudslinging; it is best to go to the source. I met Donna at an event and I asked her face to face. This was her answer and I believe her. Once and for all Donna was an intern at McKinney's office. While she was an intern, her only duty was to collect toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) and distribute them to the homeless. She took no part in decision making, political stances, etc. That hardly makes her a Communist. Donna loves her country, her community and helping others. She was never responsible, nor did she agree with McKinney's political views, she was just an intern working for school credit.
As far as her voting for Obama, if she did she was not alone. We are were ALL fooled by a person who is shaping up to be the WORST President this country has EVER seen. She was not alone in voting for him IF she did, don't forget, he was elected twice.
As far as Finch being honest, dependable and cares for his home town, that's great DITTO FOR DONNA. BUT in my book,(and I imagine many other peoples' books) that does not qualify anyone for holding an office as important as Solicitor General, it just makes them a nice neighbor. What qualifies someone to hold this office?
1) How about for starters,being selected and appointed by our Governor, Finch was passed on for this position
2) Reducing the budget in this office (cutting the FAT) by $200,000, you can research that and see that is true.
3) Doing an excellent job in the office that she holds
4) A tangible commitment to this community for justice, fairness, and empathy for people and our community, Donna displays that every single day.
My theory if it ain't broke...
Donna is already doing a great job and has proven herself time and time again. She cares about the office, she cares about the community and she is the most qualified candidate (with the Governor's seal of approval) why change what is already working?
As far as voting ALL of my family and friends voted for Donna the first time and will certainly be voting for her on July 22.
We have the best already, let's stick with Donna Gopaul!

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