By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Commission could question planning official
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News
Other action

Also on Tuesday, the Forsyth County commission:

• Heard a presentation from Buckhorn Sand Manufacturing about a proposed energy industrial and academic park on land in north Forsyth. The indoor facility would turn waste into energy, as well as play host to other businesses.
Pending litigation with a neighboring landowner and the county over zoning issues would be dropped if the use is approved, according to the business' attorney.

• Changed the county's insurance provider from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia to Cigna for lower rates. The county also unbundled its health care, instituted a discount for non-tobacco users, and switched to a tier plan based on number of members.

• Raised the sewer rate for Manor plant customers by 5 percent in a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Patrick Bell opposed. The plant serves west Forsyth and out-of-county customers.

• Approved an application for a $7.1 million Georgia Environmental Facilities loan, which would go toward increasing sewer flow in south Forsyth. The project is needed to meet sewer demands. The county also hopes to capitalize on lower interest and construction rates, according to Tim Perkins, water and sewer director.

• Note: All votes were 4-0, unless otherwise noted, with Commissioner Jim Harrell absent.

- Alyssa LaRenzie
The Forsyth County commission may hold a hearing to get to the bottom of some allegations regarding Planning Commissioner Brant Meadows.

County Commissioner Patrick Bell suggested at a Tuesday meeting that the commission hold “a hearing for what could be considered some violations of ethical standards.”

A majority vote following the hearing, if held, could result in the removal of the planning commissioner.

The allegations Bell noted include threatening job loss and revealing a decision prior to a commission public hearing.

Bell said two employees contend that Meadows told them he would “have your job” if they did not comply with his request.

“No official or employee, whether elected or appointed, shall either cause the dismissal or threaten the dismissal from any county position as a reward or punishment for any political activity,” Bell read aloud from the county’s code of ethics.

He also said Meadows did not remain impartial on a planning decision, a violation of the panel’s bylaws.

Meadows could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Bell said he waited until after the July 20 primary election to bring the issue forward so it would not “be construed as a political move.”

Meadows ran unsuccessfully for the District 1 county commission post being vacated by Chairman Charles Laughing-house. Opponent Pete Amos
received the GOP nomination.

But with just three commissioners present at that point in Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted 3-0 to postpone a decision until later.
Commissioners Jim Harrell and Brian Tam were absent.

If the board decides to move forward on the matter, County Attorney Ken Jarrard said, Meadows would get a chance to present a case against removal.

Jarrard said Meadows could be dismissed only by finding of cause, such as improper action or no action taken when necessary.

Laughinghouse questioned Tuesday whether a hearing could be considered “retaliation against a whistleblower,” since Meadows was bringing forth “perhaps irregularities or not following codes or standards” toward the employees who say he threatened their jobs.

“How [the issues] were presented may be a different story,” Laughinghouse said.

Jeff Chance, the county’s suspended planning director, filed a lawsuit in July against Forsyth County based on protected whistleblower status.

The suit contends that when Chance reported an alleged confrontation with Meadows, he was met with an investigation into his management practices and computer use.

The investigation found Chance in violation of 12 county policies, including employee favoritism, explicit personal e-mails and putting golf balls in office hallways on county time.

Citing the pending litigation, the county commission has yet to make a decision on Chance’s job status. He was put on paid administrative leave in May.

Most recently, the decision was postponed until the commission’s Aug. 19 meeting.