Recent activity by District 4 county commissioner Patrick Bell should send a chilling feeling down the spine of Forsyth County residents.
Given his past public disagreements with fellow commissioners, his testimony against the county in the Jeff Chance Civil Service case (throwing both the county manager and HR director under the bus due to his dislike for a commission candidate), and his vocal disagreement with the state attorney general’s ruling on this commission’s Open Meeting Act violation, you’d think that Commissioner Bell would try to tone down the acrimony he so stridently campaigned against in 2008.
Instead, he seems to take any criticism of him very personally, to the point where he used county resources to investigate an opponent running against him. In a Sept. 6 e-mail to the county attorney, Mr. Bell requests all e-mails to and from Bill Mulrooney and/or the Humane League and any address associated with Forsyth County, as well as any e-mail that he or his organization is referenced. This request was made just one day after Mr. Mulrooney announced his candidacy for the District 4 commission seat. It should be noted that there was no activity on any proposed animal shelter at this time that would have prompted such a request on county business.
In addition, in true Nixonian fashion, Mr. Bell retaliated for the commissions very public slap down by AG Sam Olens office regarding their illegal SPLOST meetings with the city of Cumming by making an Open Records Request of Olens’ e-mails when he was Cobb County chairman. When told it would take six months and cost $4,400, Mr. Bell swiftly withdrew his request and huffily exclaimed, “It’s a great way to keep people from getting public records, dont you think, charging $4,400.” This was just 3 short months after Bell attempted to add excessive fines and perjury penalties against Forsyth County residents who dared file ethics complaints against him.
Richard Nixon passed away in April of 1994, but his legacy of government abuse and enemies lists lives on in Forsyth County in the form of District 4 Commissioner Patrick Bell.
(Editor’s note: Richard is the former District 4 commissioner. He and Bell are former political opponents.)