Never Assume the Position

Rumor has it….

I heard a rumor from an inside source that our friends at the Hall County Citizens for Efficient Government (HCCFEG) may pay a visit to a superior court near you to force Hall County to seat their former president, Paul Barns. It was right here on the Truth where I laid out the case that said that the former board made a potentially illegal appointment and a showdown was coming.

The Gainesville times reported that the “Hall County commissioners vote(d) to end suit over tax assessors position”, but it sure doesn’t prevent someone else from taking up the issue. The problem is, we now have two people seated in the same position. If you take a look at the Jan 6th minutes, it says; “Chairman Oliver then stated he had a motion and a second to leave the seat of Jeff Benefield open for 90 days pursuant to a ruling from the Attorney General’s office. Commissioner Bell inquired if this motion included the appointment of Paul Barnes provided the ruling by the Attorney General and Chairman Oliver stated it did. Vote: 4-1 (Commissioner Powell opposed).”

So the board appointed Paul Barnes, now the board is saying that it wants to stop litigation. The problem is that the position comes with a term and salary and specific rules on how to remove someone. Remember, Reverend Benefield was not properly seated, but Paul Barns was. I believe that Mr. Barns can make a claim for his salary for his term.

The other question will be if the county has to defend their position if/when the HCCFEG makes their claim; if/when that happens, the county will lose it’s choice to end the suit.

Hugh Hall County Akston

  2 comments for “Never Assume the Position

  1. ClermontRocks!
    April 3, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    The County Attorney already determined the legal position for the Commission.

    Here is the conclusion directly from copy obtained from HCCFEG:

    “III. Conclusion.

    Our analysis of the current status of applicable law indicates that the November 11, 2010 appointment of Reverend Benefield to the Hall County Board of Tax Assessors was invalid.

    The Board lacked the authority to make the appointment because a vacancy did not exist at the time of the prospective appointment. Further, the court’s analysis in Murphy supports the proposition that because the same Board was not in office when the vacancy ripened, any prospective appointment was invalid.

    Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in this matter.

    Very truly yours,
    O.V. Brantley
    Interim Hall County Attorney”

    The Commission spent several thousand dollars for this opinion. Just because the Chairman chose to stop the request of the Attorney General does not negate his own motion to appointment Mr. Barnes.

    Since the taxpayer paid for this opinion, Mr. Barnes should use the position of the Official County Attorney to force his swearing in before April 6, 2011 (90 days from appointment vote).

  2. Hugh Akston
    April 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Nice work, ClermontRocks!
    I can’t wait to see where this goes. I heard that the Clerk of the Courts refused to swear in Mr. Barnes. It looks like the showdown is right around the corner.

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