Goreham position on IMAGE receives warm welcome in west Cobb
by Jon Gillooly
February 23, 2013 01:03 AM | 2931 views | 20 20 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
POWDER SPRINGS — Commissioner Helen Goreham was met with a friendly crowd as she denounced a proposal allowing federal agents to review the hiring records of county contractors to ensure employees are legally allowed to work in the U.S.

Goreham, who held a town hall meeting at the West Cobb Senior Center on Thursday night, saw a turnout of about 70 residents. Another 25 county employees attended the meeting as well, said county spokesman Robert Quigley.

Many of the residents who spoke had either not heard of the proposed code change that the Board of Commissioners is set to vote on Tuesday or they agreed with Goreham that it was a bad idea.

Derrick Brown of Kennesaw, who is in the IT industry, said he hadn’t heard of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers before Goreham spoke about it. But after the meeting, Brown said, “I don’t like the sound of it. It’s just an extra layer of bureaucracy that Cobb County businesses don’t need and Cobb County government doesn’t need to be able to compete effectively.”

Brown referred to it as an “anti-business proposition.”

Goreham paced back and forth in front of the audience, her voice at times trembling with emotion as she criticized the code change proposed by Commissioners JoAnn Birrell and Bob Ott.

“She was so loaded for bear when she stood up there, I’ve never seen Helen more angry or more nervous,” said Laura Armstrong of west Cobb, who was among those in attendance.

On two occasions during her talk, Goreham inaccurately described how the Ott-Birrell proposal would work.

“This ordinance mandates that every business, company in Cobb County becomes IMAGE certified,” Goreham said.

In fact, the code change would require only the contractors doing business with the county government to apply for certification. The proposal also doesn’t require them to become IMAGE certified, as Goreham claimed, but says they must apply for certification.

During her talk, Goreham complained about “a lot of uninformed comments regarding my position,” in the press, which is why told the audience she wanted to speak to it directly.

She also complained that the time it takes to become IMAGE certified is too labor intensive. It is true, she acknowledged, that there is upfront cost of applying for certification.

“Now I’ve got the actual paperwork, and it’s about seven or eight pages where you have to describe programs and describe all this,” she said. “There’s no processing fee. But for a business the size of Cobb County with 4,100 employees, we’ve already invested 450 man-hours in this process. Which there is a cost. I don’t care what’s said out there. My HR people are not sitting around reading People Magazine and eating bonbons if they’re not working on IMAGE. But it’s a thought out there that my staff has all this free time that they can dedicate 450 man hours and there are no costs associated with it.”

In response to a statement Goreham made, Bob Wise of Powder Springs asked if there hasn’t been a case of illegal immigrants working at the county since they were caught at the courthouse a few years ago, why is the county considering the proposal.

“I don’t have an answer for that,” Goreham said. “That’s why I can’t support this mandate to every business in Cobb County in eventually blacklisting companies, and it’s kind of assuming that everyone’s guilty of hiring illegals until you’re proven otherwise.”

Goreham said there are perhaps five or so major companies in the U.S. that build the kind of large sewer infrastructure projects that Cobb utilizes. She asked what if all but one of those firms refuses to enroll in IMAGE. That could raise the price of the project and risk an unqualified company carrying out the work, she said.

Rita Connell of Marietta asked Goreham for the names of the commissioners who are proposing the code amendment, which Goreham provided.

“So because we agree with you, could we call their offices or call people we know who live in their areas and ask them to call?” Connell asked Goreham.

Goreham said they could.

Goreham also promoted her idea that a task force be formed to study the issue further.

“We’ve had ordinances such as zoning – I’m going to throw out conservation subdivision or open space subdivision – and we formed task forces before we even entertain an ordinance,” Goreham said. “And on an issue as major as this and the ramifications, we haven’t even formed that committee before formulating an ordinance, and I’m mystified to why that hasn’t taken place.”

Goreham shared her thoughts as to how the meeting went afterward.

“The ones that spoke, I think the question that really stands out is the question ‘why are we doing this,’” Goreham said. “If you noted that was asked several times, and if it ain’t broke why are we trying to fix something that’s not broken? That’s what I’m coming away from this meeting with.”

Armstrong said after the meeting she was surprised no one spoke up about Goreham’s error in describing the Ott-Birrell proposal as something required for all businesses.

“I don’t think they had any idea what IMAGE was,” Armstrong said of the audience. “She portrayed it as being something that was just not even discussed or not even debated at all. She characterized IMAGE as something that was just tossed out there with no debate, but didn’t make it clear that it was something they had already voted on last year. She practically libeled Bob Ott in the meeting publicly. I don’t think the crowd necessary understands that this is only about protecting jobs that are taxpayer-funded jobs in the county.”
Comments
(20)
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IllinoisMinuteman
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February 24, 2013
No IMAGE? Fine, then require E-Verify. If a county business is found hiring illegal aliens fine them $10,000 for each. That should motivate them to hire Americans.
Clueless West Cobb
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February 24, 2013
I guess if you are okay with illegals stealing social security numbers and taking jobs from US citizens, you would give her a warm welcome. If you did not know about the IMAGE program, then you have your head in the sand and shouldn't have an opinion!
Joseph Pond
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February 24, 2013
Commissioner Goreham does not support IMAGE due to the amount of governmental resources involved yet she supports a Variance permit to own a hen, which would require a Board of Zoning Appeals investigation and hearing, and approval by the Board of Commissioners! She says of IMAGE, "it’s kind of assuming that everyone’s guilty of hiring illegals until you’re proven otherwise.” The Variance Permit assumes that we the citizens would be guilty of irresponsible pet ownership until we are proven otherwise- Half of the language in the proposal to allow hens thru a Variance is a repeat of the ordinances in Chapter Ten which govern animals. The other half describes a process that makes it far easier to hire illegal immigrants or buy an arsenal of firearms than to buy hens for you to supply fresh eggs for your family or as pets for children~

All that ask is some consistency in thought process. The current Code allows us as many dogs, cats, and even pot belly pigs as we want, without governmental process- why not chickens or ducks as well?

dustoff
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February 23, 2013
So whats wrong weith making sure companies doing business with Cobb County and taking tax dollars are obeying federal law?

Not one thing as far as I am concerned.

We need to rid our country of illegals.

Ms. Goreham by your actions you are violating federal law by aiding and abetting illegals.
Taxed enuf
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February 23, 2013
This is crazy! The IMAGE law would remove all lillegals from the jobs we pay for with our county tax dollars! The law WOULD NOT effect "every business in Cobb" only those that want to get county jobs- Goreham lied again and has been caught!
To the tune
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February 23, 2013
of good bye Helen...

Good bye Helen we love to see you go....
Marie in Marietta
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February 23, 2013
So Helen Goreham packed the room with planted soundbites and then lied about the ordinace to the people who were clueless that there even is an ordinance. It is clear that she will vote with the Chamber of Commerce against the working Americans who will lose more jobs to illegal aliens.

The good thing is that it will be hert last term.
anonymous
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February 23, 2013
I don't understand IMAGE certification enough yet to speak intelligently about it though I do plan to learn. What I do know is this. The United States slowly will become a nation where White people are no longer in the majority and do not have majority rule. According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, of the nation's children in 2050, 62% are expected to be of a minority ethnicity, up from 44% today. Approximately 39% are projected to be Hispanic or Latino (up from 22% in 2008), and 38% are projected to be single-race, non-Hispanic Whites (down from 56% in 2008). That means in 2050, Hispanic or Latino children in the U.S. are expected to be 1% more than White children. We need to get this immigration thing nailed down now to make it fair for everyone in the future. And put solid laws in place now. When Hispanics become majority over Whites, what way do you think the pendulum is going to swing regarding illegal immigration?
Be Careful
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February 23, 2013
"Many of the residents had not heard of the code change".....

How sad. The community at large is uninformed and doesn't know what's going on.

misterbill
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February 23, 2013
From the ICE site, I have excerpted a few of the entities that have signed with ICE for the IMAGE program:

IMAGE Partners

The following businesses have signed agreements to go through the IMAGE certification process:

City of Lewisville

Cliff Berry (CBI) Inc.

Coaster Co. of America Inc.

Cobb County Government (Cobb County, Ga.)

CVI.CHE 105 Inc. (dba CVI.CHE 105)

Dakota Turkey Growers, LLC dba Dakota Provisions

DCD Construction Inc.

Why is Goreham fighting something that is for Americans and misleading the public on the effort required to conform? Further, why would she challenge something already agreed to that benefits Americans??

I guess the deep pockets of local contractors have made progress in our County Commission office.
whoknowsbest
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February 24, 2013
You may have went to the ICE website to get this list of entities for the program, but have you asked any of them if they have become certified. Cobb County Government may have signed up, but has stopped short of proceeding to become certified. Know the "COMPLETE" facts next time
@whoknowsbest
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February 24, 2013
Two things-- First, if you read my original post. you will see that it says' "The following businesses have signed agreements to go through the IMAGE certification process:" Not

Second, your command of the English language, "you may have went", suggests that you may be a non-citizen, although many citizen lack good grammar skills , too. So , learn to read, learn to comprehend and evaluate what you write before you post it and show others what a fraud you are.

Nor is it my job after "wenting" to the site to call the companies to check them out. I left that for you to "COMPLETE" the facts.
Off Balance
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February 23, 2013
When Derrick Brown's job is the next one taken by workers from another country, here illegally, we will see if he thinks it is "anti business" or fair and just.

Laura Armstrong's catch of Goreham's misleading statement about IMAGE being required for ALL businesses smacks of the current federal administration's word tricks to hide the ultimate intent.

Simple question, "Do you believe that people who entered America illegally, should have jobs working for companies that are paid with government funds?" or "Shouldn't those jobs go to Americans?"

If your answer is that it is OK for people here illegally to take the jobs from Americans., I ask you how you would describe your loyalty to America.
Watcher...
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February 23, 2013
Ms. Goreham, if you are going to talk about this or any issue, DO NOT EVER distort or lie about the facts of the discussion!

I would bet that your comments start a fire storm across the County.

One final comment, pleats stop using the word "ain't." It demeans You.
Pat H
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February 23, 2013
Goreham is a traitor, a puppet of the Chamber of Commerce who packed the meeting. Why wouldn't all Cobb businesses use this tool anyway?

If you are getting paid by taxpayers, it is not too much trouble to be subjected to be sure E-Verify is being used. My tax money came by working hard and is not to be spent with frivolousness.

It is too hard for you to do the IMAGE paperwork for Cobb employees? Are you kidding me?

Thank you Laura Armstrong for being there to give us an honest perspective.
Lost Mountain
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February 23, 2013
Cobb County; would be better served, if you Helen would just go back to Long Island.
anonymous
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February 23, 2013
Based on Goreham's simplistic understanding of the law and public policy; Cobb County should never ask a potential (future) driver for Cobb County government for a copy of his/her driver's license to prove they are eligible to actually drive a county owned vehicle.

Nor should the H.R. folks ask the new medical doctors (just hired for county employees) for a copy of their college or copy of their license to practice medicine. Under, simple little, Helen's thought process these and similar types of verifications would assume they are guilty of breaking the law.

Each night, Helen must go to be thinking that no one in the whole wide world would ever tell any lies or commit a crime (like hiring an illegal alien) in our sweet little community.

Finally, why would Helen refer to the HR employees as "my HR people"? .... and why would county spokesman Robert Quigley counted the number of Cobb employees at a public meeting which was conducted outside of their work hours on their own time?
anonymous
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February 23, 2013
Looks like she lied to make herself look better.
Understanding it
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February 23, 2013
West Cobb residents did not know about IMAGE? Then you should not be voicing your opposition and I can not believe Helen is against it. The federal IMAGE program involves spot-checks employers hiring records for use of stolen Social Security numbers and other ID. It exposes illegal workers that used the phony IDs to get a job. Who wouldn't want to know if companies are using stolen social security numbers? One of the largest government contractors for road work is based in Cobb County ang they are full of illegal workers. Maybe this is why Helen doesn't want the program.

West Cobb Clueless
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February 23, 2013
Really? West Cobb residence are clueless because there aren't any illegals in there schools. We do not have the demographics out here and they don;t understand what ids happening in the real world. If you have not heard about IMAGE then you have your head in the sand. I am disappointed with Helen's decision!
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