Commissioner Goreham has concerns about implementing IMAGE program
by Jon Gillooly
January 31, 2013 12:38 AM | 3302 views | 29 29 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Commissioner Helen Goreham<br>Staff/Todd Hull
Commissioner Helen Goreham
Staff/Todd Hull
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Commissioner Helen Goreham on Wednesday suggested a carrot rather than a stick approach when it comes to a controversial federal program aimed at rooting out illegal immigrants from key job markets in the county.

The program, called IMAGE, would require all contractors doing business with the county to apply for certification by the federal government, documenting that they have no illegals on their payrolls.

The Board of Commissioners may vote on the topic Feb. 26.

Goreham believes requiring county contractors to be certified or to apply for such certification as proposed by Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell is too big a step to take immediately.

She suggests starting out with an incentive program that would award a certain amount of points to IMAGE-certified contractors or contractors who applied for such certification when they were bidding on a project for the county.

“Let’s not be punitive in the beginning,” Goreham said. “Let’s encourage best practices of IMAGE. Let’s dangle that carrot instead of beating them over the head with a stick.”

Goreham gave examples of what could happen if the county immediately required contractors to apply for IMAGE certification. She referenced the bridge that collapsed in east Cobb over a recent weekend. Fortunately, the county had a contractor working on another project that it could divert to fix the bridge.

“If we had to only do business with IMAGE certified contractors how do we address that?” Goreham said.

Or what happens if the county has another ice storm like it did two years ago in which it had to call in outside contractors to help plow the roads?

“We would have to make certain every one was IMAGE certified,” she said.

Goreham said such a requirement would cause the county to lose its competitive edge in the bid process, a concern previously raised by county chairman Tim Lee. What if a potential bidder believes the certification process is too difficult and decides not to bid?

“What that ultimately would do is raise the cost of the job and perhaps dilute the pool of qualified individuals, so we don’t want to back into that corner, too,” she said.

Originally, Goreham said the proposed code change was to require all contractors to be IMAGE certified. Now the wording has changed to require contractors to sign an affidavit that they are in the process of becoming IMAGE certified.

The county government applied for its own IMAGE certification last year and has yet to become certified.

“It’s taken approximately 450 administrative hours to do the paperwork,” she said, adding that little has been accomplished in the way of finding illegal workers.

“Not one has turned up,” she said.

The county’s HR director, Tony Hagler, said he estimates the county has spent between 450 and 500 hours on the application for IMAGE certification. Hagler said the bulk of the time was spent conducting a self audit of the county’s I-9 forms for all active employees. That process was recommended by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement before the application was submitted.

The self audit included training staff to conduct the audit, pulling I-9 forms from personnel files, auditing the forms, then making the necessary corrections, he said. That process was completed by the end of April 2012 when the county submitted its application for IMAGE certification, Hagler said. In May 2012, ICE notified the county it was ready to proceed with the application agreement, a step approved by the Board of Commissioners that month.

The agreement called for an audit of I-9 forms to be completed by ICE. These forms were provided to ICE in June 2012. In December, 2012 the county received notification from ICE that their audit had been completed, and they provided Cobb with a number of forms that had to be revised. This was accomplished by mid-January 2013.

“We received a final set of about 50 to 60 additional forms about a week ago to revise,” Hagler said. “We expect to have those completed with those employees and returned to ICE by early next week.”

Goreham said while immigration activist D.A. King of the Dustin Inman Society claims there is no cost to becoming IMAGE certified, those 450 administrative hours have cost the county.

In rolling out the new ordinance change, it’s important to consider the companies that the county does business with, Goreham said.

“You’re going to say ‘road contractors’ and everyone’s screaming that they’ve got illegals on that, but let’s look in the less obvious areas,” she said, citing food companies that provide food to the county jail.

“If they think it’s not worth their while financially to go into the process, we could go up a creek,” she said.

Or, consider local hospitals such as WellStar Health System, she said, who provide medical service to the county.

She said she didn’t want to “be like Congress,” which reacts in a kneejerk way to satisfy a political base, often without even reading the legislation before voting.

“So that’s the reason why I’m cautious,” she said. “I’m looking at the business side from Cobb County government doing business. I don’t want to be like Congress. I want to do my job. I want to do my research up front. I want to approve a good piece of legislation.”

And if in the future it turns out the county needs a stricter ordinance, it can always adopt one, she said.

Goreham pointed out that Cobb is the only county in Georgia that has applied for IMAGE certification. And while Cobb prides itself on being a leader rather than a follower, the issue is more than just about being “first out of the chute.”

“We pride ourselves on that too much all the time, and it’s good, and that’s why Cobb is the way it is, but we’re starting to get out there and have to pet some rattlesnakes, and you have to be very cautious or pragmatic, as I am,” she said.

Goreham emphasized that her position in IMAGE has not changed, and that she continues to support American jobs for American workers. But she is worried about possible unintended consequences of the program.

“If this ordinance in its final form proves to me that there will be unintended consequences, that it will make it very difficult for Cobb County government to conduct business, that my citizens stand to not be served in the way that they should, or it should jeopardize safety, then I’m not going to vote for it,” she said.

IMAGE, or ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, is a voluntary partnership initiative between the federal government and private-sector employers. ICE developed the initiative as a way for employers to achieve a “lawful work force” through self-policing of their hiring practices.

Comments
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Marvin Gardens
|
February 01, 2013
GO DA! This is on his website today:

MEDIA ADVISORY February 1, 2013 The Dustin Inman Society

www.TheDustinInmanSociety.org

3595 Canton Rd. A-9/337

Marietta, Ga. 30066

Contact:DA AT TheDustinInmanSociety.org

D.A. King / Twitter:@DAKDIS

Cobb-based pro-enforcement, immigration watchdog group announces intention to find and assist a primary candidate to oppose and replace Cobb County Commissioner Helen Gorham in 2014

Today, Dustin Inman Society president D.A. King announced his state-wide organization’s intent to actively recruit, locate funding for and assist at the grass-roots level a qualified GOP primary candidate for Cobb County’s Commission District 1 seat now held by Helen Goreham.

King says the West Cobb District can be much better represented by finding an intelligent and honest candidate who is based in reality and who will stand up to the powerful business community for job and identity theft protection with reasonable and workable methods. On the current commissioner, “follow the money” cautioned King.

“Helen Goreham has proven that she will do literally anything to prevent the implementation of the no-cost IMAGE system for contractors, including pushing a ridiculous “points system” that would somehow reward contractors if they became IMAGE certified. As most of us can clearly see, the contractors who Goreham, Lee and Cupid are shielding here will never even apply for IMAGE much less become fully compliant. In Helen’s little fantasy, the real score in her “points incentive system” would be zero to zero. We think that number has real meaning when applied to Helen Goreham. Under the ‘Goreham Zero Plan’, jobless Americans in Cobb County would continue to watch as illegal employers take county-funded jobs on which they will continue to use illegal aliens.” King said.

King noted that Commissioner Helen Goreham was one of the Cobb Commissioners who voted for the IMAGE certification system when Cobb County held a May, 2012 public signing of the agreement with ICE to become IMAGE compliant.

“Goreham’s latest adventure in pretending that there are contractors who will voluntarily become IMAGE certified to gain points in a bidding process will only result more Cobb County Courthouse - type cheating of the very people she was elected to represent and protect” said King. “Apparently hoping that voters in her district have completely forgotten the Cobb Courthouse illegal alien worker debacle, Goreham has essentially moved to an ‘anything-but-real-enforcement-because-my-Chamber- donors-won’t- like-it mode.’ It is very possible that Goreham is fooling herself, but she it is not fooling anyone else.” King ended.

TIC
|
January 31, 2013
Please go back to New Jersey or wherever you came from!!
Kick backs
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January 31, 2013
The fact is the county and state would no longer be able to do business with C.W Matthews. C.W. Matthews is a major contributor to most of these campaigns. Sad!
anonymous
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February 03, 2013
Anyone seen CW Matthews financials lately? From the looks of their homes, they're making mighty fine money off the taxpayers and their illegal labor.

And that big light up sign they have in front of their office always advertising to "vote for SPLOST" is a dead giveaway.
Dustoff
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January 31, 2013
Get your heads screwed on correctly, if the County allows contractors to use illegals on projects the County is breaking FEDERAL LAW!

You people out there do not understand what the illegal labor force is doing to our economy and all the kids they pop out while here are citizens.

Try that crap in any other country an see how fast you are jailed or deported.
R.icardo. Pellegrino
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January 31, 2013
Gracias! I join GALEO and La Raza in applauding you for supporting our undocumented immigrants. Viva Mexico y viva Goreham!
Laura Armstrong
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February 03, 2013
Here you go Helen. The endorsement you did not need.
West Cobbian
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January 31, 2013
Helen has again illustrated the validity of the old axiom “Politicians are like diapers; they need to be changed often and for the same reason.”

Helen, it's time to go!
Kennesaw Resident
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January 31, 2013
For once, Goreham and I are on the same page. The less we have the Federal Government in our business in Cobb, the better off we will be.

Devlin Adams
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January 31, 2013
Since her 5 reasons are, in reality, 5 "cop outs", we are left to wonder when she sold out to the Chamber of Commerce leadership.

Helen, I'll bet your unemployed constituients are really proud of the stand you have taken to protect jobs for citizens, and not illegal alien lawbreakers.

Better re-think this one,.
samdiil
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January 31, 2013
Helen needs to pull her head out of wherever it may be and quit making poor excuses for her inability to lead and go against anything Timmy tells her. I have never seen a more imcompetant commissioner. Experienced her lack of insight first hand during a zoning hearing where she failed to ask questions and voted based on her"assumptions".
mk-NWO
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January 31, 2013
The ends justify the means in this march to a one world government, the New World Order.

The hopes , dreams & desires of the American people that believe in the Constitution have been smashed. We have become just a minor annoyance.

We are being beaten down by a system that is plagued by greed and power.

The system is broken in America, but it was never fashioned to last forever.

The government is the bully in charge of the purse. They will take what they see fit for (it) to survive.

(It) will continue to funnel the uneducated onto their dole of government dependence growing their voter base, promising that carrot, job, peanut. Flooding America w/ low wage labor benefits those at the top,(and all their friends and contributors) at least for awhile. One day, they too will wake up & see a land they no longer recognize.

As we compete for fewer jobs at lower wages the smug politicians drool for more, more, more, 3% more!

The elite are steadily amassing great fortunes and increasing their options of exit when 'shtf'.

We are all just pawns in this great experiment.



WOOOOOO!
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January 31, 2013
TIN FOIL HAT PARTY!
anonymous
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January 31, 2013
I’ve got my tinfoil hat on. Hip hip hip horray. My tinfoil hat will shield me from your mind-controlling way. I’ve got my tinfoil hat on to insulate my brain. As long as I have got my tinfoil hat on I’ll be sane. Naughty little voices chanting; naughty little thoughts implanting; aluminum will strike them dumb. Wear a tinfoil hat. Aliens and goblins were watching me in bed until I took some Bacofil and wrapped it round my head. Now I’ve got my tinfoil hat on; my mind cannot be soiled. I’ve got my tinfoil hat on and their evil plans are foiled.
ECP
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January 31, 2013
Oooh, weee, thank you Jack Van Impe.
Pat H
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January 31, 2013
I don't believe you. Perhaps the 450 hours were logged by staff who do not work very hard.

Many private firms use IMAGE and have not complained about the time required.

I will volunteer to work at the contractors' and subcontractors' FOR FREE to do the necessary work for them to become IMAGE certified. The problem is not county employees, but as you well know, it is the employees of subcontractors who benefit from taxpayer funding.
Someone at County
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January 31, 2013
Should take you up on your offer if only to quell your constant speculation and over active imagination.

Really??
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January 31, 2013
Please name the ones in Cobb that are IMAGE certified or have applied for certification. As far as I can tell there is only one besides Cobb County.
amnesty no W Cobb
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January 31, 2013
It is doubtful that congress would pass another amnesty bill, but if it does, it will only accelerate illegal imigration., and then CW Mathews will still keep hiring the new illegals to keep wages down and profits up. There is little doubt that Helen Goreham would vote for amnesty if she could. Because that is exactly what she is dong here.

Helen. I am ging to vote for Keli Gambrill to take your place if she will run against you. I expect that the line of candidates for that wil lbe longer than your list of excuses for keeping illegal workers on the taxpayer pay today list.

Unhappy in West Cobb!
Helen Adios
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January 31, 2013
Oh Helen. First you didn't want to take a positin on thr ordinance because you havene't read it. Now you say that you havn't read it but are against it. This is about saving jobs Helen. Something you are going to need to do very soon for yourself.
I16
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January 31, 2013
Goreham said. “Let’s encourage best practices of IMAGE. Let’s dangle that carrot instead of beating them over the head with a stick.”

Helen, I for one would have liked for you to dangle or feed the carrot to the Mules, (JACK AND JILL) that you and Mr. David Hankerson bought for our county IMAGE.
Betsey Ross
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January 31, 2013
Yes, let's look at WellStar. Number one, I don't want to be treated or cared for by a person who came illegally to this country.

Isn't it bad enough the ER waiting room looks like a third world country?

You can't even see that there are many unemployed people here who need the jobs illegal workers have
anonymous
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January 31, 2013
Once again, Helen Goreham has proved how far out of step she has become with West Cobb and the voters.
anonymous
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January 31, 2013
Last time I applied for the Homestead Exemption, Ms. Goreham, I was put through the ringer, even having to have husband's ID faxed from the remote mountains of Afghanistan before anyone would approve it.

The least you could do is create an equal tough standard for your friends making millions off the taxpayer, whether it's fixing a bridge or building a new courthouse.

You don't seem to understand how much anger there is out here. Maybe if your friends can't meet the IMAGE standard (of LEGAL workers) other legal companies may start up, possibly allowing new entrepreneurship into the county.

Have some guts and go against the big boys on this one. Hasn't C.W. Matthews made enough money? (just one example) ALLOW CAPITALISM TO WORK AND QUIT CRONY CAPITALISM. And you say you're a Republican.....
Just Sayin'....
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January 31, 2013
Within the next few weeks, Congress will change the status of almost anyone who is considered "illegal." With these changes will come a whole new set of rules which will make anything existing now obsolete. There is little need to pursue this given the current set of circumstances...it would just be more time and more money thrown at something that is not an issue.

Much is being made of the "illegal" situation, while no one is really asking who or where they actually are. Many of the jobs that they fill are necessary and menial. As such, many "legals" don't want them. Last year when we forced the farmers to stop using them, many of them were left without laborers because our own citizens wouldn't do these jobs no matter how desperate they were.
anonymous
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January 31, 2013
Not long ago, when I was in college, my friends and I got jobs such as the ones you are talking about, shoveling mud, cleaning up construction sites, holding the stop/go signs on a road project. Heck, isn't that how some of these big boys at CW Matthews etc got started? You work, you learn, you sweat, and the world is better for it, plus you are out of your parents' basement and in the real world. Don't presume in this day and age that our young people don't want to work. My kids have tried and tried to get jobs, and for the most part been successful only because they had me pushing them to keep applying. Many of the contractors who get Cobb jobs are paying slave wages to an illegal workforce. Kennesaw-Due West road project was one of them. Commissioners need to grow a set and approve IMAGE, no matter what the crooks in D.C. do.
Al ln Marietta
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January 31, 2013
It looks like the Illegal Alien Lobby, otherwise known as the Chamber of Commerce, has already worked it's magic. It is funny how the discussion of "unintended consequences" never occurs for other pieces of legislation.
HappyHere
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January 31, 2013
Now that's smart leadership!
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