Around Town: Is IMAGE everything? No say the mayors
by Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby - Around Town Columnists
February 12, 2013 10:35 AM | 4645 views | 6 6 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

IF IMAGE IS EVERYTHING, as the old saying goes, then a number of Cobb’s mayors and their cities are not looking too good these days. That’s because those mayors admitted to the MDJ last week that they have little or no interest in seeing their cities become IMAGE-certified. In other words, they are not interested in making use of that federal program to find out whether there are illegal aliens on their city hall payrolls. And they also have no apparent interest in requiring the contractors and subcontractors who do business with their cities to apply for IMAGE-certification, even with the unemployment rate in Cobb at 7.6 percent as of December.

And people wonder why Cobb County has become such a Mecca for illegals.

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ACWORTH Mayor Tommy Allegood and Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews told the MDJ they are in no rush to see their cities become IMAGE-certified.

“At this time our staff and our city council are not discussing any plans to move forward with something like that,” Allegood said.

Added Mathews, “There’s not been a big push for us to do anything at this point from anywhere. … It’s just not on the radar at this point.”

Two other mayors, Joe Jerkins of Austell and Pat Vaughn of Powder Springs, said they were open to becoming IMAGE-certified but don’t know much about it, even though there have been numerous stories about IMAGE in this and other newspapers in recent months and even though the Cobb County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last spring to become IMAGE-compliant (although only for county workers, not contractors and their subs. That’s another story.).

Smyrna’s Max Bacon also said he was open to becoming IMAGE-certified, but sounded thoroughly uninformed about IMAGE and the difference between that program and E-Verify. For the record, the IMAGE program checks the legal status of current employees by determining whether fake or stolen IDs and/or Social Security numbers were used to obtain their employment. E-Verify, on the other hand, is only used to check the status of current job applicants. It cannot be used to verify the status of those already employed.

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ALLEGOOD AND MATHEWS have something in common in addition to having cold feet on IMAGE: They are both taking their cues from Cobb Commission Chairman

Tim Lee. Even though Lee said last year when running for re-election that he hoped to see the county become IMAGEcertified for contractors, he has now backtracked on that.

East Cobb Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell are pressing hard for the county to approve IMAGE-certification for contractors, but their effort appears to have hit a wall. Not only does Lee oppose it, but so do West Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham and South Cobb Commissioner Lisa Cupid. They are expected instead to approve what critics describe as a counterproposal by Goreham that contractors be given extra points on their bids if they say they have applied to become IMAGE-certified. The drawback to that is that if none of the contractors choose to apply, then the status quo continues. The county would, in effect, continue to turn a blind eye to any of its contractors and subcontractors who use black-market labor.

It’s not a hypothetical question. Contractors building the new Cobb Courthouse in 2009-10 used illegal laborers — and lots of them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t questioned by anyone connected with county government who brought that sad fact to light. Rather, it was an undercover investigation by the Washington, D.C.-based International Union of Bricklayers. The Board of Commissioners will hold the second of three public hearings on the IMAGE program at 9 a.m. today. The third will be Feb. 26, followed by a vote.

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BUT ONE COBB CITY emerged from Sunday’s MDJ story on IMAGE with its image enhanced. That would be Marietta, where Mayor Steve Tumlin said he wants his city to be IMAGE-certified and be IMAGEcertified for contractors as well. “As we were early participants with E-Verify and happy with such, I personally think that Marietta adopting the IMAGE certification program is an excellent way of staying in compliance,” he said. Marietta and Cobb have long prided themselves in being leaders on a variety of civic issues. And that’s obviously still important to Tumlin, even if not to some of his peers.

“As a city we use federal contracts, do a lot of DOT contracts, we work with a lot of different people, and I think we have a duty to make sure the subcontractors are in compliance also. They vicariously represent us whether they’re on the list or not.” (Emphasis added by Around Town)


THE YEARS-LONG STRUGGLE to raise funds to save the old chapel at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta will have a happy ending after all.

Jane Eisele, who spearheaded the effort as head of the nonprofit Dobbins Chapel Foundation, told Around Town on Monday that base commander Col. Timothy Tarchick told her that an agreement has been reached to move the chapel to a site at Camp Clay, the Georgia National Guard HQ at what used to be the Naval Air Station Atlanta across the runway from Dobbins.

The church has stood near the Dobbins entrance since 1950 after having been first erected on an Army Air Field in Goldsboro, N.C., during World War II, then later disassembled and moved.

Some $50,000 had been earmarked to disassemble and then reassemble the church this time, but because the new site is so close to the old one it will be possible to move it instead. An anonymous donor came forward to cover the additional costs associated with the move, she said. The final service at the chapel at its present site was held last Sunday, she said. Target date for the move is March 10 or even earlier. “It’s like a miracle,” she said.

GROUNDBREAKING

will be at 2 p.m. Thursday in Douglasville for a custombuilt “smart home” for wounded warrior Todd Love, the Acworth Marine who lost three limbs in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. The home is a project of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the

Gary Sinise Foundation.

NEED SOME free legal advice? The State Bar of Georgia will host “Ask a Lawyer” Day from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. on Friday at Zion Baptist Church, 165 Lemon St. in Marietta. Pro bono advice will be offered on consumer law, wills and powers of attorney, family law, criminal law and other topics. For more call Mike Monahan at (404) 527-8762 or go to probono@gabar.org.


THE POLITICAL FLAP prompted by the resignation of Georgia Public Television senior producer Ashlie Wilson Pendley of the network’s “Lawmakers” program has a Marietta connection.

Pendley — the granddaughter of late Marietta Mayor Joe Mack Wilson (who before that was chairman of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee) — went out with a bang. Her resignation letter cited four rounds of layoffs and five years of stagnant wages but saved her heaviest artillery for the politically-driven hiring of former state Sen. Chip Rogers (R-north Cobb), who resigned his seat just after the November election to take a newly created job at GPB as an executive producer for a community jobs program. She also revealed his new salary — $150,000 per year.

“It was unconscionable to create a position and compensate any individual in this manner during these difficult times,” she wrote. “This was the wrong decision for GPB. It has the appearance of the political manipulation of the public airwaves.”

Rogers, the former Senate majority leader, has seen unwanted headlines in the past year or so in connection with his failure to repay a bank loan and then the revelation that he formerly was a “tout” for a sports gambling network. Decades-old videos surfaced showing Rogers as Will “The Winner” Rogers.

Will the flap cause donors to withhold their contributions to the network?

Stay tuned.

Comments
(6)
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anonymous
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February 14, 2013
How much More Unamerican can you Get? This throws a Green Light to every Illegal Immigrant out There My My? When is something A crime only when Honest Law Abiding Legal Citizen does Something When ?? The Illegals get almost every Benefit in U.S.A thru these type Turncoats and Obummer and Clan? Why are there not Large Real Protests with this Behavior
Just Sayin'....
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February 13, 2013
Joe and Bill....shame on you. "A Mecca for illegals." Really? I cannot believe that the two of you would stoop to such a level insinuating that we are overrun with illegals. Everyone jumps to the conclusion that most Hispanic people are here illegally, while that is simply not the case. This sort of subtle name-calling is not acceptable. Were it not for the hard work that many of these people provide, there would not be many of the conveniences you gentlemen enjoy.

Let's be honest here, many of our unemployed would not do the jobs that many of these people occupy. Many think the work is beneath them. Many of our unemployed would not roll out of bed for a minimum wage job. So, please, let's stop encouraging this attitude of behavior....or better yet, go seel it somewhere else....maybe on FOX news.
ProJour
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February 14, 2013
Gotta keep stirring the pot. What kind of stories receive the most comments? Ones on immigration. That's why you see more stories about that topic in the MDJ than most other newspapers. It's also why they repeatedly quote/feature D.A. King, who has zero credibility with other media. Because in Cobb County, if you're brown, you're illegal unless proven otherwise.
Two Faced?
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February 12, 2013
Joe and Bill,

If IMAGE is everything I guess the MDJ is not looking so good either. When looking at the ICE web page I searched and searched but couldn't find the Marietta Daily Journal listed as having been certified or even having applied for the program.

I guess you can write one thing but with actions mean another.

Laura Armstrong
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February 12, 2013
@Two Faced When has the MDJ ever entered into a for-profit contract with the county or the city? Good try.

Re the Dobbins Chapel: Great job guys! It only took a decade, but it's great to know your hard work on behalf of history has paid off.

Re the Low Information Mayors: pretty common knowledge that Tumlin is the true leader and the others follow the BOC chair. Too sad.
anonymous
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February 13, 2013
Laura, I would say legal notices in the MDJ are a for profit contract. So the MDJ must be certified if it does business with city. That means every delivery boy, press operator, trucks, ink suppliers etc. And we want to see an original of Joe and Bill's birth certificates, not a copy please.
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