Rethink ‘going in’ on candidate
July 08, 2014 01:25 AM | 1218 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Cobb County Code related to ethics in government is concise regarding conflict of interest: “In furtherance of its responsibility to protect the integrity of government ... its system of representative government is dependent upon the people maintaining the highest trust in their public officials. ... The people have a right to be assured that the impartiality and independent judgment of public officials will be maintained.”

Curiously, we find circumstance with one candidate for Cobb Commission, Bob Weatherford, where he lists his professional activity for the past two years on behalf of JAT Consulting Services as … “Primarily involved in Business Development in the Government Sector including Local, State and Federal as well as the Public Sector in the Metro Area.” Also, noted in his resume for this same period, “official for City of Acworth, Public Safety Co-Chair and Economic Development Chair.”

Of course, I begrudge no man the right to gainful employment, and surely his company, JAT, does not do business that might cause him conflict in his role? But we find, they do perform work for Cobb County and list them as a reference customer on their web site.

It may have slipped my attention, and I did do an online search to try and find where Mr. Weatherford has indicated whether and when he has or will resign his role at JAT, but I can find no mention. Given the broad county and regional responsibilities a Commissioner assumes, and the impossibility of reconciling a job role responsible for “business development in the government sector,” I wait with bated breath the pending announcement.

Witness DeKalb, Henry, Fulton, Cobb and other ethics investigations outstanding, unless the people of Cobb simply wish to create another jobs program for the Ethics Board, they may want to rethink a candidate whose “going in” position guarantees more legal expense for the taxpayer.

James Strawn
Marietta, District 1

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