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Published: Thursday, 8/14/2003

2 members spar over remarks about MRDD

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Fulton County Commissioners President Jack Graf and Vice President Dean Genter have been sparring over remarks Mr. Genter made at a county Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities board meeting, opposing what he called improper spending.

Although the two have differed before, they have never gone head-to-head as they have this month.

The spat started late last month when Mr. Genter addressed a standing-room only disabilities meeting saying, “I'm not supporting any levies until we get back to financial stability.”

Mr. Graf did not attend that meeting, but Mr. Genter was quoted in the media and Mr. Graf said that will make the commissioner's duties with the troubled disabilities board more difficult.

He wrote a letter to the editor of the Fulton County Expositor saying:

“Bully tactics, threats, and verbal criticism by Commissioner Genter and others may play well with the public, make for plenty of press, and I suspect will serve Dean well in his re-election campaign next year. It will not, however, solve the problem.”

He signed the lengthy letter Jack Graf, county commissioners' president.

Mr. Genter retorted with a statement he read at a commissioners' meeting, questioning why Mr. Graf used his title of county commissioners' president in signing his letter.

“This usually takes some sort of authorization from the full board in open session,” Mr. Genter said.

He went on to say that he had asked the other commissioner, Paul Barnaby, whether he had authorized Mr. Graf to sign his letter as he did. Mr. Barnaby said that he had done so.

“I believe that constitutes a decision outside open session, authorizing the president of the board of county commissioners to do what you, Mr. Graf, did,” he said.

Mr. Graf said that he would not apologize for using his title as he did and asked Mr. Genter if he wanted his statement entered into record. Mr. Genter replied that he did and handed over his handwritten notes.

Later he said he would not pursue his allegations that official action had taken place outside an open meeting and was not trying to pick a fight. But he added that he thought Mr. Graf was out of bounds in using his title to make statements and chastise a fellow commissioner without a board vote.

Mr. Genter said that he had driven to the disabilities board meeting at his own expense and gave his opinion as one of the appointing authorities to the disabilities board.



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