‘Smith, Hearn and Horgan are simply blowing smoke’

At a debate held 6/19/12 in Fayetteville for the Board of Commissioner’s candidates, Jack Smith, former Chairman of the BoC whom the voters kicked out of office in 2010, made the claim that he helped save the county millions annually by getting the Fayette County’s Defined Benefit Plan in place. In a Citizen article dated 6/12/12, Robert Horgan was quoted that he helped save the county $400 thousand annually for the same event. And not to be outdone, Lee Hearn was quoted in a Citizen article on 4/10/12 that the county would save $800 thousand on the Early Retirement Incentive Plan.

Maybe we should just ask Jack Smith, the CPA, to come up with an average number they could all agree on. Folks, this is better than the movies. You just couldn’t make this stuff up!

Jack Smith, Lee Hearn and Robert Horgan voted to approve the Defined Benefit Plan in 2009 and, in an unprecedented move, Herb Frady voted against Smith and Hearn while Eric Maxwell abstained.

Smith, Hearn and Horgan are simply blowing smoke, seriously distorting the facts, and their claims of large potential savings are totally ridiculous!

Jack Krakeel’s, County Administrator, basic premise for the potential $1.6 million savings quoted in the Citizen on 5/9/12 is that all forty-four replacement employees could be hired at the “minimum” wage scale and that seven positions on the list could be eliminated. Some positions on the list are ones the County Administrator has absolutely no role in deciding if any of the constitutionally appointed office positions are left unfilled; i.e. the Sheriffs Office, Superior Court Office, Tax Assessors Office, and Juvenile Court Office. Did Krakeel place these constitutionally appointed positions on the potential list without consulting the offices involved?

The Early Retirement Incentive Plan adopted by the county will require about $3 million to cover the Defined Benefit Plan contribution required for employees that accepted the county’s early retirement offer. The “upfront” payment is due July 1, 2012 but we won’t know the final number until the actuaries make their calculations based on the June 30 payroll.

Where are the savings that Smith, Hearn and Horgan claimed credit? Do the math! The “upfront” costs mentioned above eliminate any potential “savings” that may have existed and the plan is less than three years old.

Jack Smith, a CPA, knows (or at least should know) the plan hasn’t been around long enough for the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts (DOAA) to publish a compliance report issued every odd year that assesses every state, county, and municipal pension plans. No report has been issued for Fayette County’s because it has not been in effect long enough. So, at this time, nobody can say for sure how much the plan is going to cost the taxpayers on an ongoing basis.

Steve Brown called for an independent assessment of the early retirement package since the creator of the package, Jack Krakeel, failed to disclose that he would be taking part in the program. Coincidentally, Krakeel’s participation is the biggest financial loss to the taxpayers. As expected, Frady, Hearn and Horgan ignored his advice and went ahead with this utterly brain dead early retirement plan!

On the advice of Jack Krakeel, Commissioners Jack Smith, Herb Frady, Robert Horgan, Lee Hearn and Eric Maxwell approved a self-insured health benefit plan during Smith’s reign. The plan was supposed to save the county a lot of money but turned out to be a miserable failure after costs soared. The plan was abandoned in early 2012 but I don’t recall any of these guys taking ownership for this debacle! See 2/22/12 Citizen article: http://thecitizen.com/articles/02-22-2012/fayette-decide-medical-insuran...

Fox News ran a story on 6/21/12 about the enormous unfunded Defined Benefit Plan liabilities that state, county and municipal governments have racked up. The report presents a very ugly picture for the taxpayers who will ultimately have to pay the bills. See also a Pew Center story: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/02/18/study-states-trillion-pension....

What kind of a mess did Krakeel, with the approval of Smith, Hearn, and Horgan, get us into when the Defined Benefit Program was approved in 2009? Is it time for a new Board of Commissioners to undo the potential damage these individuals caused?

The taxpayers of Fayette County deserve better! Jack Smith, Robert Horgan and Lee Hearn have done more than enough damage already! Please don’t give them another chance to harm us any more.

We have a very important decision to make in the selection of three new County Commissioners next month. Please join me in voting for the following individuals in the July 31, 2012 election!

The deadline for voter registration is July 2, 2012 and advanced early voting begins July 9, 2012.

Charles Oddo of Fayetteville, Randy Ognio of Fayette County and David Barlow of Tyrone are businessmen (not politicians) who will represent you at all times with honesty, integrity and common sense.

Jim Richter
Peachtree City, Ga.