Friday, April 10, 2009

Fayette County Commission sued, passes defined benefit program and county attorney gets nasty with reporter...

Interesting "doings" at the Fayette County Commission chambers Thursday. The Commission voted to hire GEBCorp to manage the new defined benefit (DB) program for county employees at the evening Commission meeting (3 yes, 1 abstention, 1 no). In late 2007 Eric Maxwell, Herb Frady, Jack Smith and Robert Horgan voted to implement a DB program (former Commissioner Peter Pfeifer opposed).

GEBCorp is the company that initially helped the Commission study committee determine the feasibility of moving from the current award-winning retirement plan to a defined benefit plan.

After the meeting the County Attorney Scott Bennett asked reporters to step into his office. When yours truly walked back the attorney got nasty. He noted I'd written some bad things about him back when the Commission hired him and so he didn't want to talk with me. He said more -- and I'll be sharing more about it later.

Christine (Chris) Venice, former County Administrator filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against the county earlier this week. Venice was let go without cause in April 2007. Attorney Harlan Stuart Miller III, an Atlanta attorney, is representing Venice.

The suit asks for damages resulting from breach of contract, lost retirement / pension benefits, back wages and other issues.

Since the County's spokesperson in legal matters, Scott Bennett, refused to talk with me I talked to Jack Krakeel, the current County Administrator who stated he had no knowledge of the suit beyond knowing it was filed.

Krakeel referred me to County Chairman Jack Smith who initially referred me to their attorney, but spoke to me when I indicated the attorney had refused to talk with me.

Smith said he was informed of the lawsuit this evening via email, just finding out around 6:15. He had not had time to delve into the details.

- jmd

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