Tim Buchanan, the Town of Elbert-based consultant in the middle of the Fair Campaign Practices Act complaint filed by Jill Duvall, was paid $15,000 by the county to help educate voters regarding a proposed mill levy increase.
Buchanan, who testified at the Dec. 13 hearing before administrative judge Robert Spencer, billed the county an additional $2,000 for the time involved in testifying. “I was called as an expert witness,” said Buchanan. “This was someone taking my time and that's how I make my living.”
In a statement emailed to the Elbert County News on Jan. 24, Buchanan stated: “The recent administrative judge's ruling and the ongoing political wars of Elbert County still have produced no real benefits for the citizens. The judge clearly stated in his ruling that the commissioners `intended to comply with the FCPA and to act in the best interest of their county.' I was at the hearing and the witnesses Ms. Duvall produced all stated that nothing was ever said about voting for the mill levy, but in their `opinion' they `felt' it was the object of the town hall meetings, (which is) hardly strong evidence.
“For all the complaints about me being paid for consulting, I was also surprised Ms. Duvall's attorney made it a point to ask the judge if he could order the county to pay for Ms. Duvall's legal expenses. It was nice to know Duvall was OK with having the taxpayers fund her covert political maneuvering while she was accusing the commissioners of the same thing. The election was lost, so obviously only political points were to be had from bringing the complaint.”
Buchanan added that if Duvall's goal “was to ensure that all things concerning the business of the county be `by the book,' why wasn't she one of the first to oppose the judge's punitive action against Commissioner Rowland? In his opinion, the judge accused Rowland of individually being responsible for making the decision to hire me. Ms. Duvall knew it was a unanimous decision of the commissioners in an open meeting…
“The only thing that the recent events have taught us is that nothing has changed. Things are still bad in the county and the political players only see these events as opportunities to score points. I think we are all tired of the political fighting and hysterics,” he concluded.