This is the link to the Edgar County Watchdogs story with video from the hearing held for the Atlanta Library petition challenges: Library challenges
By: Diane Benjamin
Frequently we all have to wonder if laws matter. This morning they did in Logan County.
Six people who had filed petitions to run for the Atlanta Library Board had their petitions challenged. One person decided to withdraw, another person was not served by the Sheriff’s office with a summons to appear – that challenge was rescheduled.
The other 4 were all thrown off the ballot. Although some had other problems with their filings, all 4 failed to file a Statement of Economic Interest with the Logan County Clerk. The law clearly states when and where the form must be filed. It says right on the form to file it with the County Clerk. I believe all four claimed they filed it with the library.
The Edgar County Watchdogs have written about the challenges: https://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2018/12/petition-objections-filed-against-6-candidates-for-atlanta-public-library-district-trustee/
The hearing was professional even though Logan County had never held a hearing on petitions before. It helps to read the law first and then follow it. An Agenda had been posted 48 hours in advance which included adoption of the rules and Public Comment.
The current Library Board Chairman was one of the ones kicked off the ballot. He attempted to use a court case that wasn’t applicable to say he substantially complied with the law. It didn’t work. Keep in mind the chairman supported buying the Union Hall building from a fellow Board member for $200,000. The board member eventually quit and donated the building to the library likely to avoid prosecution for violating the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act.
The hearing was PACKED with citizens wanting justice. They got it! A bloodless coup took place simply by following the law.
The Watchdogs, most of the citizens, and I headed to Atlanta to witness more petition challenges to candidates running for the Town Council. The mayor and the clerk showed up with a paid lawyer. They had NO AGENDA, the mayor claimed he didn’t know they needed one. The most senior member of the Council was supposed to be the third member, but her husband died last week, she did not show up. The mayor should have asked the head judge of Logan County to appoint a third person since no one knows when she would be able to attend. If he had read the law he would have known that.
Citizens had to take the day off work to be there, without an agenda it was illegal meeting. The mayor had planned to pass the rules anyway and reschedule the rest. Without an agenda no business could be conducted. The gathering was vintage Atlanta where laws don’t matter. It finally devolved into the citizens were right, the lawyer was a waste of money, and the mayor had no idea what he was doing.
This commission is under time constraints they will now fail because another meeting can not be rescheduled without an agenda being posted for at least 48 hours, and all the participants need to be re-served with notices to appear. One was never served to appear today, only a call to the Logan county Sheriff confirmed that. The citizens served to appear will be forced to take another day off work because laws are immaterial in Atlanta.
It is because of fiascos like this that the bloodless coup took place at the library. The same thing needs to happen at the City. The citizens who believe laws matter rose up and are making it happen. If this commission continues to not follow the law, it will be taken to court.
The Edgar County Watchdogs have videos of both meetings. When they are posted I will link to them.