Well, I guess this is what it takes to get me to attend a Fulton County Commission meeting…

I’ve lived in Fulton County since December 2005.  First living in Atlanta, last month I moved to East Point.  For the most part, I enjoy living in Fulton County.  I have easy access to the city, I ride MARTA often, and given that I rent and don’t have children, the cost of living isn’t all that horrible.

Then there are times I want to put my head down a cry…  Darlene Dukes died because of the ineffective mess that is known as Fulton County government.

Gina Conteh survived nearly 12 years handling emergency calls despite a personnel record that includes fights with co-workers, chronic tardiness, insubordination, repeated sleeping on the job and numerous mistakes routing emergency calls.

She was fired last week after a mistake that delayed an ambulance for nearly an hour to a Johns Creek woman who died.

This incompetent employee of the citizens of Fulton County somehow confused southwest Atlanta with north Fulton County…  it took 25 minutes for ANOTHER person to realize this mistake…  then ANOTHER 20 minutes before they realized, duh, we sent police and firemen but forgot about an ambulance.

Rep. Mark Burkhalther, R-Johns Creek, has risen to the powerful speaker pro tem post as one of the most vocal critics of Fulton government. He said the mistakes made by Conteh and the death of Dukes adds to the drive to split Fulton into two counties.

“It’s well known that Fulton County is quick to hire, rarely disciplines and perpetuates an inefficient government,” said Burkhalter. “Probably the best description of Fulton County: a bloated jobs program. …Every day Fulton government wakes up and attempts to go to work it is evident that we need to restructure.”

Maybe the most expected part of this article:

Neither Fulton County Manager Zachary Williams or personnel director Paris Brown would comment for this story.

And what about this genius that let a woman die:

Her file includes several evaluations that applaud her knowledge of the system, her attitude toward co-workers and ability to properly handle calls. In 1998, her supervisor wrote, “Gina works well with her fellow employees… Gina is a very good employee.” In 2005, she was commended twice for perfect attendance.

At the same time, her record shows at least seven suspensions for everything from fighting with co-workers to sleeping on the job to failing to follow procedures. She routinely complained supervisors are picking on her.

In April 2003, Conteh was suspended for falling asleep at her desk so deeply that she tumbled from behind her console and scraped her left ear as she fell. Conteh explained she was leaning over to pick up paper when she fell, according to the file.

She filed a worker’s compensation report on her injury. Her superiors did not buy her story.

She also had several screaming matches with co-workers and had to be sent to anger management classes as recently as last year.

She had numerous incidents of mishandling calls, beginning with a string of six errors from December 2006 to January 2008 that resulted in a three-day suspension.

And Conteh was twice spared from being fired. The first time was in April 2004, when she again fell asleep at her desk.

After an appeal, she kept her job, but was moved from a morning shift to an afternoon shift, records show. Another attempt to fire her a year later fizzled.

Conteh has the right to appeal this most recent firing.

Seriously?  She has the right to appeal this most recent firing?  She ought to be on trial.

From the Fulton County web site:

The Fulton County Board of Commissioners meets the first and third Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. Meetings take place in Assembly Hall of the Fulton County Government Center, 141 Pryor Street, SW, Atlanta.

So that would be next Wednesday, the 20th…  I’ll be there, asking questions.

18 comments

  1. This is normal in most aspects of government employment. It almost takes an act of congress to get rid of bad employees. What is weird is that Trevor is the one posting the story. I thought you were now a proponent of Big Government? Get use to more of this if you are.

    After reading the former CEO of GE, Jack Welch’s book ,Winning, in which he describes one of his personnel managing techniques, the 20-70-10 rule, I heard an interview where he was asked a couple of questions. So you know: the 20-70-10 rule is where, after evaluation, you allocate the majority of a companies resources to your top 10 percent of you employees, the rest to the middle 70 and you let go the bottom 10 percent. Over time, in theory, a company’s human resources become better and better.
    Back to the questions: In the interview he was asked if he could have done something else in his life, what would he have wanted to do if he hadn’t been the CEO of GE? I don’t recall his answer. What I do remember is the answer to the next question. “What would you never do, even if you had the chance?” He said, “Work in management in government.” He said(paraphrasing), “I’ve explained my 20-70-10 rule. Well government takes that and puts it on its end. They constantly cater to the bottom 10%, the middle 70 try to get paid the same or more by doing less to get it and the top 20% get frustrated and leave. Over time the government gets less and less efficient and more and more costly to do the same job.” I can attest, that this is my personal experience as well. And Trevor’s post is a perfect example. There are most definitely good employees in government, but I guarantee, if you asked them, they’ll tell you that they’re frustrated and could do even a better job if it wasn’t for the bureaucracy and the catering to the bad apples in the bunch that constantly make their jobs more difficult.

  2. Rick Day says:

    A friend of mine who recently retired as AFD Captain lamented it was impossible to fire a bad firefighter with all the appeals and almost automatic reinstatement.

    That said, this is too high a profile to reinstate her. Never happen.

    Video killed this Radio Star.

  3. Bill Simon says:

    Blame it on the damn lawyers who, if she HAD been fired before this, would have filed any number of lawsuits against the county:

    1) Gender discrimination
    2) Racial (whether she is black OR white since we do not know what she looks like)
    3) Age discrimination
    4) Etc., etc.

    AND, HAD she been fired before this, Cynthia Tucker would be backing such lawsuits as well.

    No, as tragic a death as this is (and, yes, I DO understand how I would feel if it was my own), perhaps it will wake some people up as to the devil-may-care attitude SOME lawyers have in throwing case after case against society to see which ones stick.

    (See Edwards, John for how he built his wealth)

  4. All good, up to the cheap shot at Cynthia Tucker. Tucker calls BS on incompetence and arrogance as well as anybody, irrespective of race. See: Vernon Jones, the King kids, Cynthia McKinney et al. I know she drives righties crazy, but she deserves credit for being clearheaded on most race-related issues.

  5. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    LAF, ask Erick to place you in the Blog Roll. Just discovered you recently…definitely a good read.

  6. Bill Simon says:

    LAF,

    She doesn’t do it always…and I’ve seen it enough from her to remember how she uses race crap when she wants to.

    It’s like she cannot be “good” all the time so she has to resort to the lazy-way of using race to generate emotions.

  7. Trevor Southerland says:

    Daniel,

    I’m for good government that benefits the citizens, and always have been. In this case the purpose of Fulton County’s government is to provide services to its citizens, and that isn’t happening. It’s obviously time we clean up Fulton County government.

    This issue isn’t a party partisan issue, it’s a common sense issue.

  8. Tea Party says:

    In ancient China the highest honor to a citizen would be selection for government service. The lowest peg on the societal totem, a lawyer or undertaker.

    There is something poetic about that….

    So is this the first volley in the Milton County effort? Afterall we have Donewoody, all the H20 cards are lined up….

    Its about the water.

  9. Chris says:

    In ancient China the highest honor to a citizen would be selection for government service. The lowest peg on the societal totem, a lawyer or undertaker.

    Tea, who would do the selecting?

  10. Tea Party says:

    Valid question Chris Farris. During the Han Dynasty selection for Civil Service was determined by examination.

    From wiki:

    The Qin dynasty ended in 206 BC and there began the Han Dynasty. The Han dynasty was known for being a great period for the Ancient Chinese culture; music, drama and literature flourished during this time. A new system of government emerged during this time, a system of civil servants.

    Every half-year a great test was held at the palace in the capital city the most promising young scholars gathered to take the test that would decide what kind of job they got in the government. The highest scorers were given jobs at the palace itself were as the lowest were sometimes failed or sometimes put in low level jobs at the local level.

    Cheating was punished severely because of the importance placed on these tests. The civil servants that this test place would over see the constructions of roads, canals and schools. The local civil servants would record trade population and decide were crops should be sent and how much to store.

    The position of Civil Servant was coveted. During this period Chinese culture spread throughout Mongolia, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Also during this epoch the Silk Road became a major source of income for the merchant class (the Shang). The end of the Han dynasty came from a peasant rebellion because of corruption in government this led to the Three Kingdoms period.

    Understand me, I am not plugging China, they are a Communist Regime.

    But every SINGLE system of government, thoughout history rose and fell, including China.

    The US is going to share the world stage, according to the CIA, with China in twenty years. CIA is wrong, it will be more like ten.

    The next thirty years are critical.

    We have squandered, IMHO the last thirty years, in terms from creating a viable energy policy to election reform and every other topic in between.

    Our survival on the world stage happens to be a bi-partisan matter.

    Oh yeah, oops, this is about Georgia and Fulton county. I hope Mr. Sutherland is representative of a revolt in FULCO! Perhaps Mr. Sutherland represents an analogy of the Chinese peasants, demanding change!

  11. Tea Party says:

    BTW, anytime anyone gets in trouble they call a good laywer, so my cheap lawyer shot is really tongue in cheek.

  12. This issue isn’t a party partisan issue,
    Trevor,
    You are right, sort of. It is a privatization and accountability issue. Thus the example I gave. So if your (new)party continues to want government to do everything and placate to incompetence… then yes, it is a partisan issue as well.

  13. Trackboy1 says:

    “This is normal in most aspects of government employment. It almost takes an act of congress to get rid of bad employees. ”

    That’s not only false, it’s an oversimplication.
    There are some very well run county gov’t in GA, like Cobb, Gwinnett, and especially Athens-Clarke County, which is best in class. Incompetent employees do get fired in those counties, and even stay fired after appeals.

    Heck, in DeKalb, it’s easy to get fired and stay fired; just cross Vernon Jones:

    http://www.websupp.org/data/NDGA/217066-NDGA.pdf

    http://godekalb.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=138&Itemid=2800

    It’s impossible to fire employees in Fulton because Fulton elected officials and administrators choose to make it impossible.

    Bill Edwards, Nancy Boxill and Emma Darnell run fiefdoms, and hand out jobs like candy. A real state attorney general would have investigated them years ago. Hopefully, one day the Feds will turn their attention to them, and they’ll uncover shady dealing after shady dealing.

    Tom Andrews was a despicable county manager, epitomizing the worst of backroom dealings and displaying a complete lack of ethics and morals.
    He wouldn’t know efficient and productive goveranance if it smacked him in the face.
    He has a sweet, generous lifetime pension by knowing how to work the system simply for his job security and nothing else. The dude is slime.

    Fulton officials (and the same with the City of Atlanta) enable the systems they have in place to make it impossible to fire incompetents.

    Don’t generalize it to all county gov’ts, because it’s not the case everywhere. But in Fulton, it’s a morass of waste, bloat, graft, cronyism, nepotism, etc., etc., etc.

Comments are closed.