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County Asks for Investigation of Commissioner
Thursday, 12 February 2009

February 12--  Toombs County Commissioners are asking the District Attorney to investigate alleged salary overpayments made to a county commissioner.

Last November Toombs County manager Doug Eaves reported Commissioner Roy Lee Williams, who was the Commission's Vice Chairman, overpaid himself in September and October.  He paid himself $5,444.16 each month, the same salary drawn by Commission Chairman Charles Rustin who was ill during that period.  Officials say William's salary should have been $733.52 for each of those months. Eaves also reported some similar overpayments for four months back in 2003 and an unexplained $2,300 payroll check to Williams in March of last year.

At their February meeting Tuesday, the Commission passed a motion requested by Chairman Buddy West that District Attorney Hayward Altman be asked to investigate the overpayments.

"It was a situation that I and this Commission inherited from last year.  It's something that has been on the front burner for some time.  I asked the county manager and the county attorney to investigate it from a legal standpoint, and I just felt like we had to move on it for the citizens of Toombs County to know how their money is being spent.  We're looking at transparency.  I want to have transparency with all county government," West said.

Chairman West reports he talked with Commissioner Williams about resolving the issue.  West said Williams issued a challenge for the Commission to determine the legalities of the payments.  

Commissioner Williams was not present at Tuesday's meeting.

Chairman West's Statement to County Commission

"Sometimes it is difficult for public officials to recognize an ethical dilemma when it presents itself. Even more difficult is having to determine how to handle such issues.

Since becoming Chairman of this Commission, I have had numerous issues to be raised, but the most constant issue which continues to be asked by the citizens of Toombs County involves the payment of the Chairman's salary to Commissioner Roy Lee Williams while former Chairman Charles Rustin was in office. On an individual basis, all of the present members of this Commission except for Commissioner Williams have expressed to me, their constituents are continuing to inquire about such issue. I have asked the county attorney and manager to investigate the authority under which the payments were made to Commissioner Williams. Neither has found any authority in the legislation creating this Commission nor in the minutes of the meetings of this Commission.

I have talked with Commissioner Williams about this issue in hopes of finding a way to publicly resolve the same. Commissioner Williams' response was to issue a challenge to establish the legalities of the payments. As a result of Commissioner Williams' challenge, I think it is necessary for this Commission to pass a motion or resolution to instruct the county attorney with the assistance of the county manager to gather the necessary information and documentation for the purpose of the county attorney submitting such information and documentation to the District Attorney of the Middle Judicial Circuit for an investigation and hopefully the resolution of this issue."






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