9/2/14 Fulton County Expenses

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Georgia’s Fulton County government has a process by which employees are reimbursed for legitimate expenses incurred while on the job.

Employees must complete this claim form.   And attach an itemized receipt.  This is standard practice for most any public organization or private business.

Earlier this year, the Georgia legislature gave the Fulton County chief judge oversight over the court budget.  Superior Court Chief Judge Gail Tusan has interpreted this to mean that county judges no longer have to provide documentation of their expenses.  They merely demand reimbursement.  And get paid.

However, County Manager Dwight Ferrell and Finance Director Patrick O’Connor have insisted they must follow protocol and get proper documentation before they’re allowed to cut a check.

So Judge Tusan threatened to jail the two officials if they didn’t reimburse the judges.

What kind of expenses are they fighting over?  Here’s one example.  Judge Constance Russell has demanded nearly $2,000 to cover her travel, lodging and other expenses associated with attending a conference of the Georgia State Bar. The meeting took place at the Omni Plantation Resort on Amelia Island.

Amelia Island is known for its lavish hotels and seven golf courses.  Most Georgians would probably consider it more of a luxury getaway and less of a demanding work assignment.

And get this.  Amelia Island isn’t even in Georgia.  It’s in Florida.

[Update: Fulton County officials and Chief Judge Gail Tusan reached an agreement on September 2nd in which judges will follow the same reimbursement review process as all other county employees through the end of 2014. County officials will consider changes for processing claims submitted by judges for 2015.]

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