Michael Thompson, WND
The push for local governance and greater control of tax revenue in communities in the northern suburbs of Fulton County, Ga., has a moniker: “Taxation without representation.”
This is how Phil Kent, co-host of the “The Georgia Gang” program on WAGA-TV in Atlanta, describes what’s happening in the Fulton County government.
“Tax revenue is being, let’s call it what it is, confiscated from the North Fulton suburbs and redistributed to pay for services in other areas of the county, which—for decades—has left large sections of the county without services and infrastructure capital,” Kent said. “People are frustrated with the status quo.”
As a result of the unsavory politics in urban Atlanta, northern suburban communities have acted to distance themselves. Beginning in 2005, many communities began the process of incorporating into cities.
Thus far, Milton, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Chattahoochee Hills and Johns Creek have done so.
“All too many areas of Fulton County, Clayton and DeKalb County are slipping into Third World status through governance and people are trying to find a better alternative and a better solution to the problems,” said Kent.
Critics have charged that the push for the creation of incorporated cities in North Fulton—and even the attempt to secede from Fulton County and create a new county—is tied to race.
Kent said North Fulton County “hasn’t been properly represented for over 30 years, but it’s their tax revenue that has been supporting the whole county.”
There has been a drive to create a new county, but what will likely happen is a reconfiguration of how the county commission is selected, he said. The move would allow greater North Fulton participation and a voice in how a quarter of billion dollars in tax funds are distributed.
WND has acquired the racial breakdown of public employees of Fulton County, the city of Atlanta and the transportation system MARTA, and they illustrate a pattern of racial hiring.
According to the 2010 census, Fulton County is 47.5-percent white and 40-percent black, however, a review of the 2012 employment records for Fulton County found that of the 4,851 full-time county employees, 3,980 are black (82 percent). Of the 916 county employees who are classified as “other than full-time employees,” 787 are black (85 percent).
A quick breakdown of certain departments shows a trend of exclusion in Fulton County public jobs, with 86 percent of the arts and culture department personnel black; 93 percent of 140 people in the behavioral health department black; 81 percent of the 98 people in the county managers department black; 90 percent of the 65 people in the emergency services black; 89 percent of the 118 in the finance department black. Of the 353 in the health and wellness department, 306 are black; of the 37 people in the purchasing department, 100 percent are black; of the 19 in the registrations and elections department, 100 percent are black; of the 150 employed in the tax assessor department, 84 percent are black; of the 185 employed in the tax commissioner department, 94 percent are black.
For the city of Atlanta, a city that is 54 percent black and 36 percent white, government employment resembled that of Fulton County.
Of 8,616 employees, 6,466 (74.8 percent) were black, while 1,884 (21.9 percent) of the positions were filled by whites. In the Department of Corrections, of 335 positions, 95 percent were filled by blacks; the department of human resources has 154 positions, 94 percent going to blacks; the department of information technology is 79 percent black; finance is 86 percent black (177 positions); procurement is 100 percent black (40 positions); public works, 822 jobs, is 96.8 percent black; watershed management (1,686 jobs) is 80 percent black; the executive department is 73 percent black; parks and community development is 69 percent black; the ethics/citizen review board is 83 percent black; judicial agencies are 78.9 percent black; public defender agencies is 70 percent black; of 292 jobs in the department of parks, recreation and cultural affairs, 88 percent are black; and the solicitors office is 84 percent black (45 positions).
MARTA, which is funded via tax revenue collected from Fulton and DeKalb counties, has a work force of 4,527 employees, of which 83 percent are black.
“The push for North Fulton County cities’ incorporation is not racially motivated, but when you see the jobs data, you wonder if the allocation of public money in Atlanta, for jobs at MARTA and Fulton County has been racially motivated in a way we aren’t supposed to notice,” Kent said.