Cobb’s ‘IMAGE’: Decision puts county’s reputation, jobs on the line
January 09, 2013 12:00 AM | 3309 views | 11 11 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Should Cobb County’s government hire contractors who employ illegal aliens? The answer to that question is a no-brainer for most local residents — but not, apparently, to two members of the five-person Cobb Board of Commissioners.

The good news is that a narrow majority of that board now appears to favor requiring all contractors and subcontractors who do business with the county to apply for federal IMAGE certification. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers program, or IMAGE, would require such contractors to submit to a federal audit and inspection of their employment procedures. Then, if no problems are found, there would be no further audits for two years.

Use of IMAGE would go hand-in-hand with the E-Verify system, which is used to check the immigration status of newly hired employees.

Cobb County applied for and signed an agreement to become IMAGE-certified by the feds last spring, meaning the county as an employer uses E-Verify and has completed an internal audit of past hiring records and has taken the required steps to avoid legal actions resulting from unauthorized employment. At the time it was only the tenth community in the country to be certified.

The changes to the county’s code now being considered would require the contractors the county hires to swear on an affidavit that they have a valid application pending with ICE to become IMAGE-compliant, and that they will complete the IMAGE certification process to be able to bid on contracts. As we said above, approval of those changes should be a no-brainer for Cobb’s commissioners.

But unfortunately, it’s not.

For starters, the initial draft of the revamped ordinance prepared by the county development director did not even mention the word “IMAGE” and merely restated the federal and state law. That prompted east Cobb Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell, who had been pressing for the IMAGE program, to ask for a redrafting of the proposal. The latest wording makes clear that contractors and subcontractors would have to provide an affidavit saying that they have submitted an application for the IMAGE program and intend to comply with the program’s requirements. False swearing on such an affidavit is a felony under state law, and contractors who do so could be barred from bidding on a county contract for 12 months.

West Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham on Tuesday indicated she favors the stronger wording as well.

Unfortunately, Commission Chairman Tim Lee and new southwest Cobb Commissioner Lisa Cupid are still on the sidelines. Cupid said Tuesday she is “researching” the issue, while Lee said last week he is wary of unintended consequences of the program, such as its cost of implementation or the possibility that enacting the program would give the county a reputation as being “uncompetitive for new business.”

If we’re talking about “reputations,” wouldn’t it be preferable that Cobb be known as a place where people don’t have to worry about losing jobs to illegal aliens hired at below-market wages by unscrupulous contractors and greedy businessmen? Does Cobb want a reputation as a haven for law-breakers and for employers who thumb their nose at the law? And if the county government thinks it’s OK for its contractors and business people to ignore the law and hire illegals without penalty, to what other laws might the county be prepared to turn a blind eye?

The Cobb Commission held a hearing on the IMAGE program on Tuesday and has another slated for Feb. 26.

Commissioner Ott said it best the other day: “The (IMAGE) program is a step in the right direction to making sure that the people that are entitled to work are the ones that get the jobs,” he told the MDJ. “This is not about deportation. This is not about forcing people to leave the country. This is simply about making sure that the jobs that are available in the county go to the people that are legal — nothing more and nothing less.”

It is absurd for the county government to be IMAGE-certified, but not to require IMAGE certification of those with whom it does business. That’s clear to most Cobb residents already — and we hope it soon will be clear to the entire Cobb Commission.

Comments
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Marie in Marietta
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January 14, 2013
I am guessing that Russ Wood plans on runing for office here soon. Amusing here on or street that he wants to argue imigration with D.A. King. hahahaha!
NotRuss Wood
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January 11, 2013
$Tim Lee$ was an IMAGE booster BEFORE the primary- and he already signed an IMAGE agreemnt with ICE. Even Obama supports the IMAGE system!

From the MDJ report when $Tim Lee$ signed the agreement with ICE on IMAGE last year: "Lee said the IMAGE agreement will help prevent possible terrorist attacks and protect employees against discrimination based upon citizenship or natural origin.”

“The message, if there is one, is that Cobb County takes its responsibility very seriously to make sure that everything possibly that could be done is being done to make sure the laws are being followed in our county, and to make sure there’s an opportunity for equal employment for those that deserve it,” Lee said after the meeting.

Come on Russ Wood. You need to go get more talking points from $Tim Lee$/Chamber/Rich Pellegrino/Jerry Gonzalez to use in your transparent effort to stop immigratin enforcement and to back up your buddy $Tim Lee$ here.

Jobs for your neighbors be damned.

Peeeeeeeuuuuuuewwww, Russ Wood. IMAGE save jobs.
Russ Wood
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January 13, 2013
Dear NotRussWood,

If you search the MDJ website, you'll see other comments and letters of mine. I've been a critic of Chairman Lee on several occaisions. I am not a member of the Chamber or the Latino groups you refer to.

I am simply a conservative who thinks adding to the size and scope of government will work just as poorly on immigration control as it does on everything else. The only impact will be impose costs on the legal citizens of Cobb, without stopping the flow of undocumented workers.
NotRussWood
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January 14, 2013
Becoming IMAGE certified is free. IMAGE exposes false documents used by illegal aliens when they were hired. How does that not stop the employment of illegal aliens? You are clueless on this and are not afraid to show it.

Suggest actual research. King knows what he talks about. You don't. So - was Tim Lee wrong before - or now?
Russ Wood
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January 10, 2013
Commissioner Lee is correct to be concerned about unintended consequences. This program is a bureaucratic mess. It won't stop illegals but it will impose costs on law abiding citizens.

I long for the days when the people of Cobb were conservative and rightly suspicious of every new bureaucracy to come along.
the MDJ
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January 10, 2013
should start putting the name of whomever wrote their news stories on every post on this site.

I think it must be a slow news day when a story is spun based on the fact that Tim Lee and Lisa Cupid have said they are going to look at the IMAGE program and all of the effects it has either pro or con and then make an educated decision.

Robert Johnson
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January 11, 2013
Dear genius posting as "the MDJ" - please note that all news stories are clearly labeled with the name of the reporter.

Dear genius, please note that this is an OP-ED, an opinion piece that was offered as the oficial opinion and position of the Marietta Daily Journal newspaper.

Tim Lee has already "looked" at the free IMAGE program and pronounced it a way to save jobs for citizens. He is backing away now on orders from the real Cobb bosses - the Chamber of Commerce and the contractors lobby. They are terrified of having to pay legal workers a loiving wage.And Lee is siding with that creepy Jerry Gonzalez who is an open borders hate-nut
James Stillon
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January 10, 2013
After he did the image signing himself it will be curtains for Tim Lee if he folds in public to the Chamber of Commerce. Come to think of it, that may be a good deal.
Robert Johnson
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January 10, 2013
D.A. King has alot of IMAGE info on his MDJ blog - straight from the ICE website. This must drive Tim Lee crazy. Sure makes sense to me!
Marie in Marietta
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January 10, 2013
Actually, DA says the next meeting on this is on Tuesday, January 22 at 7:00 PM at the Cobb Government Building on the square. I checked and that is right. I hope a lot of people will turn out to stand up to Tim Lee and in favor of using IMAGE to make contractors stop using illegals to build our courthouses and schools. If they casn't get a job, maybe they will leave!

Not Gomer Gump
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January 10, 2013
The MDJ has picked a side. The side of the American people. Thank you MDJ!!!

Now Tim Lee and Lisa Cupid must do the same. Tim, I can't wait to hear your (Chamber supplied)reasoning for not using a free tool to save tax dollars from going to the illegal aliens that are crawling all over us, our county and our budget.

This is doubly funny because Tim has already yakked it up last year about how he was concerned about jobs when he signed the same agreement for IMAGE for the county. Let's remember: Tim Lee promised to do this when Bill Byrne endorsed IMAGE before the GOP primary in July.

Tim, you aren't fooling anyone. We can still see the video on the County website from that night when you signed the IMAGE papers. It has sound too Tim.

Tim, I dare you to stay on crazy Rich Pellegrino's side. Maybe you can get Jerry Gonzalez to come speak for you?

Lisa Cupid- you are new, but not blind. Please help us get a job? Please help us stop ID fraud?
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