Now that Commission Chairman Tim Lee has been re-elected, he can drop all the facades. Lee obviously hasn’t forgotten how Chamber lobbyists were “saving” a job for him in case of his defeat, because in the first real controversy of 2013 he’s decided to reverse a pre-election commitment to use a crucial, no-cost federal tool that would weed out county contractors who profit from an illegal labor force.
Chamber members won’t answer reporter Jon Gillooly’s specific questions about IMAGE, the program in question, but it’s obvious they want to turn a blind eye to black market labor, as larger chambers historically have.
Recent public explanations for why Lee no longer supports the IMAGE program are incredibly weak, especially after he previously characterized it as such a win-win, protecting jobs and ensuring security from terrorists, no less. Lee heralded IMAGE with great fanfare before reporters during his campaign, but now ... ehhh … gee, not so sure. And the sudden lack of backbone seems contagious, as Northwest Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham seems also on the verge of nullifying her own previous vote.
Will commissioners ensure more jobs for Cobb’s law abiding citizens by supporting legal hiring and contracting practices? We were promised they would and many of us voted for them because of their firm stand on immigration laws. We also believed commissioners were against identity theft, gang violence, drug wars and the other ills that exist in counties where black market labor is the rule, not the exception.
One must ask: Does Cobb really want to become Gwinnett? Who do the commissioners work for, us or the Chamber bigwigs? How much rubbing elbows with lobbyists at the Chamber is too much?
The chairman has already shown he’ll capitulate to lobbyists on this and other issues. We’ll soon see if the undecided members, Goreham and newcomer Cupid, will have courage to be their own women, and do the right thing.