Around Town: Today’s IMAGE vote ... Helen on the Hot Seat
by Bill Kinney & Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
February 26, 2013 01:32 AM | 4147 views | 9 9 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THE CLIMACTIC VOTE on whether Cobb government will require all of its contractors and their sub-contractors to apply for federal IMAGE certification to ensure those they hire are in the country legally is expected to take place at tonight’s meeting of the county Board of Commissioners — and all indications are that it will fail by a 2-3 vote.

Northwest Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham — the former swing vote on the issue who’s now come out against it —continues to be on the political hot seat, and didn’t do much to help herself when she misstated a key detail about the program during the course of her town hall meeting Thursday. As reported in a front-page MDJ story on Saturday, Goreham incorrectly stated not once, but twice, that the program would require all Cobb businesses to take part in the program.

“This ordinance mandates that every business and company in Cobb County becomes IMAGE certified,” she said.

In fact, only the relative few doing business with the county government would be impacted. There’s a big difference.

Goreham’s fumble begs a couple of questions, such as “Does she actually think the proposal would require all county businesses to apply for IMAGE certification”? And “Is she thereby formulating her position based on inaccurate information?”

(Also, in contrast to Goreham’s assertion, those businesses would not have to actually be certified. Rather, they only have to show that they applied to become certified.)

Goreham repeated her inaccuracy in an email replying to a constituent, Jan Barton, who had written the commissioners on Thursday asking them to support the IMAGE ordinance.

“I do not support mandating to all businesses in Cobb the requirement of being IMAGE certified,” replied Goreham in what appears to have been a form-letter response. “The mandate is heavy handed, punitive in nature, ill conceived and an example of government becoming bigger and more intrusive when dealing with private business. It assumes that all businesses are hiring illegals until proven otherwise.”

Marietta-based immigration activist D.A. King responded to Around Town on Monday: “Maybe Goreham considers having to present ID when she boards an airplane, cashes a check or votes as heavy-handed, punitive and a presumption of guilt of some kind.”


GOREHAM also argues that county HR director Tony Hagler has estimated his department has spent 450 man hours self-auditing the county’s I-9 forms preparing its own IMAGE certification application. She says that’s a poor use of taxpayer resources.

Dustin Inman Society head King, who apparently has made getting the commission to pass, not punt, the IMAGE ordinance his top priority, has his own theory about the “450 man hours” argument.

“That is a lot,” he said on Monday. “But that would be because they found and had to remedy so many errors and mistakes before they signed the application to allow the ICE Agents to eventually do an audit or spot check. The self-audit time spent by already-there employees doesn’t cost any employer a dime extra. They would be paying the employees anyway. Maybe someone should ask Cobb for the results of their own self-audit to see why so many man hours were spent getting the records corrected.”


THE IMAGE VOTE has sharply divided the commission, with Chairman Tim Lee (Republican) and newcomer Lisa Cupid (Democrat) lined up on one side with Goreham (R) against passage and east Cobb Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell (both R) strongly in favor.

The program also has the backing of two of Cobb’s top law enforcement officials, Sheriff Neil Warren and D.A. Vic Reynolds. But a number of the county’s bigger employers are said to be lobbying hard against passage of the measure, seeing it as an intrusion and extra red tape.

Yet it appears that Goreham’s side will have the last laugh on IMAGE. As she put it to MDJ reporter Jon Gillooly after her town hall meeting, “If it ain’t broke, why are we trying to fix something that’s not broken?”
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Facebook watcher
March 01, 2013
Somebody has put up a Facebook page: Exposing Helen Goreham. hahahhahaaha
top cat
February 27, 2013
Should we just give up?

Maybe there is no hope left.
Rich Pellegrino
February 26, 2013
It seems that the editors and the writers here are all hell bent on only one thing and that is perpetuating the myths that the IMAGE program does anything new and that undocumented immigrants are taking everyone's or really anyone's jobs. Both are so far from the truth that it makes one wonder about your motives.
February 28, 2013
I would just as soon make it a felony to hire "illegal foreign nationals" with the 2nd offence requiring mandatory jail-time for the employer. That alone would put the brakes on law breakers from entering this country for work.

Closeted socialist masquerading as a do-good-er need not apply.
No seat-HOT or COLD
February 26, 2013
Helen shouldn't even have a HOT seat. Hope voters in Cobb pay attention and vote for a better person to represent them at the next election.
West Cobbb
February 26, 2013
Helen was here telling us that this ordinance applied to ALL businesses in Cobb County! Some people believed her! If Helen votes against saving our tax dollars and our jobs in Cobb County Georgia with a NO vote tonight, that wil be the end of her political dynasty. Helen: WE CAN READ! Can you? Proving legal status of workers on coty jobs is PUNITIVE? Helen. You are not too bright, but even you should be able to come up with a better excuse that that for being in th epocket of the business lobby. Good-bye Helen!
February 28, 2013
Is this issue strongly felt enough to motivate her district voters to push for a recall?
Devlin Adams
February 26, 2013
The probelm is that Goreham is out there shooting off her mouth about something that she obviously does not even remotely understand. However, that is nothing new for her.

The question is, why has the MDJ afforded her so much front page coverage, many times with pictures, to parade her ignorance in front of Cobb County?

It would have been nice if the other side had been given the same free advertising.

Would that the editorial/opinion page were the front page of the paper.
February 26, 2013
Thank you, Around Town, for reporting on something that's been mystifying me. Has Helen been mis-speaking on her facts (ALL businesses must comply) or is she intentionally trying to mislead people on this very complicated matter?

Ms. Cupid, we know Tim Lee understands this, as he already voted on it and the chamber tuxedoes have explained it to him, but if you have ANY question in your mind how IMAGE works, don't you owe it to your unemployed constituents to do your homework and find out. Don't listen to Ms. Goreham on this. You are getting started on the wrong foot if you vote against this valuable tool for keeping citizens' jobs and following the law.

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