BoC to hear report today from panel on illegal immigrants
by Jon Gillooly
February 25, 2014 04:00 AM | 1903 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — A committee created last July to review hiring practices and make sure illegal immigrants are not receiving taxpayer dollars will give its report today to the Cobb Board of Commissioners.

Commissioner Helen Goreham asked for the committee to be formed last year after leading the charge against a proposal by Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell. The Ott/Birrell proposal would have mandated federal agents to review the hiring records of county contractors to determine if employees are legally able to work in the U.S.

The program is called the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, or IMAGE.

In arguing against the proposal, county Chairman Tim Lee said WellStar Health System had informed him it would not enroll in the IMAGE program if the county approved it.

Goreham, Lee and Commissioner Lisa Cupid voted down the proposal in February 2013.

“It is not a mandated program by the federal government, and we would make it a mandated program, and I felt that our existing policies here in the county would be sufficient enough to ensure that we would be issuing contracts with only contracts with legal workers,” Goreham said Monday.

Goreham said Ott and Birrell’s proposal was similar to a business that abides by IRS rules but in addition to filing taxes asks the federal government to audit it.

“I don’t see where it’s our job as a county government to make a voluntary practice a mandatory practice,” Goreham said.

Despite voting down the ordinance, Gorham suggested forming a committee to review the county’s hiring practices and finding recommendations for improvement.

“Let’s review, let’s form a committee made up of some staff in the important departments such as HR and procurement, invite business leaders to sit on the committee, do a review of our present practices and policies and then come back to the board with their findings and see if there’s any areas that we need to improve in or anything we need to tighten up to ensure that we are only issuing contracts to legal workers and legal businesses,” she said.

County spokesman Robert Quigley said the committee, whose members were appointed by county manager David Hankerson, looked at county practices and policy and compared them to current law.

“They found the county was in

compliance but they are bringing forward several recommendations including recommending continuing education for county staff on immigration law, implement a pilot program to audit various county contracts for accuracy on immigration law compliance and to put in place a process to track changes in state-mandated immigration requirements,” Quigley said.

The committee is chaired by County Attorney Mark Adelman. Members include former Cobb Chamber of Commerce Chairman Tony Britton; Don Barbour with AT&T; Cobb Travel & Tourism Chairman Al Martin with Georgia Power; Debbie McGraw with Six Flags; Cobb Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Milton Beck; Tony Hagler, the county’s human resources director; Tom Bailey with Cobb Water System; Chief Assistant District Attorney Don Geary; Bob Galante with the county’s transportation department; Bill Volckmann with the county’s finance department; John Reida, property management director; and Joe Tommie, the county’s purchasing director.

The report will be given at today’s work session, which begins at 1:30 p.m. in the board room, 100 Cherokee St., Marietta.

Today's Meeting

* What: Cobb Board of Commissioners meeting

* When: 1:30 p.m. today

* Where: 100 Cherokee St., Marietta

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