The Fulton County Board of Tax Assessors’ members won’t have county email addresses beside their names anytime soon, much to the chagrin of some county commissioners.
“To provide this means of access to the board of assessors by citizens would prevent delays in responses to our citizens in the future,” said Fulton Commissioner and Vice Chair Bob Ellis, one of the commissioners who pushed for the initiative.
But at its meeting April 11 at the county government complex in downtown Atlanta, the Fulton Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 to deny a resolution requiring members of the board of assessors increase their accessibility to the public through the use and publication of county email addresses.
Commissioners Robb Pitts (chair), Marvin Arrington Jr., Natalie Hall and Emma Darnell each voted no and Commissioners Lee Morris, Liz Hausmann and Ellis voted yes.
Hall told the commission if one looked at the board of tax assessors’ website, it clearly states these are Fulton residents and not county employees.
“Being that they are residents and not employees, why would we put these board members in a position in which we currently have county employees who are paid to take care of calls to the board of tax assessors?” she asked.
Ellis countered that providing county email addresses to the board would have a significant impact for residents. He reminded commissioners that members of the board of tax assessors are paid $18,000 annually, “so their service on the board is not a volunteer position.”
“I don’t think that any of us on the commission would want our emails censored or monitored by our county management team,” he said. “We want to see our emails raw so we could best do our jobs, and the same should hold true for the tax assessors group as well.”
Darnell said the commission should be careful about getting into resolutions regarding county boards or agencies.
Arrington, who called the resolution “ludicrous,” said the board of tax assessors voted not to have county email addresses.
However, Ellis said board members only had questions about having county email addresses made public and that there was no actual vote taken regarding the issue.