Home / Opinion / Final Communication With Forsyth County Commission Regarding Appointment of Joel Natt to Board of Elections

Final Communication With Forsyth County Commission Regarding Appointment of Joel Natt to Board of Elections

Stakes are High — Natt Sched­uled to Swear-in Tues­day Morning

As I first brought it to your atten­tion in my June Sub­stack, Kem­p’s Pri­vate Polit­i­cal Par­ty Makes Its First Move, there appears a con­cert­ed effort across Geor­gia, orches­trat­ed by Geor­gia Gov­er­nor Bri­an Kemp and his cho­sen oper­a­tors, to con­trol strate­gic coun­ty boards of elec­tions seats. Con­trol­ling those seats is how the Geor­gia “uni­par­ty,” head­ed by Bri­an Kemp, out­num­bered many times by true, grass­roots Repub­li­cans, appar­ent­ly hopes to “wag the dog” and hold onto polit­i­cal pow­er with­out the actu­al votes to do so. The idea is this: If one can cen­tral­ize, and thus con­trol the count­ing of votes, which Sec­re­tary of State Bri­an Kemp accom­plished in 2017 (just in time to become elect­ed gov­er­nor), and if you can con­trol local pol­i­cy-mak­ing toward reg­is­tra­tions and vote-count­ing on elec­tion boards in key coun­ties, such as Chero­kee, Ful­ton and now Forsyth and oth­ers, and if you can raise enough pri­vate fund­ing, the unpop­u­lar Kemp “uni­par­ty” believes it can main­tain polit­i­cal con­trol over the state. 

In 2017, as he pre­pared to leave office and run for gov­er­nor, Bri­an Kemp cen­tral­ized vote tal­ly­ing under his respon­si­bil­i­ty as Sec­re­tary of State

But the Geor­gia “uni­par­ty,” as I call it, head­ed by Bri­an Kemp, is not a “polit­i­cal par­ty,” per se. Think of it as an unof­fi­cial, but well-financed and effec­tive “polit­i­cal POWER asso­ci­a­tion.” Per­haps you have picked up on this, that what Kemp and his cohorts care about most, is polit­i­cal pow­er. They are not con­ser­v­a­tive. They are not lib­er­al. Although they choose a par­ty affil­i­a­tion to get on bal­lots, they are effec­tive­ly nei­ther Repub­li­can nor Demo­c­rat. They are pow­er wield­ers and bro­kers and by using decep­tive prac­tices they are bent on doing all that they can to build and main­tain polit­i­cal pow­er in Geor­gia, and they are very good at it. 

Elec­tion Board Mem­bers get to decide when and if vot­er chal­lenges are heard. Joel Natt vot­ed against inves­ti­gat­ing these vot­er names
One way the uni­par­ty builds and main­tains polit­i­cal pow­er is by using its inti­mate­ly knowl­edge of the polit­i­cal sys­tem. They are way out in front of the rank-and-file par­ty mem­bers in polit­i­cal aware­ness, plan­ning lit­er­al­ly years in advance of the knowl­edge of rou­tine mem­bers of local Repub­li­can Par­ties, includ­ing their unsus­pect­ing officers. 

Uni­par­ty oper­a­tors use their knowl­edge to estab­lish an air of suprema­cy over local Repub­li­can Par­ty rules and par­lia­men­tary pro­ce­dures. They become the “knowl­edge author­i­ties” of the local par­ty. The rank and file mem­bers look to them on how the rules and par­lia­men­tary pro­ce­dures are sup­posed to work. Hav­ing estab­lished trust among the par­ty faith­ful, they become the “go to guys” on par­lia­men­tary ques­tions and elec­tion law, mak­ing it easy to manip­u­late out­comes to accom­plish var­i­ous per­son­al objectives. 

One way of estab­lish­ing con­trol over par­ty rules and pro­ce­dures, for exam­ple, is to become the rules com­mit­tee chair­per­son and coun­ty par­ty par­lia­men­tar­i­an. Par­ty rank and file mem­bers have fam­i­lies and jobs, and rarely desire the addi­tion­al respon­si­bil­i­ties those offices require because they do take time and effort, with­out pay, and there are many oth­er press­ing mat­ters to occu­py one’s lim­it­ed time. In short, it is pret­ty easy to be vot­ed into a job no one else wants. Once in posi­tion, how­ev­er, because, appar­ent­ly, no one among the faith­ful knows any bet­ter, an aggres­sive rules chair­man and par­lia­men­tar­i­an can manip­u­late per­cep­tions of par­ty rules and pro­ce­dures in the minds of the par­ty mem­ber­ship to accom­plish prac­ti­cal­ly any­thing he or she wants, includ­ing being per­son­al­ly nom­i­nat­ed and appoint­ed to strate­gic and pow­er­ful local gov­ern­ment boards. And, appar­ent­ly, what I describe is how Joel Natt became a mem­ber of the pow­er­ful Forsyth Coun­ty Reg­is­tra­tions and Elec­tions Board (BRE).

“Say what you want,” recent­ly wrote one for­mer Forsyth Coun­ty Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair­man, “but the way the [Natt] appoint­ment was made is the way it has been done as long as I have been involved with the Forsyth Coun­ty Repub­li­can Par­ty.” Informed that those appoint­ments were not law­ful, when asked to spec­i­fy the nom­i­na­tions he made with­out par­ty approval to the board of com­mis­sion­ers dur­ing his tenure, becom­ing indig­nant, the for­mer GOP chair proud­ly dou­bling down, “I nev­er did any­thing with­out the author­i­ty of the EC (Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee) or CC (Coun­ty Com­mit­tee), as the case may have war­rant­ed. I do not recall a “vote” being tak­en but rather the EC (Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee) had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to object. I con­sid­ered it an approval by accla­ma­tion as is permitted.” 

But the law does not per­mit “approval by accla­ma­tion” of the “Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee” com­prised of 6 office hold­ers. The law requires an affirm­ing vote of the “coun­ty exec­u­tive com­mit­tee” com­prised of approx­i­mate­ly 35 mem­bers, those 6 office hold­ers PLUS as many as 29 precinct chairs, as the par­ty is present­ly con­fig­ured. The indi­vid­ual to whom I attribute those remarks, is the one who appoint­ed Natt to the BRE in 2019, proud­ly admit­ting on social media he took the vote of no one. Assum­ing he is truth­ful in those com­ments, it appears Joel Natt has been unlaw­ful­ly occu­py­ing the same BRE seat he is sched­uled to swear to accept Tues­day, for the last 4 years!

So now we get to see how Forsyth Coun­ty Repub­li­can Rules Com­mit­tee Chair­man and Par­lia­men­tar­i­an, Joel Natt, appar­ent­ly plant­ed him­self on the Forsyth Coun­ty Board of Reg­is­tra­tions and Elec­tions (BRE) in the first place. He knew the rules and legal pro­ce­dures regard­ing that appoint­ment, when evi­dent­ly no one else did. As report­ed to me by Repub­li­can mem­bers dur­ing this time, Natt indoc­tri­nat­ed the minds of local Repub­li­can exec­u­tive office hold­ers with dis­tort­ed per­cep­tions of those rules and pro­ce­dures, twist­ed to favor cer­tain polit­i­cal out­comes, cre­at­ing, for exam­ple, a pre­vail­ing impres­sion that only one per­son, the coun­ty par­ty chair­man, a friend who could be trust­ed, pos­sessed pow­er to uni­lat­er­al­ly nom­i­nate mem­bers to that pow­er­ful board, and that no one else had any say what­so­ev­er in who would sit on it. Boil­ing it down very sim­ply, plant­i­ng ref­er­ences of this dis­tort­ed real­i­ty into the minds of key indi­vid­u­als, well in advance of an impend­ing nom­i­na­tion, and even intim­i­dat­ing, from time to time, those in posi­tion to ques­tion his inter­pre­ta­tions of the rules and pro­ce­dures, in the end, Natt received the uni­lat­er­al nom­i­na­tion from his friends, the par­ty chair­per­sons, at least twice, result­ing in the sub­se­quent, now suc­ces­sive, appoint­ments he desired. 

This is how pol­i­tics works. This is how elec­tions get stolen. This is why good peo­ple must step out of their com­fort zones and get involved. 

And don’t count on your com­mis­sion­ers to fol­low the law any bet­ter than those for­mer par­ty chairs or the nom­i­nee, the good ole boys and girls on the com­mis­sion “rub­ber stamp­ing” what­ev­er a par­ty chair, or even some­one who pur­ports to be a par­ty chair, sends them. It’s just too sim­ple to pull the wool on good peo­ple. Too many times, good peo­ple seem to think every­one one else is “good peo­ple,” too, nev­er imag­in­ing that any­one would have ulte­ri­or motives. 

And it almost worked with­out a hitch. The Geor­gia uni­par­ty in the per­son of Mr. Natt almost took the seat open­ing Sep­tem­ber 1 on the Forsyth Coun­ty BRE with­out a fight. But then some­body actu­al­ly looked up the law. The law does not say what the coun­ty Repub­li­can par­lia­men­tar­i­an led every­one to believe at all. Accord­ing to the Forsyth Coun­ty Code, Arti­cle III, Sec­tion 2, which mir­rors state law, an entire coun­ty­wide com­mit­tee of Repub­li­cans must vote to rat­i­fy a nom­i­nee before the chair­per­son can ten­der it to the board of com­mis­sion­ers for appoint­ment. And impor­tant­ly, accord­ing to Arti­cle III, Sec­tion 4, the com­mis­sion can­not sim­ply “rub­ber stamp” a par­ty nom­i­na­tion “like they’ve always done.” Instead, the law requires the com­mis­sion to CERTIFY the nom­i­nee is “duly appoint­ed as pro­vid­ed in the Act,” mean­ing he or she was appoint­ed exact­ly as accord­ing to the pro­ce­dures of Arti­cle III, Sec­tion 2, a require­ment the com­mis­sion­ers keep play­ing play­ing too dumb to under­stand. In my let­ter below, I explain it such that a 3rd grad­er can comprehend. 

In the present case of Mr. Natt’s appar­ent unlaw­ful appoint­ment, the coun­ty com­mis­sion did what it usu­al­ly does, “rub­ber stamp­ing” it a full six months pri­or to the end of the present term of Mr. Natt, pre­vi­ous­ly appoint­ed unlaw­ful­ly 4 years ago accord­ing to his friend. But when the new coun­ty Repub­li­can chair point­ed out that the Natt “uni­par­ty” nom­i­na­tion did not fol­low the law, and was there­fore unlaw­ful and void, the com­mis­sion mem­bers effec­tive­ly said, “not our prob­lem” nev­er mov­ing an inch to cor­rect the error since learn­ing about it in May, nev­er mov­ing to restore the rule of law, and appoint a tru­ly law­ful nominee. 

This Tues­day, despite the best efforts of many local patri­ots, two-time Manchuri­an can­di­date Joel Natt is sched­uled to swear in to suc­ceed him­self as the next Forsyth Coun­ty BRE mem­ber, hav­ing nev­er been nom­i­nat­ed accord­ing to the law in two terms, hav­ing instead effec­tive­ly fun­neled his nom­i­na­tion to the Forsyth Coun­ty Board of Com­mis­sion­ers via two now for­mer Repub­li­can chair­men, friends who would soon to be out the door of par­ty pol­i­tics, leav­ing the residue of taint­ed, unlaw­ful appoint­ments to haunt the peo­ple of Forsyth Coun­ty for four more years. 

Because we are near­ing the end of this phase of the strug­gle for law­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the Forsyth Coun­ty Board of Reg­is­tra­tions and Elec­tions, yes­ter­day morn­ing, Sep­tem­ber 3, I sent the fol­low­ing let­ter to each mem­ber of the Forsyth Coun­ty Com­mis­sion via email : 

Dear Com­mis­sion­ers,

When we last com­mu­ni­cat­ed, it was August 3rd, one month ago. At that time I asked you to pro­vide a response to my legit­i­mate con­cerns regard­ing the appar­ent unlaw­ful appoint­ment of Mr. Joel Natt to Forsyth Coun­ty Board of Reg­is­tra­tions and Elec­tions (BRE). To date I have received no response, and you have also failed to respond to the ques­tions offered by the Forsyth Coun­ty News. So, in case you sim­ply for­got, to refresh your mem­o­ries, I and many oth­ers con­tend the Joel Natt BRE appoint­ment was unlaw­ful because nei­ther the pre­vi­ous Chair­man of the Forsyth Coun­ty Repub­li­can Par­ty, nor the mem­bers of the Forsyth Coun­ty Com­mis­sion, ful­filled their law­ful­ly-pre­scribed duties under Forsyth Coun­ty Code Arti­cle III, Sec­tions 2 and 4, which as you know is state law. It was the Repub­li­can Par­ty Chairman’s respon­si­bil­i­ty to take the appro­pri­ate vote as the law requires (I will offer more on that below), and it was YOUR respon­si­bil­i­ty to CERTIFY that the law was fol­lowed, mean­ing the entire law regard­ing the appoint­ment of BRE mem­bers. There is no get­ting around that. 

What it means to “CERTIFY”

Because you stub­born­ly refuse to acknowl­edge what it means to “CERTIFY,” appar­ent­ly it falls on me to help you to under­stand. Con­sult­ing Black’s Law Dic­tio­nary, to CERTIFY means is “to author­i­ta­tive­ly con­firm as being gen­uine or true as rep­re­sent­ed, or com­ply or meet spec­i­fied require­ments or stan­dards.” Thus, when the coun­ty com­mis­sion CERTIFIES that Joel Natt has been “appoint­ed as pro­vid­ed by the Act,” the board “author­i­ta­tive­ly con­firms as true” that Mr. Natt’s appoint­ment “com­plies with the spec­i­fied require­ments,” as those spec­i­fied require­ments are described in Forsyth Coun­ty Code Arti­cle III, Sec­tion 2 below. To help under­stand what that means, I will pro­vide an exam­ple. Please study this label:

The man­u­fac­tur­er of this diesel exhaust flu­id CERTIFIES that its prod­uct COMPLIES WITH THE ISO 22241 STANDARD. As Black’s Law Dic­tio­nary tells us, to CERTIFY means “to author­i­ta­tive­ly con­firm as being gen­uine or true as rep­re­sent­ed, or com­ply or meet spec­i­fied require­ments or stan­dards.” Thus, if the flu­id from a manufacturer’s con­tain­er, leav­ing the fac­to­ry bear­ing this label, is a sub­stance OTHER THAN diesel exhaust flu­id ISO 22241, the exhaust sys­tem of any engine in which it is used could suf­fer heavy dam­age. That means the exhaust flu­id man­u­fac­tur­er found neg­li­gent, hav­ing false­ly or mis­tak­en­ly CERTIFIED that the flu­id in the con­tain­er is what the label says it is, could be held liable to pay for those dam­ages. You with me? Because it is CERTIFIED ISO 22241, that cer­ti­fi­ca­tion cre­ates a legal foun­da­tion for diesel engine oper­a­tors or oth­er inter­est­ed par­ties to depend that the flu­id behind the label is suf­fi­cient to its stat­ed pur­pose and safe to use in diesel engines. 

Now, would you ever imag­ine a case in which this man­u­fac­tur­er of diesel exhaust flu­id would bypass a depend­able cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process and sim­ply “rub­ber stamp” that its prod­uct, used in mil­lions of diesel engines world­wide, com­plies with ISO 22241 stan­dards? Know­ing the poten­tial dam­age it could cause oth­er­wise, would you not expect this man­u­fac­tur­er to always exer­cise an appro­pri­ate lev­el of dili­gence to make sure its prod­uct com­plies with those stan­dards? We all know the answer to that ques­tion. Still, the law does not tell the man­u­fac­tur­er how to go about CERTIFYING its prod­uct meets those stan­dards. In fact, the man­u­fac­tur­er does not have to do any­thing at all if it choos­es not to, which would be fine as long as the flu­id in the con­tain­er actu­al­ly is the flu­id as CERTIFIED on the label and caus­es no dam­age to the end users’ prop­er­ty. Sim­i­lar­ly, when the Forsyth Coun­ty Board of Com­mis­sion­ers CERTIFIED that Joel Natt was “duly appoint­ed as pro­vid­ed in the Act,” as long as that law­ful require­ment might be true, no dam­ages might result. And, just as before, no one can require the BOC do any­thing it does not want to do. BUT, as soon as it turns out Mr. Natt was NOT “duly appoint­ed as pro­vid­ed in the Act,” hav­ing been CERTIFIED that he was by the coun­ty com­mis­sion, just like the diesel exhaust flu­id man­u­fac­tur­er who per­forms no due dili­gence to CERTIFY its prod­uct, and the prod­uct turns out faulty and dam­ages engines of its users, both the BOC and the man­u­fac­tur­er could be liable for resul­tant dam­ages. And that is where we stand at this moment. When the statute says the board of com­mis­sion­ers has a respon­si­bil­i­ty to CERTIFY the law was fol­lowed, it means that it is the board’s respon­si­bil­i­ty to take WHATEVER MEASURES ARE SUFFICIENT to sat­is­fy itself that the law was fol­lowed, know­ing that if the com­mis­sion makes a mis­take, mean­ing as things turn out the law was not fol­lowed, the coun­ty and per­haps even the com­mis­sion mem­bers them­selves, shown neg­li­gent, could be liable for dam­ages. The law does not spell out how you CERTIFY, only that you MUST CERTIFY. You have to decide the process to do that for yourselves.

Because nei­ther the mem­bers of the BOC, nor the coun­ty attor­ney, will seem­ing­ly acknowl­edge under­stand­ing the basic prin­ci­ple above, writ­ten in plain Eng­lish in the law, and acknowl­edge their law­ful respon­si­bil­i­ties in appoint­ing BRE mem­bers, I have tak­en the time now to explain it as I believe it to mean. 

“Manchurian” swearing in Tuesday on the strength of an unsigned, two line letter

Because nei­ther the for­mer Repub­li­can chair, nor the coun­ty com­mis­sion, DID THEIR JOBS accord­ing to the law, the peo­ple of Forsyth Coun­ty now have an appar­ent “ringer,” a “Manchuri­an can­di­date,” about to take office in one of the most impor­tant and pow­er­ful board posi­tions in Forsyth Coun­ty Gov­ern­ment, and per­haps even the state and nation, as we head toward the 2024 elec­tions. And unfor­tu­nate­ly, no one in posi­tion to stop an inter­lop­er from tak­ing office appears inter­est­ed in fol­low­ing the law. Inter­est­ing­ly, last year, pri­or to midterms, the indi­vid­ual now appar­ent­ly FALSELY OR MISTAKENLY CERTIFIED BY THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS accord­ing to the rea­sons above, and who is on the verge of tak­ing office on Tues­day, agreed on video that some­where between 29,000 and 34,000 names on Forsyth Coun­ty vot­er rolls “should not be there.” Yet an hour before con­fi­dent­ly mak­ing that state­ment to fel­low Repub­li­cans, he vot­ed NO to a motion to inves­ti­gate near­ly 13,000 of those names, a fact lead­ing many to ques­tion whether there is an agen­da behind every­thing we are wit­ness­ing here.

Since my last cor­re­spon­dence with you, I was at least pleased to dis­cov­er two com­mis­sion­ers among you in favor of direct­ing the coun­ty attor­ney to answer my con­cerns. Per­haps they are inter­est­ed to know his response as well. Either way, of course, that leaves the oth­er three block­ing the way. What puz­zles me is whether the remain­ing three are active­ly cov­er­ing for the coun­ty attor­ney, or the coun­ty attor­ney is cov­er­ing for them, or maybe both. And now, a prac­ti­cal­ly avoid­able trav­es­ty is sched­uled to occur on Tues­day morn­ing at the Forsyth Coun­ty Elec­tions Office, mak­ing an answer to my con­cerns at this point moot. Unless some­thing dras­ti­cal­ly changes, it appears yet anoth­er Manchuri­an can­di­date (this kind of appoint­ment process has been going on for quite some time) will unlaw­ful­ly assume an appoint­ed posi­tion on the Forsyth Coun­ty Board of Elec­tions he is not enti­tled to. He should not enter that office because not one mem­ber on the Forsyth Coun­ty Repub­li­can Par­ty com­mit­tee required to law­ful­ly rat­i­fy his nom­i­na­tion to the board was even giv­en an oppor­tu­ni­ty to vote, one way or the oth­er. Fur­ther­more, the Forsyth Coun­ty Com­mis­sion, charged with the respon­si­bil­i­ty to CERTIFY that the law regard­ing BRE appoint­ments was duly fol­lowed, chose rather to rub­ber-stamp his appoint­ment pure­ly on the strength of an unsigned let­ter, osten­si­bly from the for­mer coun­ty Repub­li­can chair­man, a let­ter so improp­er­ly writ­ten it is not even addressed to the cor­rect board. Astound­ing is the fact that the entire paper trail required to cer­ti­fy an appar­ent Manchuri­an can­di­date, obvi­ous­ly favored by those in high posi­tions of state pow­er, to a board of elec­tions seat in Forsyth Coun­ty, Geor­gia, is that sin­gle cor­re­spon­dence you see below, noth­ing else. 

Who really has standing to sue?

It is reli­ably report­ed by oth­ers in atten­dance that dur­ing a pri­vate con­fer­ence between two com­mis­sion mem­bers and the chair of the coun­ty Repub­li­can “chief exec­u­tive com­mit­tee” and com­mit­tee attor­neys, that one com­mis­sion mem­ber asked the coun­ty attor­ney whether the Natt appoint­ment could be void­ed. His answer was, as report­ed, “yes.” How­ev­er, qual­i­fy­ing his response, he sub­se­quent­ly expressed to the com­mis­sion mem­bers, “but you could be sued.” Now, real­ly, who would sue the coun­ty for void­ing a prov­ably-unlaw­ful BRE appoint­ment? Mr. Natt would not sue the coun­ty over a board seat he knows would be prov­ably-unlaw­ful for him to hold. But, as also report­ed, dur­ing that meet­ing, the coun­ty attor­ney did not express con­cern for suits that could arise for NOT void­ing an unlaw­ful appoint­ment. Why did he offer such a one-sided legal opinion?

I ask that ques­tion because, as it turns out, the Forsyth Coun­ty Repub­li­can Par­ty Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (“chief exec­u­tive com­mit­tee” as described in OCGA 21–2‑113), com­prised of, at max­i­mum, six mem­bers, IS NOT the com­mit­tee at all empow­ered by law to vote on the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of a BRE nom­i­nee. Instead, accord­ing to OCGA 21–2‑113 it is the entire “coun­ty exec­u­tive com­mit­tee,” which by that statute is the coun­ty com­mit­tee at-large, nor­mal­ly num­ber­ing around 35 mem­bers, who must rat­i­fy a BRE nom­i­nee by major­i­ty vote before he or she could be ten­dered for appoint­ment by the board of com­mis­sion­ers. Not coin­ci­den­tal­ly, it was the offi­cial Forsyth Coun­ty Repub­li­can Par­ty Par­lia­men­tar­i­an, Joel Natt, who there­fore bore a respon­si­bil­i­ty to know the law regard­ing appoint­ments, but who report­ed­ly steered the par­ty “chief exec­u­tive com­mit­tee,” includ­ing the for­mer chair­man, to believe his nom­i­na­tion was con­trolled by one indi­vid­ual, the same now for­mer chair­man who pur­port­ed­ly wrote the let­ter above. That makes approx­i­mate­ly 35 indi­vid­u­als who, as of today, because of coun­ty com­mis­sion neg­li­gence, and/or affir­ma­tive dis­re­gard, were appar­ent­ly sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly denied the law­ful right to vote on Mr. Natt’s nom­i­na­tion before the com­mis­sion rub­ber-stamped the appoint­ment on Feb­ru­ary 2, 2023, hav­ing received not even a signed appli­ca­tion for that appoint­ment. It’s astound­ing that the Forsyth Coun­ty Com­mis­sion would freely hand out pow­er­ful board posi­tions in coun­ty gov­ern­ment with­out even requir­ing an appli­ca­tion, or even a signed let­ter or affi­davit of qualification.

But on top of those 35 or so com­mit­tee mem­bers denied by the coun­ty com­mis­sion the law­ful­ly-pre­scribed right to vote on Mr. Natt’s nom­i­na­tion pri­or to rub­ber-stamp­ing it in Feb­ru­ary, on July 18 of this year, 23 mem­bers com­pris­ing a quo­rum of the same law­ful­ly-empow­ered com­mit­tee actu­al­ly did offi­cial­ly vote, ful­ly rat­i­fy­ing the nom­i­na­tion of Mr. Ste­fan Bar­tel­s­ki to the con­test­ed board posi­tion. A record of that law-ful­fill­ing vote to rat­i­fy Mr. Bar­tel­s­ki as Repub­li­can nom­i­nee to the BRE, includ­ing the sig­na­tures of the 23 com­mit­tee mem­bers so rat­i­fy­ing, was sent to you by present par­ty chair Mendy Moore, giv­ing you offi­cial notice and proof, CERTIFYING for your pur­pos­es that Mr. Bar­tel­s­ki is the only law­ful nom­i­nee ever pre­sent­ed for the position’s appoint­ment for the term com­menc­ing Sep­tem­ber 1. Stub­born­ly, almost as if some­one out­side the five com­mis­sion mem­bers is orches­trat­ing the board’s deci­sions, you chose nev­er to con­sid­er Mr. Bartelski’s claim on the seat at all. Thus, in refus­ing to con­sid­er Mr. Bar­tel­s­ki, you chose against con­sid­er­ing the only law­ful­ly-nom­i­nat­ed indi­vid­ual for the posi­tion of BRE mem­ber for the com­ing term, appar­ent­ly know­ing that the can­di­date who sailed through your com­mit­tee in Feb­ru­ary, with no scruti­ny what­so­ev­er, was unlawful. 

Now, I am not an attor­ney, but from this layman’s per­spec­tive, it appears that by your actions you have inad­ver­tent­ly cre­at­ed at least three class­es of plain­tiffs with prov­able dam­ages against Forsyth County: 

1. those you denied the law­ful right to vote for or against the Manchuri­an you rub­ber-stamped in February; 

2. those whose law­ful votes rat­i­fy­ing Mr. Bar­tel­s­ki were sum­mar­i­ly dis­en­fran­chised by your deci­sion not to con­sid­er them, and

3. Mr. Bar­tel­s­ki him­self, who remains at this moment the only law­ful nom­i­nee ever pro­posed for the office in ques­tion, the term of which offi­cial­ly began Sep­tem­ber 1, whose law­ful claim you stub­born­ly still ignore. 

And I am not count­ing the hun­dreds of thou­sands of Forsyth Coun­ty cit­i­zens, such as myself, by whose tax dol­lars the coun­ty com­mis­sion would pay to defend itself. I am also not count­ing the pletho­ra of ethics charges each mem­ber of the coun­ty com­mis­sion could con­ceiv­ably face. Great job, com­mis­sion­ers! Because you took such excel­lent advice from your coun­ty attor­ney, who warned only of one suit by an indi­vid­ual who had no case at all against you, you now have up to 35 indi­vid­u­als, each who appear to pos­sess slam dunk cas­es against the coun­ty com­mis­sion, pos­si­bly to include civ­il rights vio­la­tions, which the Forsyth Coun­ty tax­pay­ers would have to pay to defend. As a tax­pay­er with stand­ing in all of this, whose dol­lars would go to defend such malfea­sance, I am dumbfounded. 

Again, I am no lawyer. But there appear even more cas­es which could result from your hor­ri­ble and dis­hon­or­able man­age­ment of this sit­u­a­tion. When the coun­ty com­mis­sion mem­bers ulti­mate­ly refused to even inves­ti­gate the appoint­ment of Mr. Natt, after being prop­er­ly noti­fied of the appar­ent fact of his unlaw­ful nom­i­na­tion, refus­ing in the process to take up the law­ful nom­i­na­tion of Mr. Bar­tel­s­ki, each mem­ber there­fore did so with knowl­edge of the appar­ent fact that Mr. Natt’s nom­i­na­tion and sub­se­quent appoint­ment was unlaw­ful. Repub­li­can Chair Mendy Moore informed you of that on May 17. She spoke with sev­er­al of you in the mean­time. She sent you notice of Mr. Bartelski’s nom­i­na­tion, CERTIFYING his law­ful rat­i­fi­ca­tion by includ­ing the “coun­ty exec­u­tive com­mit­tee” sig­na­tures demon­strat­ing such, on July 18. I and num­bers of oth­ers com­mu­ni­cat­ed that same appar­ent fact to you many times and in many ways, both writ­ten and oral­ly dur­ing your meet­ings. Your own ethics rules as well as state ethics rules under §45–10‑3 require that gov­ern­ment board mem­bers “nev­er be a par­ty to the law’s eva­sion,” open­ing the door for count­less ethics charges which would nat­u­ral­ly come against you. Thus, because you did all of that know­ing­ly, nev­er tak­ing any steps to even inves­ti­gate, while own­ing the statu­to­ry respon­si­bil­i­ty to do so, if the courts deter­mine you have been wrong, and the appoint­ment of Mr. Natt was indeed unlaw­ful, I under­stand you could very well have exposed your­selves per­son­al­ly should any of the 35 or more poten­tial plain­tiffs ref­er­enced above, choose to lit­i­gate against you. And as you undoubt­ed­ly under­stand, the coun­ty attor­ney can­not be paid with tax­pay­er funds to defend you for know­ing­ly and unlaw­ful­ly vio­lat­ing your pre­scribed duties and respon­si­bil­i­ties, not to men­tion your eth­i­cal respon­si­bil­i­ties regard­ing law eva­sion. Appar­ent­ly, the only task for any one of those poten­tial plain­tiffs, or all of them for that mat­ter, to pre­vail, would be to demon­strate that what all these par­ties have been telling you since May 17 is indeed true, mean­ing that the Natt nom­i­na­tion, and sub­se­quent rub­ber-stamp­ing of his appoint­ment to the BRE, was in fact unlawful. 

But, like I say, I’m no lawyer. I’m just a coun­ty tax­pay­er who knows what he knows and doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, but one who is very con­cerned about the mis­man­age­ment of Forsyth Coun­ty under this board of com­mis­sion­ers. Your per­son­al attor­neys will have to advise you in all of your poten­tial lia­bil­i­ties here. And that’s a good thing for you to know. I wouldn’t count on the coun­ty attor­ney for much help in this. He appears to have been instru­men­tal in cre­at­ing this dif­fi­cul­ty for you in the first place. And he won’t be able help defend you per­son­al­ly any­way. Tax­pay­ers watch­ing this mis­car­riage of jus­tice will make sure of that.

Board of commissioners still has a chance to repair 

All that said, you still have the small­est chance to make all of this right and avoid big­ger prob­lems. All you have to do is void the appoint­ment of Joel Natt before he takes office, or con­vince him to stand down and relin­quish his appoint­ment. From what I under­stand, any afore­men­tioned dam­ages would incur only upon his swear­ing. But, I under­stand void­ing his appoint­ment would now entail con­ven­ing an emer­gency ses­sion, tak­ing a vote and direct­ing some­one autho­rized to speak for the com­mis­sion to con­tact Gov­er­nor Kemp over Labor Day week­end, and plead with him to can­cel the swear­ing order of Mr. Natt sched­uled for Tues­day. Because of the appar­ent role the gov­er­nor has been play­ing in sup­port of Mr. Natt’s appoint­ment already, and per­haps because of the mood he has recent­ly dis­played, that is not a con­ver­sa­tion I expect any­one would rel­ish to have. 

Per­haps, there­fore, it is time to speak with Mr. Natt.

You were advised of the issue in a time­ly man­ner; you sub­se­quent­ly received a nom­i­na­tion con­duct­ed in accor­dance with the law; you are on record hav­ing been advised that you have the option of chang­ing the nom­i­na­tion and to date have failed to take action to cor­rect the unlaw­ful nom­i­na­tion. You can be assured that allow­ing an unlaw­ful­ly nom­i­nat­ed can­di­date to take office will cre­ate dam­ages to many who hold stand­ing in the mat­ter. You will not be able to use lack of author­i­ty for your fail­ure to stop the dam­age from occurring. 

Hank Sul­li­van

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