Citizens of Troup County,
As many of you have heard, a member of the elections board has openly and financially supported a candidate running in an election they have been appointed to oversee. This ethically questionable situation should make all of us uneasy, even if it were legal.
Ga. Code (2014) Title 21, Chapter 2, Article 2, Part 3 § 21-2-70(15)(B), clearly specifies that “at all times” a member of such a board is to maintain impartiality — something that is virtually impossible when that elections board member is publicly and financially supporting a candidate in an election they actually are charged with providing oversight of.
Not sure what could possibly show more partiality. The election board member and candidate involved in this scandal are Jason Creel and county commission candidate Lewis Davis.
Mr. Davis, incidentally, served as chairman of the Troup County Republican Party that actually appointed Mr. Creel to the position, to make matters even more ethically questionable. Now Mr. Creel and Mr. Davis are attempting to promote the rather weak argument that Mr. Creel only has to remain impartial while actually performing election functions.
The statute they are attempting to hide behind is relative to registrars which were eliminated in Troup County a few years ago. And even then, the code they quote, Ga. Code Title 21, Chapter 2, Article 6, 21-5-214, is expanded on by Ga. Code 21-2-70, they don’t get to choose which statute is most convenient for them to distort to cover their ethical lapse.
This erroneous excuse is negated by the fact that other statutes that limit fiduciary responsibility to remain impartial only during official official functions clearly spell that out. Ga. Code 21-2-70 expands these mandates of impartiality to “at all times,” which of course means … “at all times.” Not much ambiguity there, really, despite Mr. Creel and candidate Davis attempting to obfuscate otherwise.
The meaning and intent of the term “at all times” is well established in American law. It’s even included as a term in the Code of Judicial Conduct and has always been irrefutably held to mean, well, “at all times.” As in “at all times” — 24/7/365 while the person holds that position.
If Mr. Creel wanted to openly and financially support his friend and the guy who appointed him to the election board, he should have stepped down prior to he and candidate Lewis Davis’ blatant disregard for propriety, ethics and codified impartiality mandates.