Why I Support Dennis Brown for County Commissioner

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Why I Support Dennis Brown for County Commissioner

Honesty, Honor, Integrity.

These are the qualities we all look for, but very rarely find, in elected officials. Which is what makes retired U.S. Army Col. Dennis T. Brown unique. It also explains why I, and many others, support his bid to become the next commissioner in Forsyth County District 2. Spend just five minutes with this extraordinarily humble man and see if you don’t agree.

Brown is an educated man. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Alabama and his Master’s Degree in International Business from Kennesaw State.

He is a born leader. For 30 years, he served this nation honorably as a member of the U.S. armed forces, rising to the rank of colonel before retiring in 2010 following a year in Afghanistan where he served as Chief of Staff at Camp Alamo.

He is a conservative who personifies Tea Party ideals of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets. Which is why he was one of the first candidates to ever receive the endorsement of the Forsyth County Tea Party.

When he was asked to run for county commission, he readily agreed, even though he wasn’t aware that commissioners are actually compensated for their work. That tells you he is in this race for the right reason — to serve his community.

Brown’s evaluation of county government is that it has been hijacked by the special interests groups and big-money campaign contributors and his top priority will be to put the citizens back in control of their own government.

At Tuesday night’s GOP debate, Brown’s opponent, incumbent Brian Tam, said the only special interest groups he recognizes are the citizens of Forsyth County which is a confusing since the vast majority of his contributions come from places like Beverly Hills, Michigan, Atlanta, Alpharetta, etc.


Honesty, Honor, Integrity

Tam’s honesty was put to the test during the debate. It came early on when Brown raised two key issues. The first was Tam’s support for giving Children’s Healthcare $700,000 of taxpayer money to buy an ambulance. The second was Tam’s vote to award a banking contract to United Community Bank for $50,000 a year when Sun Trust the same services for free.

In an effort to be polite, Brown ended his comment on the issues with: “If I have my facts right.” Tam seized the opportunity to say: “Your facts are not right.”

But Brown’s facts were right.

On April 4, 2011, the Atlanta Journal reported: ”

SunTrust Bank asked the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners to reconsider its 4-1 vote (Boff opposing) at its March 22 work session to give the county bank business to United Community Bank.”

Tam was not being honest.

Brown’s facts were also right on the Children’s Healthcare issue.

On July 6, 2011, Cumming Patch reported: “Commission Chairman Brian Tam placed the issue on last week’s work session agenda and commissioners voted unanimously to direct County Attorney Ken Jarrard to meet with Children’s Healthcare officials to draft an agreement.”

Again, Tam was not being honest.

But let’s leave the good commissioner’s honesty aside for the moment and review his track record. After all, in his opening statement last night, he said he is running on that record.

That record includes:

Being stripped of his chairmanship by fellow commissioners in January;

Tripling of the county’s indebtedness since taking office;

Proposing one of the highest tax increases in recent county history in 2010, 1.56 mils. Fortunately that was defeated;

Voting to give the City of Cumming $11.4 million to help pay for a water intake facility even though the county attorney said the county had no obligation to pay;

Proposing a gift of $700,000 in taxpayer money to a private company where his biggest fundraiser sits on the Board;

Voting to award banking services contract to UCB for $50,000 a year rather than Sun Trust which offered the services for free. Another Tam financial contributor sits on the UCB Board.

Refusal to recuse himself from the water contract negotiations with the city of Cumming even though the city holds the lease on his restaurant Tam’s Backstage;

Refusal to recuse himself from the Local Option Sales Tax negotiations with the City of Cumming.

After 8 years in office, Tam has become a career politician who represents the City of Cumming, special interest groups and big-money campaign contributors, not the citizens of District 2.

Brown is right, career politicians can’t solve the county’s problems. They are the problem.

Please join me next month an sweeping the incumbent from office and replacing him with a man of honesty, honor and integrity, Col. Dennis T.Brown.

Rebecca “Beci” Ricks


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5 Responses to Why I Support Dennis Brown for County Commissioner

  1. PeggyG

    July 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    When someone puts forth an opinion beginning with Honesty, Honor, Integrity, it behooves them to tell the TRUTH. Stronger than that, I believe this person should apologize for the less than truthful comments.

    First, re-read the post at Cumming Patch — Tam placed the issue on the agenda and commissioners voted UNANIMOUSLY to direct County Attorney Ken Jarrard to meet with Children’s Healthcare officials. Then the commissioners voted NOT to go forward with any action.

    Second, everyone should refer to an email dated June 22, 2012, from David Gruen, Finance Director of Forsyth County who states that “the bank account services agreement entered into by the county with United Community Bank matched the proposal by SunTrust with no service charge fees. No other new fees have been added on.”

    It is one thing to have a candidate preference but to level UNTRUE charges against your competition is a lowly tactic and not worthy of a candidate with integrity.

    Brian Tam is an honorable family-oriented man with years of service to the community and has accomplished a lot as Commissioner. Unfortunately, a few people who seem to enjoy negative personal attacks seem to have infiltrated this good county’s political scene.

  2. Beci Ricks

    July 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Don’t look now, Peggy, but your bias is showing!
    Your loyalty to your old friend Brian Tam is admirable, but highly inappropriate in your role as chairwoman of the Republican Women of Forsyth County.
    Moreover, your comments are misleading and — much as I hate to say this — they seem to be intentionally misleading.
    You quote the Cumming Patch article as stating: “Tam placed the issue on the agenda and commissioners voted UNANIMOUSLY to direct County Attorney Ken Jarrard to meet with Children’s Healthcare officials.”
    Then you conveniently omitted the next four words “to draft an agreement.”
    In other words Tam was ready to give $700,000 of taxpayer money to a private company where his fundraiser-in-chief, Mary Helen McGruder sits on the Board of Advisors. Otherwise, there’s no point in drafting an agreement.
    Weeks later, after the county got wind of this boondoggle and raised up in angry protest, the board of commissioners voted to back down.
    The same is true for the United Community Bank fiasco.
    Tam, and others, voted to award a banking services contract to United Community Bank at a cost to taxpayers to $50,000 annually. They did that even though Sun Trust Bank offered the same services for free. Incidentally, as you know, another of Tam’s principal fundraisers, Emory Lipscomb, is on the Board of Directors of UCB.
    On this issue, once again, you have attempted to mislead readers.
    After the contract was awarded, UCB got so much negative feedback from customers they chose to back out of the agreement and offered to match Sun Trust’s offer. It wasn’t Tam’s sound fiscal management that protected taxpayers. It was the taxpayers themselves, who once again rose up in protest.
    Now, Ms. Green, I believe it is you who should apologize for your less than truthful comments.

    • PeggyG

      July 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      Ms Ricks – my main bias in this piece is for TRUTH. Also, I did not speak as a representative of our organization, Republican Women of Forsyth County; I spoke as a citizen (which I think I am still entitled to do).
      Nothing in my comments is misleading — the four words you claim are left out do not change the meaning of my post. This matter was agreed to UNANIMOUSLY by the Board. Placed on the agenda in no way indicates support. Your snarky comments about certain individuals sounds petty and envious. Perhaps you should strive to attain their success. This is a very hollow accusation with NO BASIS in fact. The Board discussed this matter and no one thought it should go forward.
      Also, your comments about the matter of United Community Bank are UNTRUE. If you can produce ANY proof that $50,000 has been paid or will be paid to UCB, that would be helpful but you will not because there is none. Again, sounds like you may be jealous of the success of folks who serve on the Boards of companies. Seriously.
      Dennis Brown is a very fine man whom I respect. Unfortunately, he has surrounded himself with some fringe-type individuals who do not always stick to the issues but want to slander the competition.
      Do more research – Beci – do not believe rumors and innuendo.
      NO APOLOGY REQUIRED FROM ME. Try not to sound so vindictive in future postings.

  3. Beci Ricks

    July 18, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Calm down, Peggy your claws are showing,
    It’s beneath the dignity of the chairwoman of a major political party to engage in name calling. I recommend you conduct yourself more like Republican Party Chairman Ethan Underwood and Joel Natt, head of the Young Republicans. Both have meticulously refrained from making any public comment on this race. After all, this is a Republican Primary election.
    Your repeated contention that Tam was not fully in favor of giving away $700,000 of taxpayer money to a private company where his fundraiser-in-chief, Mary Helen McGruder, sits on the Board of Advisors is intellectually dishonest. Tam placed the issue on the commissioners’ agenda and, as chairman, directed the county attorney to meet with the company’s officials “to draft an agreement” to memorialize that donation.
    This is not speculation. This is pure fact as evidenced by the minutes of that meeting.
    Tam backed off only when his directive drew a mountain of negative publicity and he began to contemplate the damage it would do to his re-election campaign. But, look for this directive to surface again in August after he loses and becomes a lame duck commissioner.
    As for awarding a $50,000 a year banking services contract to United Community Bank when Sun Trust offered the same services for free, the issue isn’t whether the money ever changed hands. The issue is that Tam voted for it in the first place. He did. That, too, is a matter of record.
    UCB ultimately chose to match the Sun Trust offer because of all the bad publicity the bank was getting. But thus far, they have only agreed to match the offer for one year and that year is just about up.
    The fact is that because another of Tam’s major financial contributors, Emory Lipscomb, is on the UCB Board of Directors, Tam should have recused himself due to the conflict of interest.
    Unfortunately, Tam has a habit of not recusing himself. I’m sure you’re aware of the lease agreement between the city of Cumming and Tam’s Backstage restaurant. Still, he chose not to recuse himself from the water contract negotiations or the Local Option Sales Tax negotiations with the city. His vote on those issues has now cost county taxpayers millions of dollars.

  4. PeggyG

    July 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Beci — I do not visit blogs daily but will give one more response. The fact that you repeat the same accusations over and over do NOT make them true. Apparently, you do not have proof of any of this and it is obvious that you do not understand the details of negotiations, the rules of conducting business in the commission. The RECORD clearly backs the facts as laid out by Brian and repeated by me.

    Some of the financial supporters that you mention happen to support multiple campaigns.

    If you were more informed, you would know that there is not a single reason in the world for Brian to have recused himself from the water contract negotiations. Some who are not his fans have used this argument in the past, but it is not substantiated. I am glad that we have a good restaurant in downtown Cumming but I doubt that any of you who level this charge would be able to make a go of the restaurant no matter what the cost of the lease.

    By the way, neither Ethan or Joel live in the 2nd district; therefore their opinion is irrelevant. I do not know you but I assume you live in the 2nd. The rule in the Republican Party is that we do not endorse anyone during the Primary AS AN OFFICIAL OF THE PARTY. Others involved in the Party have definitely put forth their PERSONAL opinion so you are off base with that criticism. It is unfortunate, I think, when some people have to distort facts and tell untruths to support their candidate. It is an ugly part of politics.

    One of the great things about our country is our freedom to express our opinions and I find it hard to believe that a good person like Dennis Brown would approve of the tone and content of your writings.

    Votes by Brian Tam have consistently been fiscally conservative while dealing with needs of the growing county population.

    Get your facts straight — you are WRONG about both the issues you have brought up.

    God Bless America!!!