Some Lee County citizens call for a recall - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Some Lee County citizens call for a recall

September 14, 2006

Lee county-- Some Lee County voters say a couple of County Commissioners are wasting tax money. A former county official is leading an effort to get rid of them.

Pages and pages of cell phone charges have caused quite the stir in Lee County. "Last year, for one year we spent $50,000 on cell phones. I think that's a little bit ridiculous," says Bob Usry.

Former Utility Authority member Bob Usry says part of the problem is two commissioners who use their county phones to call family and friends. "They used their cell phone for personal phone calls to people in Alabama and Lagrange and calling their boyfriend and different things like this," says Usry.

He's talking about Leesburg commissioner Jo Ealum and Redbone commissioner Wally Roberts. Both names are highlighted on recent phone records pulled by Usry.

"They are commissioners. They should know better than to use the county property for private use," says Usry. So he organized a meeting to educate voters on how they could try to recall the commissioners. Wally Roberts' daughter-in-law Kelli Roberts says a few cell phone minutes don't compare to what Roberts gives to the county.

"He uses nothing as a benefit to himself. He totally serves his time to the county and as well as well as he goes to class for anything as a county commissioner, he does not turn in mileage," says Roberts.

Commissioner Jo Ealum says she only uses her county phone for county business and tries not to exceed her alloted monthly time. She released a statment saying "Over the past twenty months that I have served as your public servant, I have gone over my set cost by a total of $12.35. That is less than one dollar of additional expense per month."

She also calls Usry's actions "self-serving, unfair and disingenuous." Usry says it's a matter of protecting the taxpayers. "It's a chance to change the face of government. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, I have tried," says Usry.

Some taxpayers still aren't sure if a recall is necessary after tonight's meeting. "I was just curious to see what might be stated as reasons for recall and that really didn't happen," says Leesburg citizen Foxie Harper.

It will now be up to the citizens of Redbone and Leesburg to decide if a matter of phone calls equals a change in commissioners.

Usry's critics say his effort is just sour grapes because the county commission recently removed him from the utility authority. A recall applicant must collect 100 signatures on the application then get the support of 30 percent of registered voters in order to get a recall election.

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