“This being an executive director and being chairman of the board is an unacceptable conflict,” Fulton Commissioner Lee Morris said previously.
All this comes after reporting from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed it was apparently standard for some board members to collect multiple per diem payments the same day. Since 2011, DAFC board members have collected $1.1 million in per diems, the AJC found, and at least one board member, former chairman Bob Shaw, had also collected per diem and a salary for more than six years.
State law requires the county commission to set per diem for certain development authorities but Fulton officials can find no record they ever did, raising questions about the legality of the per diem payments.
Over the last eight months, the authority has revised per diem policies to ban multiple per diem payments and make salaried board members ineligible for them.
Nonetheless, some state lawmakers now want to abolish the agency, or significantly increase regulation of the authority.
Turpeau wrote that it was never his intention to serve as both chairman and interim executive director indefinitely.
“I look forward to being able to concentrate solely on serving as the chairman of our board and working with our stakeholders to ensure economic opportunities are available to all of the communities we serve in Fulton County,” Turpeau wrote.
Among the proposals expected for consideration this week by the Board of Commissioners is to set a $105 per diem rate, which only applies to official meetings.
Credit: WSBTV Videos
Fulton County Commission chairman expects state to look at Development Authority's per diem fees
Credit: WSBTV Videos
The AJC’s previous reporting revealed a culture of loose financial oversight at the Development Authority of Fulton County. Board members gave themselves per diems that elected county commissioners now believe may not have been legal.
Using public tax filings and documents received through the state’s Open Records Act, the AJC has shown that one member, Bob Shaw, earned hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the authority had previously disclosed for a staff position that few members knew about. The AJC’s reporting led Shaw to step down, pledges of transparency by the authority and scrutiny from some state and local lawmakers.