Fulton tax man Arthur Ferdinand won’t back down on fees that pad salary

Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM AJC FILE PHOTO

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Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM AJC FILE PHOTO

Fulton County commissioners pushed back on the $491,000 salary tax commissioner Arthur Ferdinand receives, largely from $1-per-parcel collection agreements with local cities.

But they still voted to approve the contracts with Johns Creek, Mountain Park and Chattahoochee Hills that help lift Ferdinand's $161,000 county salary by $225,000 a year.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution story this week showed the extent of Ferdinand's salary, which is nearly three times higher than the governor's.

One commissioner, Bob Ellis, asked Ferdinand if he would consider spreading the city fees to the tax commissioner’s office, instead of keeping the money for himself.

“No,” Ferdinand replied. “Usually, work gets compensation,” he later added.

Ellis and another commissioner, Liz Hausmann, voted against the deals, which passed 4-2. Another commissioner, Lee Morris, said he thought the additional compensation was wrong, but voted in favor of it because the cities had already negotiated the contracts.

"I'm going to vote yes with a great deal of reluctance," Morris said. "I think the General Assembly needs to address the law."

Ferdinand declined to comment for the earlier AJC story, but said Wednesday that said the fees he collects pale in comparison to the 1% of city and school collections Fulton County gets as a result of his efforts, a figure that he said was $22.5 million in 2018.

He also said cities can’t perform the service more cheaply on their own.

"I'm not trying to sugarcoat this," he said. "If I'm doing something, I want to be compensated for it, period."

Ferdinand said he never considered passing up the additional compensation he's entitled to.

“Why should I say no thank you?” he said. “The county salary that I receive is not commensurate with the responsibilities I have, as far as I’m concerned.”

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