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Tobar taken to task by commission chairman

Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar was on the hot seat Tuesday night for his alleged actions involving Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice officials housed at the Grady County Recreation Department headquarters, which is the former Grady County Sheriff’s Office.
Grady County Commission Chairman LaFaye Copeland took Tobar to task for his actions.
Tobar had reported to the board earlier this month about his efforts to make the state pay the county rent for the office space utilized by Juvenile Justice personnel.
Chairman Copeland said she met with Juvenile Justice officials and also researched the county’s minutes.
Her research indicated that the board offered the Department of Juvenile Justice office space at the former sheriff’s office in 2004 at no cost to the state.
According to Chairman Copeland, the Juvenile Justice personnel moved into their current offices in March 2004.
“The reason they are not paying anything to be out there is that the board offered them the office space for no charge. It would be up to this board to change that,” Chairman Copeland said.
Tobar, who previously said he had contacted State Representative Darlene Taylor to complain about the state not paying for the office space, now says that a property manager with DTZ, which handles leases for state offices, made the initial contact with Tobar.
Chairman Copeland questioned the truthfulness of Tobar’s comments.
“That’s just not true. You need to clarify that. I’m tired of there being write ups in the newspaper. And what you’re saying is just not true. There is other stuff I could bring up, but I’m not going to in this meeting,” she said.
The chairman added, “I want to be clear on this. You need to get your facts straight.”
Tobar offered to show Chairman Copeland copies of emails exchanged between him and DTZ personnel.
“I want you to answer this and be honest. Did you not go out to that place out there and ask who was their boss and they gave you the name of that company?” Chairman Copeland asked Tobar.
“Yes, I went out there,” Tobar said.
The majority of the board agreed to continue offering the office space at no charge, but would accept compensation for utilities.
“I don’t have a problem if they want to pay the utilities,” Commissioner Charles Norton said.
Commissioner Ray Prince agreed the state should pay a portion of the utilities if the county was going to continue to provide the office space for free.
Commissioner Norton told board members two weeks ago that the county had agreed to the free office space in order to keep a presence by the Department of Juvenile Justice in Grady County as a service to parents of juvenile offenders.
(CORRECTION: In the Feb. 11 edition of The Cairo Messenger we referred to the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice as Juvenile Court. We regret the error and gladly correct it here.)

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