County clears Rep. Holt’s drive­way

Holt paid for work so he could get to state house

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Gabriel Khouli gkhouli@cov­

At least one per­son has taken ex­cep­tion to the fact the Newton County Pub­lic Works depart­ment cleared the drive­way of State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Doug Holt’s So­cial Cir­cle home on Mon­day.

Holt had agreed to pay the county for the work, which would al­low him to be able to travel to At­lanta to par­tic­i­pate in the leg­is­la­ture’s open­ing ses­sion, but an e-mail tip to CBS At­lanta led to a video news team show­ing up on his doorstep Tues­day morn­ing ask­ing ques­tions. Holt called The News shortly af­ter the visit to in­form the paper and of­fer an apol­ogy to res­i­dents who might be of­fended.

“I let my­self get too anx­ious into get­ting into town, and I apol­o­gize for that. I can un­der­stand the per­cep­tion,” Holt said Tues­day.

Holt said he orig­i­nally called Chair­man Kathy Mor­gan Mon­day to ask her for a list of pri­vate contractors to clear his drive­way. Mor­gan later called back and of­fered the county’s ser­vices, be­cause Holt

needed to go to At­lanta for of­fi­cial govern­ment work. Holt agreed, say­ing that he would pay for the cost of the man­power and ma­te­ri­als.

When asked if it was a gray area, Holt re­sponded: “Maybe it’s a gray area, but be­ing a pub­lic of­fi­cial, the per­cep­tion to the gen­eral pub­lic is the most im­por­tant thing. It was an er­ror in judg­ment.”

Mor­gan con­firmed the de­tails of the con­ver­sa­tion and said the two dis­cussed the mat­ter and agreed it was ap­pro­pri­ate, be­cause Holt needed to go to At­lanta on of­fi­cial county busi­ness and he agreed to pay for the ser­vices.

“I think that was a rea­son­able request. It’s an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion, it’s not some­thing we would nor­mally do,” Mor­gan said. “He is a cit­i­zen of the county. If it was an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion for a res­i­dent, we would go get that per­son out. Hav­ing our state rep­re­sen­ta­tive get where he needs to be is just as im­por­tant as any­thing else. We were hav­ing to go and pick up key in­di­vid­u­als to get them into work at the county.

“Maybe it was a lapse of judg­ment on my call, but he does rep­re­sent us and our cit­i­zens.”

The state leg­is­la­ture ended up can­celling its Tues­day af­ter­noon ses­sion.


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