Holt pays in full for ser­vices

Drive­way clear­ing sparked con­tro­versy

The Covington News - - Front page - By Gabriel Khouli gkhouli@cov­news.com

Rep. Doug Holt paid Newton County $278.80 Fri­day morn­ing for work done to clear his ice-cov­ered drive­way on Jan. 10.

The pay­ment cov­ered both the de­ic­ing ma­te­ri­als used as well as the la­bor of a pub­lic works crew that spent an hour clear­ing the up­hill por­tion of Holt's drive­way, lo­cated off Stagg Cir­cle in So­cial Cir­cle. The crew also helped Holt move his car and make sure it could tra­verse the drive­way.

The county had cleared Holt's drive­way in or­der to al­low him to travel to At­lanta for the con­ven­ing of the Ge­or­gia Gen­eral Assem­bly. The state assem­bly planned for Tues­day was later can­celled. He apol­o­gized last week af­ter some res­i­dents took is­sue with Holt us­ing county re­sources to clear his drive­way.

Holt said pre­vi­ously that he had been look­ing for a pri­vate con­trac­tor to clear the drive­way, and Newton County Chair­man Kathy Mor­gan of­fered to have the county clear his drive­way, since he needed to travel for of­fi­cial state busi­ness. Ge­or­gia State Pa­trol of­fi­cers were trans­port­ing of­fi­cials to the Gold Dome in At­lanta.

Holt said he ac­cepted the of­fer on the con­di­tion that he could re­im­burse the county. Be­cause of the storm the county could not cal­cu­late his pay­ment un­til this week.

“This teaches me a les­son about be­ing more cau­tious. I al­ways felt peo­ple should hear about my votes in the news, but not about my per­sonal be­hav­ior. I will fol­low that even more closely,” Holt said Wed­nes­day, be­fore the bill had been paid.

Reader re­sponse to Holt's ac­tions was mixed and many con­stituents said they felt his ac­tion was ac­cept­able.

“I see ab­so­lutely noth­ing wrong with what the county did for Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Holt — es­pe­cially if he was go­ing to pay for the ser­vice. My hat's off to him for be­ing so con­sci­en­tious in his du­ties that he would even worry about try­ing to get to At­lanta con­sid­er­ing all the risks,” one reader com­mented on cov­news.com.

Holt said Wed­nes­day he was sur­prised by how much pos­i­tive sup­port he's re­ceived.

“I've got­ten far more sup­port expressed than peo­ple up­set. Most of the up­set that I've heard is with the TV sta­tion. Granted on the web and some places where there are com­ments, you get folks anony­mously who are happy to be as vi­cious as pos­si­ble," Holt said. "Even there it's amaz­ing how much sup­port and how many pos­i­tive com­ments I've got­ten. It's heart warm­ing.”

HOLT

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