No contract and no bids for County Attorney, yet 20% raise to $300,000

In response to (a second) open records request, County Clerk Paige Dukes stated in writing that Lowndes County does not have a contract with the person referred to in numerous minutes as “County Attorney”, and that no bids have been entertained for legal services for the county. According to the budget documents the Clerk referred to, the county raised the County Attorney’s budget 20% to $300,000 for 2013. Illustrations below (some with links) were added by me. -jsq

Subject: Open Records Request
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2013 13:22:08 +0000

Good Morning Mrs. Huntley,

In response to your open records request of September 18, requesting a copy of the materials provided to the Commission for the work session of September 23, 2013, please know that the work session and regular meeting originally scheduled for September 23 & 24, have been cancelled. This being the case, an agenda notebook has not been prepared.

In response to your open records request of September 18, requesting written answers to questions regarding the county attorney to include a contract, cost and bid. Please know that the open records statute is an avenue by which citizens may request existing documents. It does not allow for the creation of documents or provide specifically for direct questions to be answered in writing. However, Lowndes County Officials and staff remain available to answer and/or discuss any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to call or send an email if there is something the county can help you with. Contact information for the Board of Commissioners and department heads may be found on the countys website,, or I will be happy to help you and I can be reached by calling 229-671-2400.

Regarding the items you requested, a contract between the county and the county attorney is not required by law, nor does one exist. The current budget and actual expenses can be found on the countys website,, click on Government, then County Manager, then Finance. On the Finance page, click on Financial Reports, it will take you to the countys budget documents from 2007 2013. Georgia law does not require professional services to be bid. This being the case, legal services are not bid. In addition, while the county primarily utilizes the firm of Elliott, Blackburn and Gooding, other attorneys are used depending upon the matter at hand.

Thank you,

Paige Dukes

Annual Operating Budget, Lowndes County, Ga., Page 140:

General Fund – Non-Departmental

Expenditures FY 2010
FY 2011
FY 2012
FY 2012
FY 2013
FY 2013
County Attorney 325,976 391,220 250,000 371,356 250,000 300,000 20.00%

That’s 3/5 of the amount that was stated by the county in arguing for closing the county’s waste collection sites. And this expenditure is without a contract, and with no accounting provided for what it is spent on. Does this seem right to you, the citizens, who appear at the top of the county’s organizational chart?


Annual Operating Budget, Lowndes County, Ga., Page 41: