Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter has asked the Gwinnett County Commission to approve $122,080 for an assistant chief investigator in his department’s 2013 budget. The assistant chief investigator would lead probes into government corruption in the county.
According to the budget request submitted by Porter, the assistant chief investigator would have two primary functions:
“The first would be to serve as the lead investigator for public corruption investigations. In recent years, the number of special investigations into public corruption has increased significantly. The investigations are complex and require a significant amount of time to thoroughly investigate.”
“The second would be to assist the chief investigator in the daily operations and supervision of the Criminal Investigator staff. The assistant chief investigator would conduct performance evaluations and ensure policy and procedures are followed and make disciplinary recommendations.”
The request for the assistant chief investigator position is listed as Priority No. 3 out of four decision packages Porter is asking the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners to approve for his department.
Department heads presented their proposed budgets in September.
Videotaped budget presentations are available for public viewing on the Gwinnet County Budget Review Meetings webpage.
The proposed 2013 budget will not be completed until November, when it will be presented to the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners at a briefing, according to Joe Sorenson, communications director for Gwinnett County. A public hearing on the budget will be held in December, and the budget will be voted on by the board at its first meeting in January, he said.
Over the past two years, Gwinnett County has been rocked by a series of incidents involving county officials that have tainted the county’s reputation and eroded public trust.
In the fall of 2010, Charles Bannister resigned his position as chairman of the Gwinnett County Commission in the midst of a special grand jury probe over county land deals.
Former District 4 Commissioner Kevin Kenerly was indicted by the special grand jury for his involvement in questionable land deals and also resigned. His first indictment was tossed out, but he was later indicted by a regular grand jury.
Shirley Lasseter, former District 3 commissioner, pleaded guilty in federal court in May 2012 to accepting bribes for her favorable vote on a proposed development and resigned.
Her son John Fanning, who had served on the Gwinnett County Zoning Appeals Board, and Carl “Skip” Cain pleaded guilty in May to participating in the bribery scheme and drug trafficking.
Lasseter, Fanning and Cain’s arrests were the result of a FBI sting operation. Lasseter was sentenced in September to 33 months in federal prison. Fanning and Cain received sentences of 57 months each.
They pleaded guilty and cooperated in an ongoing investigation into corruption in Gwinnett County to obtain reduced sentences.
Gwinnett developer Mark Gary, former Gwinnett County Planning Commission member, pleaded guilty Oct. 1 to bribing Lasseter for her vote approving a proposed solid waste transfer station in which he had a personal stake. Gary is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 3.
Lasseter had appointed Fanning and Gary to the county boards.