Posted: 2:45 pm Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

When Don Balfour tried to fix his paycheck 

By Jim Galloway

So there I was, slouched in a leather chair outside the Senate chambers, when Sen. Don Balfour slid in beside me.

“I have to tell you something,” he said.

Last Friday, though the Legislature was in session, Balfour was not in Atlanta. He’s on the board of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and was in Austin, Texas.

But when his paycheck arrived this week, his secretary – now on the lookout for such things – noted that he had been paid for five days, not four. Per diem for state lawmakers amounts to $173 a day.

Balfour, who two months ago was acquitted on 18 felony counts associated with the abuse of his legislative expense account, marched into the office of the Legislature’s payroll manager and demanded that she cut a new check, paying him for four days worked.

She said she couldn’t, Balfour said. There was no procedure for that. The Snellville senator said he wouldn’t sign the check.

Ultimately, Balfour said, it took a meeting with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and the secretary of the Senate to get his way. He was paid for four days.

“If it had happened to somebody else, it would have been funny,” Balfour said.

10 comments
jimwalls
jimwalls

Should have asked Judson Hill for advice. He's always losing his check and getting them to cut a new one.


DS
DS

Uh oh. Better not tell Josh McKoon and Sam Olens. They'll start another lengthy legal proceeding costing at least six figures to go after Balfour and that $173.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

So GA state senator Strikethree wants kudos for doing the right thing?

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

The question you should have asked him Jim, would he have been so studious about rectifying the issue had he NOT just have had his (a)ss hauled into court about being open to getting money that did not belong to him?  And since GA has a 40 day legislative session, why is he blowing off a day to travel to Austin on some BS boondoggle trip?

honested
honested

@Kamchak  

On the other tab I'm watching a song about the Leadership of the General Assembly, Gil Scott Heron's 'Winter In America', a little ditty about what happens when the ethically challenged stay in charge.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@DS  

So you are saying that if what a public official steals is less than the cost to prosecute him, we should just forgo any indictment?

DS
DS

I'm saying politicians should fight their political battles in legislative chambers and at the ballot box, not with expensive legal battles in court. Last time around, the wayward expense reports were for a small amount of money, which Balfour had already repaid, with fines. It was misuse of the courts for hardball politics. I'm no fan of Balfour, but really don't like it when politicians gum up the courts with a legal hit job. Waste of time and taxpayer money.

honested
honested

@DS I do wish sam olens was a better AG and less afraid of the Southern Company.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@DS  

The snark in me wants to say "Kenneth Starr says what?" but lets keep it in a local level.

I don't disagree with your comment about abusing the the court system to win political battles - but...


The oversight system, such as it is, failed.  It continues to fail and we have the fox guarding the hen house.  Balfour should have been stripped of his Senate leadership posts and censured for his repeated "mistakes" in addition to repaying the monies and fines but that did not happen.  The state legislature had the opportunity to send a strong message to its members that violating the 7th commandment was HUGE no-no, yet they declined to do so given Balfour's political clout.


Sometimes you have a send to message to everyone that making poor choices has negative consequences and sometimes that message is expensive.