News - Jackie Barrett (2)

For quitting her job, but keeping her paycheck

Here's some chutzpa for ya. Hinting that her long-anticipated resignation is imminent, our embattled Fulton County sheriff calls a Friday press conference, only to announce that she's stepping aside. Not leaving office, mind you, just taking a vacation of sorts — for the rest of the year.

Say what? It seems that Barrett — a no-show at her own press conference, letting her attorney do her talking — intends to keep drawing her regular salary but doesn't plan to actually do her job.

The question we have is not "how is this possible?" but, rather, "how is this any different from what she's been up to for the past three months or more?"

Let's face it, ever since the scandal over her squandering of $2 million in a questionable investment broke in late March, Barrett has made almost no public appearances and has essentially been invisible at the jail, which has fallen into worse shambles than its past notorious disrepair. With no oversight, her underlings have seen fit to rent the space out for music videos, even as a prisoner strolled out the side door.

So, Barrett says through her mouthpiece, the state is free to appoint (and pay) someone to do her job while she kicks back and chills. Keep in mind that a federal judge has already relieved Barrett of her jail-related duties and appointed a manager to serve in her place. Now she expects someone else to be hired at taxpayer expense to handle her other chores, which include providing courtroom security and handing out warrants.

But this is a selfless move for Barrett, her attorney announced with a straight face, because "all she wants to do is to stop the bitterness and partisanship." This gesture, he said, would "let the county heal" by removing her as a political punching bag.

What it's more likely to do is provide more work for attorneys to figure out the legality of Barrett's maneuver, since there's no precedent for having an elected official be paid to remain in office while someone else does the work.

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