Monday, June 13, 2022

Phone call from L.A.? Political robocalls from DeKalb County's CEO and top prosecutor.

DeKalb County residents have been receiving political robocalls from DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston, with the Caller ID showing a telephone number with the 323- area code, which is the Los Angeles area. The calls promote a Democratic Party June 21 runoff candidate for Georgia Labor Commissioner.

One resident wondered why a lawyer and county official needed to camouflage her unsolicited phone calls by using a telephone number from the other side of the United States. They received the call before 8 a.m. Pacific Time on a Saturday and wondered who would be calling them from the West Coast at that hour.

"While campaign calls and texts are exempt from the Do Not Call List requirements, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act contains specific rules they must follow," the Federal Communications Commission states.

The FCC says "all prerecorded voice message calls, campaign-related and otherwise, must include certain identification information." Specifically: 

"The telephone number of the calling party must be provided, either during or after the message."

However, no number was mentioned during the 51-second Boston robocall, according to a recording provided to PRISM DeKalb. 

Callers who received the Boston robocall also reported receiving one the next day from DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, who did not provide the required number during his 55-second recorded solicitation.

The recorded call from Thurmond displayed a local Atlanta number, with the Caller ID "Amy Roney." When called, that number does not identify its owner or provide any information.

At least one telephone filter has classified the phone number used by Boston as spam. Calling the California number back reaches a voice mail answering as "[candidate's last name] For Georgia."

The FCC encourages the public to file complaints about political robocalls that violate the rules at fcc.gov/complaints. There is no fee for filing an informal complaint.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Feds order DeKalb County to pay damages, adopt anti-discrimination policies and training

DeKalb County must adopt new anti-discrimination policies and training and pay $190,000 in damages and lost wages to a former employee to settle a federal lawsuit alleging county officials retaliated against a woman who complained of sexual harassment, government prosecutors said Friday. 

Federal prosecutors filed the lawsuit earlier this year, alleging that DeKalb County retaliated against Cemetra Brooks, who said she was the subject of unwelcome sexual advances, comment and conduct by the deputy director of the county's Facilities Management Department. 

A month after she filed a sexual harassment complaint with the county, the deputy director's supervisor, the director of Facilities Management, asked the county's human resources office for information that would help him to fire Brooks during her initial six-month probation, federal prosecutors said.

DeKalb County certifies May 24 primary election results

DeKalb County election officials voted on Friday to certify the results of the May 24 primary election and deny any requests for recounts.

The 4-1 vote by the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Board dismissed any recount requests that had been made by any candidates or political parties. The board is not legally required to grant them.

The vote came after executive director Keisha Smith assured the board that ballots "have been accurately tabulated to the assigned candidates of their choice." 

"These results are accurate," Smith said.

"I am satisfied with the results of the hand-count tabulation as well as the outcome of the other races for the May 24 primary," said board member Susan Motter, who made the motion for certification.