November 2015, Vol.9 , No.11 Past issues | Subscribe | Printer Friendly | Advertise | eMagazine Archives
From left to right: Elijah Anderson, Gus Elliot and Kelly Parry.

Gus Elliott is a life-long resident of Georgia. Growing up in Valdosta, he attended Valwood School, where he played high school football and basketball. After graduating high school, Elliott moved to Athens to study at the University of Georgia, graduating in 2013 with bachelors' degrees in political science and religion. He is currently studying public management and policy as a second-year student in UGA’s Master of Public Administration program, and he hopes to work in public service and government at the state or federal level after he finishes school. Elliott has spent nine summers working at Athens Y Camp for Boys in Tallulah Falls, serving for the past five years as a program director. In his spare time, he enjoys watching movies and cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs. Over the course of his internship, Elliott will conduct research on the Business Occupational Tax Submittal System (BOTSS) program that will include determining which counties participate, how the system works, gathering data from state agencies, identifying the benefits for those that participate and making recommendations on how to better educate others on the system and its benefits. He will also follow the work of the House and Senate Annexation, Deannexation and Incorporation Study Committees, and work on tax-related and public safety projects. 

Kelly Parry is a Georgia native and a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. After completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology, Parry taught as an elementary school English language instructor in Istanbul, Turkey. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University (GSU) with a concentration in management and finance. Kelly also works as a Graduate Research Assistant with GSU’s Center for State and Local Finance. A resident of Reynoldstown, Parry enjoys keeping up with Atlanta’s art and music communities and taking spontaneous road trips. During her internship, Parry will analyze and update historical SPLOST data, create reports and statistics on and prepare presentations for the Georgia County Internship Program, write research articles for the Countyline e-Newsletter, analyze data and create reports from county surveys, attend meetings and provide additional research assistance as needed.  

Elijah Anderson is a Master of Public Administration candidate attending Georgia State University. Born and raised in Metro Atlanta, Anderson obtained his undergraduate degree in political science at Georgia Southern University. During his time at Georgia Southern, he was awarded scholarships to participate in study abroad trips to the countries of Egypt, Albania, Greece, Montenegro and Kosovo. Now working toward his Master’s degree, Anderson is living in downtown Atlanta and working as a Graduate Research Assistant at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. When not studying, he enjoys traveling, reading and exploring north Georgia’s hiking trails. Over the course of his internship, Anderson will analyze and prepare information on incorporation trends, finalize work on the fundamentals of county and city government, compile data on casino and gambling operations and requirements on a national basis, write research articles for the Countyline e-Newsletter, assist with projects relating to the Georgia State Firefighters Association (GSFA), attend meetings and provide additional research assistance as assigned.
Many counties, sheriffs’ departments and cities have combined forces to develop multi-jurisdictional drug task forces, sometimes with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the federal government. The intergovernmental agreements for these task forces vary significantly in their terms, particularly in the amount of consideration given to how much liability each governmental entity has for the actions of the drug task force.

A recent court decision involving a multi-jurisdictional drug task force has generated concern regarding the current agreements and the insurance policies meant to protect the counties against claims resulting from these drug task forces. The Georgia Supreme Court agreed with the plaintiff’s attorney that a Stephens County officer was an "officer" of Rabun and Habersham counties and, therefore, covered under their policies as well as the Stephens County policy.1  This decision exposed two counties to increased liability and future premium increases because of the actions of another county’s employee. 

In an effort to reduce the risk to one county when working with another county or city, ACCG staff recently met with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) staff, which oversees the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne JAG) for federal funding for these task forces, as well as the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association in regards to the intergovernmental agreements used to create these drug task forces. A Sample Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force Agreement has been developed for use by the governmental entities that participate in multi-jurisdictional task forces using Byrne JAG funding. The sample agreement attempts to clarify the county’s liability by including the following: 
  • The sample agreement is a mutual aid agreement pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 36-69-1 et seq. This task force is NOT a joint venture/partnership.
  • The sample agreement clarifies that personnel assigned to the drug task force by one county or city are not employees, volunteers or agents of the drug task force or of any other county or city for any purpose. Specifically, this means that a county should not be responsible for any liability resulting from the acts of an employee of another county or city participating in the drug task force. The agreement also specifies that a county should not be responsible for providing benefits to the employees of another county or city that participate in the drug task force, even if a sheriff has deputized the employees of the other county or city.

  • The drug task force created by the sample agreement is not a separate legal entity. No property, equipment or vehicles may be titled in the name of the drug task force. All property used by the drug task force must be titled to the county or city that has the financial interest in the property. 
  • Each county and city is responsible for insuring its own governing authority and its sheriff’s office or police department personnel participating on the drug task force.

  • Each entity expressly declines responsibility for the acts or omissions of another party and/or its elected officials, officers, agents, volunteers and employees, unless otherwise agreed to in writing. 
This language should be helpful in reducing risk for all counties that are participating in multi-jurisdictional drug task forces, even if they do not seek federal funding through the CJCC. The sample agreement can be modified for use by jurisdictions that work collaboratively to reduce drug use, sales, trafficking and other criminal activity without Byrne JAG funding.  

Whether your county uses the sample agreement or another intergovernmental agreement to establish its drug task force, you should ask your county attorney to carefully review the agreement under which the drug task force operates to ensure that liability and insurance coverage obligations are clearly assigned to the appropriate parties – and reflect the reality of the county’s insurance coverage.  

If additional assistance is needed regarding multi-jurisdictional task forces and ACCG-IRMA coverage, please contact Ashley Abercrombie, Deputy Director of Insurance Programs at (404) 589-7828 or For questions about your county’s liability for participation in a multi-jurisdictional drug task force, please consult your county attorney.

How to Create Charts and Maps Using Census Data
By Elijah Anderson and Kelly Parry, ACCG Research Interns

Last month, readers were introduced to some of the data and tools available on the website for the U.S. Census ( Specifically, the article provided instructions for creating and modifying tables of census data concerning various topics of interest through the use of the QuickFacts Beta tool. While data tables are useful in the organization and initial viewing of statistics and figures, they are not necessarily the most visually compelling way to share data. In this second part of our census data series, readers will learn how to use the QuickFacts Beta tool to create charts and maps to use when presenting data. 

Please click here for step-by-step instructions on how to create these graphics. 
University of Georgia Student, Dillon Thompson, Interns with the Oconee County Tourism Department
Dillon Thompson, a Political Science and History major at the University of Georgia, interned with the Oconee County Department of Tourism as part of the 2015 Summer Georgia County Internship Program. Previous to this experience, Thompson had little familiarity with county government operations. Thompson was hired to assist the Tourism Department with event planning for the Eagle Tavern Museum and the development of advertisements and other promotional materials. 

Thompson’s main responsibilities throughout his internship included managing the Department’s social media outlets, making improvements to the county’s tourism website and providing public tours of the Eagle Tavern Museum. In addition, Thompson assisted in the planning of community events held at the Eagle Tavern.
Through this experience, Thompson gained a thorough understanding of the day-to-day operations of county government and learned the importance of interdepartmental cooperation on county projects. 

Thompson felt his work improving the department’s website through the addition of photos, blog posts, and listings of community events and activities was the most significant success of his internship. He also took considerable pride in his work developing tourism brochures and other promotional advertisements for Oconee County. 
When asked about his favorite part of the internship, Thompson noted that working in local government afforded him the opportunity to interact with and assist new people on a daily basis. Through this interaction, Thompson reported he was able to strengthen his interpersonal skills and the ability to identify and address the needs of clients. 

Although Thompson is unsure of the career path he wishes to take following graduation, he expressed that interning with Oconee County opened his eyes to the dynamic career opportunities available in local government. Thompson felt that his experience working for the Department of Tourism enhanced his leadership skills and will ultimately benefit him in his future career. He credited the professionalism of his fellow staff members and the supportive atmosphere they cultivated for making his internship experience so worthwhile. 

For more information on the GCIP, please visit the ACCG Civic Affairs Foundation website at
B & B Oil Company, Inc.
ACCG, Georgia's County Association
191 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 700
Atlanta, GA 30303
phone: 404-522-5022 | fax: 404-525-2477 |

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