COVINGTON -- After expressing her agreement with Councilman Mike Whatley's statements regarding the council's upcoming retreat, Councilwoman Janet Goodman launched into a defense of the hiring of a new grant writer/finance coordinator who was banned from banking by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 2006.
"Ditto to what Mike said, but I want to talk about Randy's position," she said, referring to Randy Conner, who was hired by the city in December.
In 2006, Conner entered into a stipulation and consent order prohibiting his participation in the conduct of affairs, or voting rights in any insured institution without prior written approval of the FDIC. He also agreed to pay a civil monetary penalty of $10,000.
"I think it's been in the paper too many times, and every time, it's the same thing. I'm not perfect. There wasn't but one (who was) and I've never seen him. People have to be allowed to make mistakes," she said.
Goodman went on to say that the city hires capable people.
"If you're going to hire people and you're not going to trust their judgment then they don't need to be in the position. They researched it, and (Conner) was real open about everything. I just think it's time to leave it alone. Every time I read about it, it was the same thing. I could understand it if something different came up, but it didn't. I don't want to read the same thing over and over again, especially if it's negative," she said, adding that she worked for a newspaper for 18 years and, "I know a little bit about it."
The Citizen published a profile of Conner and explanation of his position on Jan. 1. A follow-up detailing the FDIC consent order was published Jan. 10.
According to the FDIC enforcement order obtained through the FDIC's Web site, the sanction involved Conner's conduct while employed with The Community Bank of Loganville.
Because Conner entered into a consent order and waived his right to an administrative hearing, the case file is not public record, according to an FDIC spokesman.
"I can only say that this type of event is a very serious enforcement action by the FDIC," said spokesman Greg Hernandez.
Conner waived his right to a hearing and signed the consent order without admitting or denying any of those charges.
City of Covington Personnel Director Ronnie Cowan said Conner disclosed the information when he applied for the position of finance coordinator/grantwriter.
"I discussed this with the city attorney, and we felt this was not a matter prohibiting him from being hired by us," Cowan said.
Conner was employed as senior vice president at The Community Bank in Loganville from 2000 to 2003, where he managed the bank's five largest customers; wrote the bank's commercial and consumer loan policy; and wrote budgets, proposals and loan requests for presentation to the senior loan committee, according to employment information he supplied to the city of Covington.
At the time the consent order was issued, he was employed at another bank. In a summary of his employment history supplied to the city, he stated that he left The Community Bank due to "a personal conflict with the bank president."
Conner said that he was limited in what he could divulge due to the requirements of the consent order. However, he would say that he had a business partnership with a customer of The Community Bank, and in accordance with FDIC regulations, he let his supervisor know about the partnership. But the FDIC determined that he should have notified the bank's board of directors, as well, he said.
"It wasn't that I did anything illegal, immoral or shady in any way," he said, adding that, "Nothing I did involved any transactions or loans at the bank."
Conner said he opted to settle the matter due to the cost of fighting the charges in court and the fact that he was already planning to retire from banking.