Commissioner blasts proposed budget for Fulton County Jail PR campaign

The Fulton County Jail is constantly in the news regarding something that has gone wrong. 

Sheriff Patrick Labat says he inherited emergency conditions that gone unabated. 

Fulton County government leaders believe the sheriff needs help managing his communications to the public.

They are proposing to offer a public relations team for what is described as "messaging" advice.

The idea fell flat, and that's a kind description, when it hit the desks of the commissioners at their Wednesday meeting. 

"We ought to be able to tell our own story," said vice chair Bob Ellis. "This (a $385,000 initial payment) is like throwing taxpayers money in the thrash."

Commissioners note that initial payment covers through December. The amount grows to approximately $1 million over 12 months. 

Jessica Corbitt, a full-time county communications expert described how her office is overwhelmed. 

"We are getting calls from reporters from around the world," Corbitt said. 

The spotlight grew brighter earlier this year when the sheriff had to answer questions about one inmate left undiscovered and deceased with dozens of insect bites all over his torso. 

Neither Corbitt, nor county manager Dick Anderson, could pick up support for the public relations contract. The commissioners held the proposal, telling the officials to come back with more information.