The special grand jury tasked with investigating Gwinnett County land deals did not result in any criminal prosecutions, but its findings did bring about some very tangible changes.
On Nov. 15, 2011, the county approved a “stronger and clear ethics ordinance,” covering everything from “aspirational standards for government service” to more specific definitions of conflict of interest. Four months before that happened, the county enacted a land acquisition policy — “enacted” meaning that there had never before been formal procedures in place.
“Part of that’s just the maturity of an organization,” said Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, who took office in March 2011. “It worked OK for a long time the way it was previously, but clearly it became a case where there needed to be some very specific parameters that were laid out in a written policy that everybody ought to know that they’re going to abide to.”
The policy addresses a number of issues brought up by the grand jury that met in 2009 and 2010.