Fulton Residents Call Chair Rob Pitts, “Sexist”, “Detached” for Comments About Women in Leadership

by Fulton Watch

Happy International Women’s Month! While companies and organizations are lifting women leaders and reminding us that we’ve “come a long way,” that sentiment is far from the lips and heart of Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts. Despite recently winning re-election in Fulton County with the support of groups like “Women for Pitts,” Pitts, who’s in his late 70s according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,  let his prehistoric attitude toward women leaders show.

During a Fox 5 News broadcast, Pitts summarized a legitimate procedural and protocol disagreement between Fulton County Magistrate judges and the appointed clerk, Cathelene “Tina” Robinson,  as “two grown women [who] can’t get along.”

He referred to the dispute as “silly and downright embarrassing.”

However, male and female judges signed the “no confidence” petition against Fulton Clerk Robinson, something that Pitts alluded to in his interview, and seemingly went unnoticed by the Fox 5 reporter.

According to some of the members of the Fulton Commission, it is actually the failure of Pitts’ leadership that created this longstanding issue that adversely impacts Fulton residents and should have been resolved years ago.

While Chairman Pitts has been a politician for many years, there is nothing on record where he has described public entanglements or public debates among men as “two grown men who can’t get along.”

“These are almost certainly words that he would not have used to describe a dispute between two male elected officials. I even voted for the man, but his word choice was dismissive and seemed vindictive. Not only was it sexist, but it also made him look detached from the current era we’re living in,” said Fulton County resident Jaylan Summer.

Summer says she was unaware of the conflict between the Fulton judges and the clerk’s office, but after “looking up” the information herself, she agrees the magistrate court should have the authority to hire or fire the clerk.

The bigger part of this story and what Pitts’ tone-deaf comments overlook is that this dispute has been in the public space since 2018. The dispute is about inefficiency for Fulton County residents and differences in how processes should be carried out.

The face of the dispute has historically been the two elected officials, Chief Magistrate Judge Cassandra Kirk and Clerk of Superior Court Cathelene “Tina” Robinson. Robinson, who serves by appointment as the Magistrate Court clerk, has been in the news before for making a salary of over $500,000 a year and for court processes being backed up, creating inconvenience for those who use the court. Since 2018, this is the first time that another face has emerged.

In an unprecedented move, all full-time judges of the Fulton County Magistrate Court wrote a letter to Chief Magistrate Judge Kirk, indicating a lack of confidence in the current clerk and her handling of the appointed clerk function. They urged Fulton County to consider a new structure – one that separates them from this clerk, something that has been echoed for years to the Fulton Board of Commission, but no action has been taken.

The Magistrate Court of Fulton County was created in 2014 and spent 2015 paired with the State Court as the FY2015 budget had been submitted before the Chief Judge’s appointment. The County Commission failed to staff the Court fully at its inception, providing only 39 employees to run the busiest Magistrate Court in the state of Georgia. And, in 2016, the Chief Magistrate Judge brought her 39 employees and took a chance on consolidation by appointing the “Superior Court Clerk” to serve as the “Magistrate Clerk.”

Fulton Watch can conclusively say, the experiment failed.

According to insiders, the lack of collaboration with Clerk Robinson started almost immediately following her appointment on January 1, 2016. Robinson steadfastly refused to perform mandatory legal duties according to various records. The Chief Magistrate Judge tried conversation, mediation, and finally, a lawsuit to address the improper usage and placement of deputy clerks supposedly appointed to magistrate court duties, improper or poor training of clerical staff on case types and processes, and refusal to offer services which provide Fulton residents more access to the court, to name a few issues.

Pitts missed the point that all the judges of the court, male and female, want this clerk out and for the current chief magistrate to appoint a new clerk who embraces a better, more open court clerical process to benefit Fulton court users.

This is not simply about two female elected officials disagreeing, it never was.


Fulton Watch report contributed and written by Dr. A’Cire Newby

Dr. A’Cire Newby is a mother, advocate, and entrepreneur who pays attention, lives life out loud, and engages thoughtfully with others.

Have a news tip for Fulton Watch? Submit your news tip or article here.

You may also like

Fulton Watch is your one-stop news source for the latest news and updates about all things Fulton County: Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Sandy Springs and more! Follow us now to get the news that matters to you.

Copyright © 2023 Fulton Watch. created by Sawah Solutions.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy