The state has been awarded a $400,000 federal grant to purchase the historic Ebenezer Crossing tract.
The 250 acre parcel is part of the 1,350 acre Ebenezer Creek watershed, cited by the National Park Service as having the “best remaining cypress-gum forest in the entire Savannah River Basin.”
The watershed is designated as a National Natural landmark.
Both sides in the Chatham County Superior Court clerk salary dispute agree they want to avoid a potential lawsuit.
However, that may be the only thing the two parties agree on as the matter continues to play out behind the scenes.
Dan Massey, who has served as Superior Court clerk since 2005, maintains his position that he has been underpaid. Responding to county commission Chairman Al Scott’s Jan. 14 letter informing him the matter will be put off until budget talks sometime in the next few months, Massey’s attorney inquired about his attorney fees.
“As you are aware, the county has no discretion if a conflict of interest arises between a constitutional office and the commission,” Steve Scheer wrote county attorney Jon Hart in a Jan. 17 letter. “The commission must pay for the constitutional officer’s attorney. The commission has no discretion if a conflict arises.”
Scheer, who also serves as attorney for the city of Pooler, said in his two-page letter that the issue of attorney fees was the sole request he made at the only public discussion on the matter during a commission meeting on Dec. 20.
He also mentioned that Hart had previously stated that he agreed there had been an “underpayment.”
Massey has requested what is in effect an increase to his current $130,522 salary, plus at least $50,000 in back pay dating to 2005. He and his attorney argue the county has not complied with state statutes regarding how his pay is calculated.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
The sex trafficking of minors placed Georgia in the national spotlight after a FBI lists of cities with a high incidence of the crime included Atlanta.
Since then, there’s been a collective effort among advocates, lawmakers, survivors and others to combat sex trafficking.
In part one of this report, WABE’s Rose Scott profiles Georgia’s current attorney general Sam Olens.
Olens calls himself a newbie in the fight against sex trafficking.
He praises national organizations and local advocacy groups such as StreetGrace and YouthSpark who have spent many years in trying to protect Georgia’s children
“It’s been my honor to assist them, but it’s also what we’re supposed to do to protect those that have no one looking out for them.”
Pre-trial proceedings in the theft and conspiracy case against suspended DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis took a full day in court yesterday.
Meanwhile, the man filling in for Ellis spent Thursday touting a new day for the county.
Interim CEO Lee May presented his State of the County address not once – but twice – first to DeKalb business leaders and then the general public.
Most of his plans May has announced before: hiring more fire and police officers, beefing up code enforcement and streamlining the business permitting process.
But May also said he is issuing two executive orders to take effect immediately. The first order will transfer three internal auditing employees out of the CEO’s Office and into the control of the Board of Commissioners. “To ensure that there is no appearance of impropriety, the functions of operations and the functions of audits should be housed in separate areas,” May told a crowd of about 200 Thursday night. “After all we’ve been auditing ourselves for quite some time, and you can kinda see how that’s worked out for us.” May’s veiled reference to the Ellis case drew laughs from the audience.
The DeKalb County school district’s accrediting agency took the school system off of probation this week. The district’s accreditors said whether DeKalb sustains its progress could depend on the results of the November school board elections. But before then, the county needs to establish new district lines.
A law that goes into effect his year reduces the number of DeKalb school board members from nine to seven. State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) sponsored the legislation. Oliver is now working on a bill that will shift school district lines.
“[I'm] not sure we’ll have to make major changes to them,” Oliver says. “But we are working on that right now, new maps.”
Oliver says the district’s two at-large seats will be eliminated. She says there will be some other minor changes.
“We have to make sure that our seven single-member districts have [an] approximately equal number of voters, residents,” she says. “So, those will require some changes.”
ATLANTA | Too often a pet snarling to protect its home or owner is killed by law-enforcement officers due to misunderstanding or lack of training, according to a lawmaker who introduced legislation Thursday to require training.
Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, introduced House Bill 803 along with Democrats Margaret Kaiser of Atlanta and Karla Drenner of Avondale Estates to save more of those dogs.
“We’re having a good many animals put down, shot by police officers,” Benton said.
Benton said he learned of the ongoing problem in Atlanta from the friend of a constituent.
In most cases, dogs are merely acting on instinct, he said.
The training in how to “negotiate encounters with animals and the ways in which a peach officer can control and neutralize an animal” would be part of new officer’s basic instruction. Veterans would have to get it when they return for their existing refresher course requirements.
“I think it’s good practice because these animals are pets,” Benton said. “For the most part they’re not vicious. They don’t know people, and so in some cases the first reaction is to shoot them.”
DECATUR, GA — A former top assistant to DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James says investigators may have broken the law gathering evidence against CEO Burrell Ellis.
Don Geary, former chief assistant district attorney to James, said James showed him a secretly-recorded video, showing Ellis in his office on the phone, raising campaign money. Ellis is accused of shaking down DeKalb County vendors for campaign cash, charges denied by James.
Geary testified that he told James “that it could be the commission of two separate felonies” because the video was recorded in Ellis’s office without his knowledge.
Geary says James took him off the corruption case shortly afterward. Ellis quit in December 2012 “Because I didn’t want to get arrested,” he testified.
Your Georgia Desk:
SPECIAL to GA Pundit
From Randy Evans – GA GOP National Committeeman
The 2014 RNC Winter Meeting effectively kicked off the 2016 Presidential Nomination process with some important decisions.
First, the various regions selected their representatives to the Committee on Arrangements. Linda Herren from Georgia will serve on the Committee as an alternative.
Second, the full RNC adopted a complete rules package which governs the 2016 Presidential nomination process. In effect, the rules package moves back the beginning, moves up the end, and shortens the cooling off or slow down period in the middle. Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada will remain the first four states to select delegates to the 2016 GOP Presidential Nomination.
With the adoption of the rules, the 2016 Republican National Convention will now likely occur in late June or early July.
Otherwise, the RNC adopted various resolutions including one suggested by former Speaker Newt Gingrich and offered by the Paul Reynolds, the National Committeeman from Alabama. The resolution calls for freezing new government regulations in order to allow the businesses and the economy to recover from the extended slowdown.
Your Georgia Desk:
The Benefits of Taking Precautions and Making Tough Decisions
By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)
Over the past few weeks, Georgians have experienced weather much colder than our normal, fairly mild winter temperatures. Schools have closed, roads have iced over, and even a few snowflakes have made an appearance. In response, we’ve bundled our kids up before sending them off to school, pulled a few extra blankets out of the closet and left faucets dripping in order to prevent pipes from freezing. Although we’ve had to take unfamiliar precautions to accommodate the colder weather in the recent weeks, the temperatures we normally associate with Georgia winters have already returned.
The same can be said for our state’s economic growth. A hypothetical cold snap over Georgia’s finances required us to take precautionary measures—and make very difficult decisions—in response to a struggling national economy. We asked state agencies to cut their budgets, furloughed teachers, made changes to the HOPE scholarship requirements and overall worked with a much smaller state budget. This wasn’t easy, but necessary in order to keep Georgia from being irresponsible and spending more than we have.
Governor Deal’s State of the State address a few weeks ago brought some good news about Georgia’s economic outlook in the form of an increased budget recommendation for FY 2015. Continue reading
Your Georgia Desk:
Sen. Hunter Hill: Update from the Capitol
By: Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Smyrna)
Welcome to my 2014 Gold Dome Updates. Over the course of the next Month and a half, I will be sending bi-weekly updates about the issues we are facing in the legislature. Today marks the end of the second week of the 2014 Legislative Session. With an anticipated end of the session in mid-March, we are working our way through the second term of the 152nd legislative session. On the opening day of session, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle kicked-off the 2014 session with a ceremonial call to order, the Pledge of Allegiance and the traditional devotion given by the Chaplain of the Day.
We also welcomed newly-elected Sen. Bruce Thompson of the 14th Senate District and swore-in the new Secretary of the Senate, David A. Cook as. This week, I had the pleasure of introducing two physicians from my district to serve as Doctor of the Day, Dr. Thaddeus Linn, M.D. and Dr. Marvin Rachelefsky, M.D.
Governor Nathan Deal also delivered his annual “State of the State” address on Wednesday, January 15. He highlighted Georgia’s status as the number one state in which to do business, Continue reading