Outgoing Probate Court Judge William Self will not give up without a fight.
Self told The Telegraph on Friday that he plans to have his office largely closed Monday -- New Years Eve -- and may close it altogether before Bibb County commissioners want him to.
Commissioners wrote a letter to Self on Dec. 20 after deciding unanimously that Selfs office had to be open for business on Monday, New Years Eve, just as the rest of the courthouse had to be open. The county holiday is celebrated Tuesday on New Years Day.
For New Years Eve, Self said he plans limited counter service, receiving only filings and handling marriage and gun licenses. Self said historically no one shows up on the afternoon of New Years Eve, so he may close early.
On Wednesday, Self replied to commissioners, beginning his letter like this: While I hope that you each had a very Merry Christmas with family and others whom you hold dear, it seems we must battle until the end.
Self noticed on the Friday before Christmas, the day after he received the letter, that he closed his own Probate Court at 4 p.m. He found the civil and magistrate courts had already closed, and found the commissioners offices, human resources and finance offices nearly empty. He saw the county parking lot was about 60 percent full.
Because commissioners threatened to not fully pay employees who dont work a full day on New Years Eve, Self asked for the time cards of the human resources and finance offices for the Friday before Christmas to see who left early.
Self wrote the letter himself, without involving lawyer Kerry Howell, who represented Self in an earlier lawsuit against commissioners. That lawsuit involved Selfs powers to run his own office and pay his staff as he sees fit. Self said another intervention by the County Commission could involve legal action.
If the Board takes any further action against me, refuses to pay my employees regardless when I decide to dismiss any of them on Monday, or refuses to pay Mr. Howell for his continued representation of me, he will, of necessity, become actively involved and all communications with me must be directed to him as my attorney, Self wrote.
The more things change ...
A Telegraph reporter wound up on the Internet looking at an electronic version of The Free Lance-Star, a Virginia newspaper.
There on Page A12 is a description of a top congressmen vowing, We will be here until doomsday! to avert a budget dispute -- just before most legislators left for Christmas.
A few bigwigs were back in their offices yesterday, but otherwise, the flow of government business was hard to detect, the Associated Press story in the paper read. Negotiations continued, but not well: Congressional and administration budget staffers met behind closed doors to prepare the groundwork for meetings between the president and congressional leaders in one more attempt ...
On the opinion page, a columnist railed against how easy it was to obtain weapons, and an editorial spoke of hearing too much about school violence, school prayer, diverting money to private schools, censoring the Internet and Newt Gingrich. The paper wanted to hear in the coming year about American troops returning home safely from war, and peace breaking out on Capitol Hill.
Sounds pretty contemporary, right? It was the Dec. 29, 1995, edition of the Fredericksburg, Va., paper. Same stuff, different decade.
Hes got competition
Richard Chef Weldon, 55, is running for the Warner Robins City Council Post 5 seat in the November 2013 race, he said this week.
Meanwhile, incumbent Daron Lee, 42, confirmed he will seek re-election next year. Weldon called The Telegraph to ensure the public knows Lee will have competition.
He feels like hes going to be running unopposed again, Weldon said. But hes not. Im running against him.
Weldon said he has been going door-to-door for the better part of six months meeting residents in his desired post. He is on the Warner Robins Downtown Development Authority and is a community activist, he said.
The North Davis Drive area needs to be revitalized, and the council should be helping the mayor sell the city to industries and business as a way to bring more jobs to the city.
Weldon said Lees comment about wanting to see some undone projects completed deserves a response:
Hes been in there four years. Why hadnt those things been done?
Lee said he welcomes the competition.
The Human Resources Committee of the task force bringing about Macon-Bibb County consolidation is slated to meet at 1 p.m. Thursday in the offices of the Middle Georgia Regional Commission, 175 Emery Highway, Macon. The discussion will focus on types of pension systems and a timeline for decisions about pension plans. The meeting is expected to last two hours.
Writers Mike Stucka and Christina M. Wright contributed to this report.