Macon City Councilwoman Elaine Lucas, whos seeking the District 3 seat on the consolidated Macon-Bibb County commission-to-be, usually brags about her attendance record in her quarter-century on council. That may be why a recent Telegraph story so obviously struck a nerve.
At this weeks Appropriations Committee meeting, Chairman Tom Ellington noted that Councilman Henry Ficklin was absent because he had a prior commitment in Savannah.
That prompted Lucas to speak up and say the reasons for council members absences should be noted in meeting minutes, since the media wants to make a big deal out of it.
In a Feb. 11 review of all council members attendance during the previous year, it emerged that Lucas was actually in the bottom third, missing 14 meetings in 2012. Ficklin missed 16. The average number of absences was nine, with only one council member -- Frank Tompkins -- having a perfect record.
At the time, Lucas said her absences were all due to illness, travel or tending to her mother. Ficklin later said all his absences were for good reasons too.
Explanations for absences arent currently required in meeting minutes, but Lucas said shell talk about adding them at the next meeting of councils Rules Committee, which she chairs.
The Telegraph routinely reports on council meeting absences only when a vote is taken, to explain why the vote count is off. Reasons for absences generally arent stated. The reasons are not always known when a meeting happens, and some council members have asked for home-security reasons that it not be publicized when theyre out of town for several days.
Take my job -- please
Bibb County Commissioner Joe Allen wants more candidates for county commission, and hes not afraid to repeat himself on Facebook as he solicits help.
STOP MOANING AND GET INVOLVED. DO YOU WANT CHANGE???? Allen wrote before going on to quote an earlier solicitation of his: Now if you want to do something for Macon-Bibb. Get involved. Try to find people to run for every seat on the Board of Commissioners. Includling (sic) me.
Allen previously said hed stand behind his word not to run again for a commission district seat if voters approved Macon-Bibb County consolidation and a special purpose local option sales tax. Allen is now considering a run for the mayors job or chairmanship of the Macon Water Authority.
Commissioners no longer dirtying Crawford County
Crawford County commissioners decided earlier this month that theyve had their share of dirt.
A county dirt policy -- offered for years as a service to residents -- has often been talked about, and has even included allegations of corruption. Earlier this month, Commissioner John Thomas asked County Manager Pat Kelly for the results of a cost analysis. Kelly said the countys cost of mining and delivering a load of dirt was $104, while the county was charging $50.
Thomas told commissioners the county needed to get out of the dirt delivery business and allow private companies to fill the need. Other commissioners agreed, and a motion to stop delivering dirt passed 5-0.
Russell Thomas named Putnam solicitor general
On Friday, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed attorney Russell Spivey Thomas to become solicitor general of Putnam County. The vacancy was created by the appointment of R. Michael Gailey Jr. to a post as State Court judge. Thomas will be responsible for prosecuting criminal cases in State Court and Municipal Court.
Thomas runs a law office in Eatonton, where he lives. He has also prosecuted violations of county ordinances in Magistrate and State courts and served as a probate judge pro hac vice in Putnam County. He received his bachelors and law degrees from the University of Georgia.
Chambliss = conservative
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia was ranked by National Journal Magazine as the 11th most conservative member of the U.S. Senate. The magazine ranked him as the most conservative member in 2010, based on all the roll-call votes from the previous year.
Representatives named to national board
Some local state representatives will serve with the National Conference of State Legislatures after appointments by House Speaker David Ralston.
State Rep. Bubber Epps, R-Dry Branch, was appointed to serve on the Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee.
State Rep. Robert Dickey, R-Musella, was appointed to the Environment Committee.
No committees of the Macon-Bibb County consolidation task force are scheduled to meet before March 7. On that day, the Human Resources Committee will meet at 1 p.m. and the Technology Committee at 3:30 p.m. All meetings are held in the offices of the Middle Georgia Regional Commission, 175 Emery Highway, Macon.
Writers Jim Gaines and Mike Stucka contributed to this report.