Political notebook

January 17, 2014 

Retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss has cracked into an exclusive club.

The Moultrie Republican was inducted Thursday into the Peanut Hall of Fame in Tifton.

The Georgia Peanut Commission unanimously selected Chambliss for the highest honor the state’s growers bestow on friends of the fields.

The senator’s portrait will go on display at the GPC headquarters in recognition of his focus on agriculture during his 20 years in Congress and for representing farmers’ legal issues in south Georgia before his election in 1994.

Only four others have been inducted into the hall: former President Jimmy Carter, Georgia House Agriculture Committee Chairman Henry Reeves, former U.S. Sen. Herman Talmadge, and professor J. Frank McGill.

About that other other election lawsuit

While a Telegraph reporter was noting updates in the Henry Ficklin vs. Larry Schlesinger dispute now focused solely on attorney’s fees, and the lawsuit over the Bibb County Democratic Party’s seats on the election board, another lawsuit quietly closed out.

C. Ashley Royal, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, closed out Mallory C. Jones’ federal lawsuit against the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections on Tuesday, while the final election was underway.

Royal ruled that no substantial issues remained in the case, which forced a different election date. Jones asked for and was granted more time to ask for attorney’s fees in the case.

Jones has been a county commissioner since Dec. 31.

Big building, small price

Bibb County school board members were told that their headquarters building at 484 Mulberry St. remained the property of Macon-Bibb County, even though the school board had paid off a loan used to buy the property.

There was a quirk in the lease-purchase agreement that the transfer of the property from the old city of Macon to the school board would require $10. Board members readily offered a motion Thursday to buy the building for $10, though they did not specify a funding source in their motion.

The school system is considering moving its central office to the Hutchings Career Center site on Riverside Drive and moving that program to the Promise Center on Anthony Road. That would free up the Mulberry Street office to be leased or sold, neither of which would happen but for a 10 spot.

Your name here

Even though “Macon City Hall” is graven into the frieze on the front of … Macon City Hall, that’s not what they’re calling it under the new Macon-Bibb County consolidated government.

Since the new government was sworn in Dec. 31, the building has been officially referred to as “Macon-Bibb County Government Center,” though in news releases Public Affairs Director Chris Floore has tacked on “formerly known as City Hall.”

So who made the change?

It was Mayor Robert Reichert’s idea, Floore said. And it wasn’t taken to commissioners for approval, Reichert made the administrative decision, and staff started calling it by the new name.

Reichert wanted to express that the government housed within now covers more than Macon’s former limits, Floore said.

Asked whether the mayor could unilaterally rename the building anything he wanted -- say, “Steve” -- Floore admitted that was technically possible, though unlikely.

The Willie C. Hill City Hall Annex a block away, named for the first black president of City Council, has also undergone a slight revision. It’s now called the Willie C. Hill Government Annex, Floore said in an email. The administration didn’t want to remove Hill’s name, he said. But if Reichert gets the urge to rename any more buildings by fiat, may we suggest “Steve?” It’s a nice name.

Kingston to host Fort Valley barbecue

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat, is bringing his annual thank-you barbecue to Fort Valley on Saturday.

The event for friends and supporters runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hooterville Farms.

“We have had a great year with lots of successes,” said Kingston. “None of it would have been possible without the friendship and support of so many. Libby and I look forward to seeing everyone in Fort Valley to say ‘thank you’ in person.”

The event will feature food and fun for the whole family including corn hole, face painting, music as well as local civic groups and political speeches. It will be held rain or shine and in an airplane hangar, so attendees should dress accordingly. The event is free, but interested people are asked to place a reservation with their name and home county to kris@jackkingston.org or by calling (912) 356-5200.

Staff writers Liz Fabian, Jim Gaines and Mike Stucka contributed to this report.

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