Political notebook: Getting schooled

February 14, 2014 

Peach County moved closer to having its Workforce Development Center under construction this week.

County commissioners decided not to start the program until a maintenance agreement is in place with the county school system, but that’s expected to be completed and approved soon.

International City Builders of Warner Robins, though, has been approved as the low bidder with a base bid of $1.862 million, said Paul Schwindler, who is the county engineer and the director of public works.

The building, at about 16,000 square feet, will host a training center run by Central Georgia Technical College. Course offerings will include classes for commercial drivers licenses.

Peach County will contribute about $1 million in in-kind work to grade the 10-acre site. Peach County is also responsible for costs above what two state grants, at $500,000 each, will cover.

Schwindler said the goal is to open the center in November, but weather may change that.

Politics and the law

A judge rejected former Macon-Bibb County Commission candidate Henry Ficklin’s request for attorney’s fees from his successful lawsuit to get a new election. Ficklin sued the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections and candidate Larry Schlesinger over a runoff election which, ultimately, everyone including a judge decided was too flawed.

Schlesinger won in the redo. Somewhere along the way, Ficklin asked for $30,991.40 in legal fees and costs. This week, a judge ruled that Schlesinger was right to raise issues such as whether an interim commissioner could be appointed. The judge granted Ficklin $525.30 in court costs alone. Schlesinger told The Telegraph this week he’ll pay.

Also this week, a Bibb County judge agreed to drop the elections board from a lawsuit, adding Stephen Allen in its place. John Swint brought the lawsuit last month, saying Allen should no longer be representing the Bibb County Democratic Party on the elections board. The elections board had asked a judge to order Swint to pay its legal fees.

Separately, a federal judge gave Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Mallory Jones until the end of the month to file a request for legal fees in his federal court case, which established the date of the election. A judge much earlier approved an agreement between Jones and the elections board to hold the election. Jones is now working on his second time extension. The case was closed a month ago.

Houston County qualifying set

The Houston County Republican Party will handle qualifying from 9 a.m. March 3 through noon March 7 at 2036 Watson Blvd., Warner Robins. Fees are payable by cashier’s check or money order to the Houston County Republican Party. For more information, call 719-3533.

Other details of independent and nonpartisan qualifying appeared in last week’s Political Notebook, which can be found online at www.macon.com.

Walk with Perry government

Perry Mayor James Faircloth Jr. and the Perry City Council invite people to the “Walk with Mayor and Council,” beginning at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25. The event had been rescheduled from January because of weather.

People should park in the open lot across from Kimberly’s Barbeque on Walcott Street. Walkers will travel down Walcott Street, take a left onto Patterson Street, merge back into Walcott Street, take a right onto Joe Louis Drive and turn right on Walcott Street again.

More sign up for Obamacare

An organization called Get Covered America said the number of Georgians enrolling in private plans through www.healthcare.gov grew 58 percent since Dec. 29. In all, since open enrollment began, 101,276 Georgians have enrolled.

The news release from the organization doesn’t mention how many people had problems trying to enroll through a malfunctioning website prior to Dec. 29.

Writer Mike Stucka compiled this report.

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