Monroe County is suing Secretary of State Brian Kemp, seeking to have a judge overturn Kemp’s ruling in the border dispute between Bibb and Monroe counties.
Bibb County commissioners voted in committee Tuesday to follow County Attorney Virgil Adams’ recommendation to fight the lawsuit and “pursue expenses of litigation and cost on grounds that such a lawsuit is without any legal or factual basis and is what we consider under the law to be abusive and frivolous.”
The lawsuit essentially is the second effort to appeal Kemp’s decision, which rejected a land survey favored by Monroe County. A Monroe County grand jury also requested another survey of the disputed line if the last survey didn’t establish the line. Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart said Gov. Nathan Deal is looking for a surveyor to take on those duties.
“This seems to be an endless kind of attempt to change the secretary’s decision,” Hart said Tuesday.
Hart said Monroe County’s fight for a new survey and the county’s efforts to uphold the results of the previous survey seem “not useful.”
Monroe County filed the lawsuit Friday in Fulton County Superior Court, which may have jurisdiction over Kemp because of the location of his office.
Monroe County’s petition for judicial review asks that Kemp’s August decision on the border be overturned “in light of the serious errors in the Secretary of State’s” ruling. That would clear the way for a Fulton County judge to force Kemp to uphold the recommendation of Special Assistant Administrative Law Judge John Sherrill. Sherrill ruled the survey by Terry Scarborough -- the one favored by Monroe County -- accurately located the border and followed the law. But Kemp disagreed and threw out the survey.
Kemp already has rejected another kind of Monroe County appeal, a motion for reconsideration, saying the law didn’t allow such an appeal to take place.
Monroe County’s latest appeal effort says it should be allowed under three different legal routes.
Scarborough’s line places part of the Bibb-Monroe border hundreds of feet south of where Bibb County thinks the line is. That line dates from 1822.
A smaller land area involves something called the Holt Alteration of 1877, allowed when a doctor asked to be annexed into Bibb County on property that didn’t actually touch the Bibb County border. Scarborough said that area should be an island of Bibb County within Monroe County, which Bibb County says is absurd.
In Friday’s filing, Monroe County warned that the Holt Alteration issue may have to be settled by the Georgia Supreme Court.
The exact location of the Bibb County border has been in dispute since at least the 1940s. The original 1822 survey establishing the border hasn’t been found by modern researchers.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.