Centerville Council OKs Municipal Court appointments

CENTERVILLE -- City Attorney Rebecca Tydings was sworn in Tuesday as the city’s Municipal Court prosecuting attorney.

But Tydings’ activities as prosecutor will be short-lived when she appoints the city’s present Municipal Court prosecutor, Gregg Bell, as assistant Municipal Court prosecutor. Bell will then carry on his full slate of responsibilities just as he currently does.

The switch in titles comes as result of a new Georgia measure standardizing the role of municipal attorneys statewide.

For the first time, the state recognizes and makes uniform community’s rights to have a prosecuting attorney in its municipal court and sets certain requirements for them.

Among those requirements is that Municipal Court prosecutors must follow cases if they should move from Municipal Court to State Court.

Tydings said such moves a rare, but if it happens she, not Bell, would take the case to State Court.

She and city officials maintain it’s just a matter of potentially saving the city money.

The maneuver would keep Bell, who is a part-time city employee as Municipal Court prosecutor, from having to be paid to go and sit in State Court if the need arises.

Even though Centerville has had a Municipal Court prosecuting attorney since 2004, it was required by the new state measure to pass an ordinance creating the position, renew any appointment to that position and notify the state of the appointment.

Council did so unanimously during their Tuesday work session and swore Tydings in as well as approving the appointment of Bell as assistant.

According to the new ordinance, the Municipal Court prosecuting attorney, and in Centerville’s case the assistant Municipal Court prosecuting attorney, represents the city in matters pertaining to ordinance violations of city and state offenses enforceable in Municipal Courts as set forth by Georgia law.

Such offenses include traffic and code violations within the city.

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannel@gmail.com.