Madison County wrestler Joey Cash overpowers
his Pickens County opponent on his way to a first period pin.
The Raiders downed Pickens County and Gainesville Tuesday night
to improve to 11-9 on the year. See page 8A for the story.
Photo by Zach Mitcham
meeting turns ugly
BOC chairman calls law on probate judge
BY FRANK GILLISPIE
A routine meeting of the Madison County Board of Commissioners
erupted into controversy Monday night as one elected official
called sheriff's deputies to apprehend an elected judge.
The incident centered on a dispute regarding pay in the clerk
of court's office.
After the BOC completed work on the 2000 county policy as required
at the beginning of each year by state law, commission chairman
Wesley Nash asked the board to reconsider changes in the pay
schedule for the clerk of court's office. The board awarded approximately
$7,000 in pay increases for that department at its last meeting.
Nash indicated that the pay raises approved by the board resulted
in the clerk's employees receiving 100 percent of scheduled pay
raises this year while the remainder of county employees will
receive half this year and half next year. Nash asked that the
change be modified to bring the clerk of court staff in line
with other county employees.
Madison County's constitutional officers have the freedom to
use their salary budgets as they see fit. The board has the power
to set the total amount available for payroll in each department.
The amendment sought by chairman Nash would have reduced the
budget for the clerk of court's office.
Probate Judge Donald "Hoppy" Royston objected from
the audience, saying that Clerk of Court Michelle Strickland
spent an hour at the previous meeting seeking the right to pay
her staff the extra money, and it was not fair to change the
rules without her present. Chairman Nash said Judge Royston was
out of order. Judge Royston responded that John Scoggins had
been allowed to speak from the audience earlier.
Nash then asked Judge Royston to leave. When he refused, Nash
suspended the meeting to call for a deputy. Judge Royston asked
board members present who were trying to mediate the dispute
if they thought he should leave. Commissioner Bruce Scogin said
that as a friend, not a commissioner, that it might be best.
Judge Royston then left the room. After the meeting, Judge Royston
said, he decided to do the "gentlemanly thing" and
leave without further conflict.
Judge Royston is scheduled to meet with the board in a work session
at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 10, to discuss the pay schedule for
The entire dispute became mute when Chairman Nash's request died
for lack of a motion. Commissioner Scogin said that he was not
comfortable with the action because the two commissioners - Nelson
Nash and Patsy Pierce - who proposed the changes were not present.
Before the dispute erupted, the board approved extensive changes
in county policy, replacing the old policy of legal fees for
commissioners with new rules reflecting the recent amendments
put forward by commissioner Scogin. The policy quotes extensively
from state law and allows only expenditures in defense of commissioners
to be paid by county funds. It moves most of the personnel statements
from county policy to the new personnel policy. It modifies the
rule on closing meetings to discuss personnel matters to bring
them in line with Georgia law.
visions for 2000
Madison County government leaders have
plenty of New Year's resolutions for 2000.
For example, county commission chairman Wesley Nash said he'd
like to see quick action on the construction of a new county
jail this year.
Nash wants the board of commissioners to hire an architect by
Feb. 15 to oversee construction of the new jail, which is expected
to take 12 months. Six architects are currently being considered
for the job.
Nash said improving county roads is also a major goal. He said
12 roads are slated to be paved this year. Roads scheduled for
paving are Lloyd Road and Cecil Stuart Road in Ila; Old Royston
Road, county road (CR) 147- Old Ila Road, CR 158, CR 174, CR
173, CR 140, CR 99, CR 59, CR 222 and CR18.
Three state-financed bridges and culverts are also on the list
for this year. Nash said he is seeking state funding to widen
Neese-Commerce Road and Nowhere Road from the county line to
Sanford. If he is successful, he will seek a paving contract
for these roads next year.
Nash also said he'd like to see a solid plan on the table for
traffic around the new Hull-Sanford Elementary School.
Other goals include getting a grant to link sewage services along
Hwy. 98. Nash is seeking grant money for a community center at
the recreation department. He also wants to revamp local legislation
and implement a purchasing policy for the county.
Asked what his goals for 2000 are at Monday night's commissioners'
meeting, District 1 commissioner Bill Taylor said it is important
that the commissioners work together to develop positive growth
for the county. He supports expansion of the new county water
system in the Dogsboro area.
Commissioner Melvin Drake of District 4 also listed harmony in
government as the most important mission for the year. He wants
to concentrate on completion of current projects including the
water system and the new jail.
District 5 commissioner Bruce Scogin said a uniform purchasing
policy is badly needed, along with a line item budget for each
Danielsville Mayor Glenn Cross said he wants to see something
done about the traffic congestion in Danielsville every morning
and afternoon. He said he would also like to see the completion
of sidewalk projects for Hwy. 29 north, Crawford Long and Madison
Colbert Mayor John Waggoner said he'd like to see the city begin
renovation and restoration of the old Colbert elementary school
as well as the city depot. He said the exterior of the depot
needs "complete redoing." Waggoner said the streets
in the city cemetery should be paved. He also said he'd like
to see the completion of water line relocations for the Hwy.
72 road widening project. He said about 75 percent of the water
lines have been relocated.
School superintendent Dennis Moore said the school system will
continue to "seek programs and opportunities for kids to
be successful" in 2000.
He said he looks forward to the new Hull-Sanford Elementary School
opening in the fall of this year. Likewise, he pointed out that
school leaders are considering opening before school programs
- perhaps beginning at 6:30 a.m. - to complement the after school
programs already in place. Interest in such a setup has been
expressed at Colbert Elementary School, Moore said.
The superintendent also said he is looking forward to the opening
of the regional evening school on Wednesday, Jan. 19.
Moore added that schools will introduce more technology in the
classrooms over the coming year - BellSouth recently awarded
Madison, Clarke and Barrow County schools $150,000 in technology
And he praised the commitment of new University of Georgia College
of Education head Lewis Castenell to working with area school
systems. Moore said UGA will assist Madison County with grant
writing and reshaping teacher preparations, with juniors and
seniors at the college spending more time in area classrooms.
Industrial Development Authority chairman Steve Sorrells sums
up the authority's goals for this year in one phrase, "to
finish what we started."
The authority is overseeing the construction of a water system
"If we can do that, we've got a plate full," Sorrells
said Tuesday, adding that the authority also wants to "seriously
consider" the possibility of sewage for the Dogsboro area.
Then there is the 80-plus acre Madico Industrial Park located
between Comer and Danielsville, which is an area the authority
wants to turn its attention to as goals for the Dogsboro area
"That area has a tremendous infrastructure that can serve
the entire county," Sorrells said. "And we want to
look very closely at that.
Compiled by Margie Richards, Frank Gillispie and Zach Mitcham.