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Diamond Dragons down Buford, lead Region 8-A race
How can a team be ranked second in the state, and be only the
third-best team in their region?
Ask the Buford Wolves.
Coach Chuck Cook and his Jefferson Dragons rolled into Buford
Monday with the lead in the Region 8-A baseball standings, and
came home with that lead extended, thanks to a 5-1 win.
Diamond Panthers look for payback second time through
The Jackson County baseball team began its second trip through
the Region 8-AAA schedule Monday, with a 7-6 loss to Monroe Area.
During the second time around, the Panthers hope to do just what
Monroe did Monday pay back the teams that have beaten them.
Neighboorhood News ..
Fortson case set to open May 14
The trial of accused murderer Tracy Fortson is scheduled to begin
May 14 in Madison County. But a change of venue could still be
in the works.
Search under way for new Comer principal
A committee headed by Robert Harrison has received over 20 applications
for the job of principal of Comer Elementary School.
Ballinger pleads guilty to arson
Arson counts include December 1998 fire at Banks County church.
Jay Scott Ballinger, an admitted Luciferian, pled guilty Friday
on five counts of arson, including the December 31, 1998, fire
at a Banks County church.
DA discusses ordinances for county property at Banks Crossing
The Banks County Development Authority is apparently gearing
up for future growth behind the huge Wal-Mart store at Banks
At a meeting Thursday morning, the DA discussed covenants and
ordinances for the 19.35 acres behind Wal-Mart at Banks Crossing
that the county owns.
The Jackson Herald
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056
NEWS / ADVERTISING
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MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
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MOBILE HOME DESTROYED
This fire completely destroyed a mobile home on
Hwy. 441 in Center late Friday night. Fire officials said no
one was at the mobile home, owned by Esequiel Avesava. The state
fire marshall's office is investigating the cause of the fire.
in Jefferson pay
See City of Jefferson
Department Head Salaries
BY MIKE BUFFINGTON
Pay scales in the City of Jefferson have been controversial for
years. That's especially true for department heads, where infighting
and bickering over compensation has led to a number of heated
Recently, following another round of bickering on the council,
the city again requested outside help in establishing a pay scale
for its staff. Five years ago, the city had a pay plan drafted,
but it was never fully implemented.
But now the issue may be coming to a head. In March, the council
agreed to hire its first recreation director at a base salary
of $38,000, a higher base pay than any other city department
head. That has led to a lot of grumbling among city employees
and is sure to heat up the debate over city pay scales.
OVERTIME AN ISSUE
Overtime pay has long been a sore point in Jefferson pay disputes,
in part because three department heads receive salaries while
the other three are paid hourly. The hourly department heads
all logged overtime in the year 2000, including some $8,774 in
overtime logged by mayor Byrd Bruce's son-in-law, Gary Herndon,
who is in charge of the city's street department. Water superintendent
Mike Arnold logged $1,591 in overtime pay last year while city
clerk Brenda Duncan logged $1,624 in overtime.
The other three city department heads, library director Donna
Butler, police chief Darren Glenn and museum director Tina Harris,
are all on set salaries and don't receive any overtime compensation.
The overtime pay makes a huge difference in city compensation
totals and some privately grumble that it's being abused by some
departments. The highest paid city employee overall last year
was Herndon, who grossed $42,726. Herndon's overtime netted him
more than Glenn, whose base pay was higher, but who can't collect
LONGEVITY A KEY
The pay scale among city employees has long been tied to how
long the employee has worked for Jefferson. Even those who have
transferred to different departments with less responsibility
have often continued to receive larger paychecks based on how
long they've been employed rather than on any set job description.
With a city manager government set to take over January 1, 2002,
some are speculating that Jefferson's department heads will begin
a new round of jockeying in the coming months to lock in current
pay scales before a city manager takes the reins. The change
may encourage some department heads currently paid hourly to
seek salaries based on their gross compensation.
Privately, some close to the city's operations complain that
the real problem with the pay scales is that no one is really
in charge of city operations on a daily basis. Department heads
generally answer only to the mayor or to the councilman assigned
to oversee their department. That structure has led to infighting
among councilmembers over pay scales within departments. It isn't
unusual for one councilman to complain that a secretary in "his"
department is making less than a secretary in another city department.
Comp time also varies among the departments. Even Mayor Bruce
opposed comp time during a recent meeting for an employee who
works several hours on Saturdays. When one councilman suggested
that the employee take off an afternoon during the week to make
up for his half-day of work on Saturday, Bruce opposed the idea
and said the employee should be paid overtime for his weekend
work rather than take comp time.
But in some departments, weekend work is routinely done with
weekday comp time.
Year 2000 Base Gross
| Full-Time Employees
|| Name Dept.
| Shirley Wood
| Steven Bannister
| Byron Brumbalow
| Larry Embrick
| Andrew Fazekas
| David Free
| Tracy Gooch
| Richard Jewell
| Anthony Kelly
| James Larocque
| Rachel Love
| Kevin McElreath
| Trent Morgan
| Matthew Peebles
| Troy Rowell
| Robert Russell
| Dennis Thomas
| Steve Thompson
| John Ward
| Fred Wilson
| Harold Cannon
| David Duck
| Randy Hurley
| Joe Savage
| Donnie Sealey
| Amy Herrington
| Daniel Crowe
| Susan Gooch
| Timothy Head
| Hoyt Love
| Darrin Sealey
| Donell Sealey
| Travis Watson
*Gross income includes overtime and other compensation.
1Fred Wilson isn't a certified officer and therefore his pay
is lower than other officers.
Departments: CH=City Hall; PD=Police Department; ST=Street Department;
WD=Water Department; LB=Library.
Pay rates shown do not include the recent $1.00 per hour raise
for certified city policemen.
Kill Steel Plant Rezoning, Endorse Apartments
JEFFERSON -- A request to rezone 30 acres on Hwy. 441 in Center
for industrial use was denied by the Jackson County Board of
Commissioners Monday night, but the commissioners voted to endorse
a proposal for a 120-unit apartment complex on Progress Road
Tim Brooks and Randall Kersey had requested that the 30 acres
be rezoned from A-2 (agricultural rural farm district) to I-2
(heavy industrial district) with a conditional use permit. The
original plans were to locate a steel mill on the property, but
the buyer decided not to purchase the land. However, the applicant
still wanted the property to be zoned industrial.
At the end of the meeting, Brooks asked why commissioner Tony
Beatty made the motion to deny the request. BOC chairman Harold
Fletcher said the question was "inappropriate at this time."
On another matter, the board of commissioners approved a resolution
requested by the city of Commerce to support the Heritage Crossing
development on U.S. 441 at Progress Road. The endorsement supports
the developer's request for funds to assist in the construction
of 120 units of "affordable housing."
The city of Commerce had issued an endorsement, but the developer's
plans to be annexed into the city fell through when an adjacent
property owner, whose property had to be annexed to bring the
development in, decided not to seek annexation.
The developer will not know until Aug. 1 whether the application
to the Department of Community Affairs is approved. DCA has reportedly
determined that there is a need for such housing in Jackson County.
Also on Monday night, the board of commissioners approved a request
from Jerry Waddell to rezone 20.16 acres at 2816 Jackson Trail
Road from PCFD (planned commercial farm district) to A-R (agricultural
residential district). He plans to locate four homes on the property.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Commerce News.
Board OKs Drainage
Project At High School
Thanks to moisture problems in the concrete
slabs, the renovation project at Commerce High School is running
longer than the Energizer Bunny.
"It's been a nightmare," says superintendent of schools
Larry White, who has had to oversee the project ever since he's
held the job.
The $2 million project was supposed to have been completed in
August 2000. And August 2001 will be closer to the mark.
The project was progressing within the normal bounds of expectations
until school personnel noticed last fall that glue for the new
floor throughout the school appeared to be seeping up out of
Months of speculation and arguing over the cause ensued, but
the end result was a determination that the concrete slabs upon
which the buildings were constructed are saturated with water
to the point that the glue cannot bond.
The Commerce Board of Education got its architect back in, and
he proposed a scenario by which the project would be rectified
and the floors down by April 15. Needless to say, that day came
and went without resolution.
"One big reason for the delay is that in the March board
of education meeting where we discussed the proposal for the
drainage system, the architect recommended three of the five
plans to alleviate the problem," said White. "I wanted
to seek out some local bids in addition to the bids from Bowen
& Watson (the general contractor)."
As it turned out, there was but one more bid, and it was for
$90,233, so the board of education accepted Bowen & Watson's
bid of $87,898, White explained. The company has been authorized
to proceed with the work.
As for the cost, it will be covered by contingency funds built
into the renovation budget, although White concedes, "We
don't need any more surprises."
The project involves a system of French drains with grates and
piping of down spouts in areas where the moisture is above acceptable
"The idea is to take away the surface water," said
The contractor hopes to get that work done in the next month,
but it will most likely be August before students walk on new
floors at CHS.
"If that (the drainage system) does the trick, ideally,
the best time to take up and replace the tiles is when the students
aren't there anyway," White points out. "We hope to
be doing that as soon as school is out."
Virtually all of the rest of the project is completed, except
for the punch list of final details. Over the spring break, the
company installed the flooring and carpet in areas where the
moisture was not a problem the home economics labs and
the new storage area at the media center.
set elections for councils
A key part of the governor's education reform effort of 2000
is about to get under way in Jackson County. By the end of May,
all three local school systems are supposed to have named members
to the newly created Local School Councils. There will be one
seven-member council for every school in the county.
The Jackson County School System has begun the first step in
the process this week by announcing election dates for each of
its schools for parent representatives. There will be two parent
representatives on the council elected by other parents in the
school. There will also be two representatives of the business
community on the councils, one appointed by the board of education
and one appointed by the other members of the council itself.
Two certified teachers will also be elected by their peers to
sit on the council. The seventh member will be the school principal,
who will also act as chairman of the council.
The term of office for each council member is two years starting
July 1. Each council member will be required to attend two days
of training each year and to attend monthly meetings of the council.
The duties of the school councils are mostly advisory and their
recommendations will be forwarded to the boards of education
of the school district. The school board will have 60 days to
respond to the recommendations and can overturn council decisions.
Among the duties of the school councils will be to provide recommendations
to the school board on school calendar issues, dress codes, curriculum
goals, academic performance issues, school budget priorities,
extracurricular activities, school services, communication strategies
and other related subjects.
The following is the schedule for parent elections in the Jackson
County School System:
·Jackson County Comprehensive High School, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday,
·South Jackson Elementary School, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May
8, in the gym.
·East Jackson Middle School, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 8,
in the gym.
·Maysville Elementary School, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May
10, in the gym.
·North Jackson Elementary School, 7 p.m. Thursday, May
10, in the cafeteria.
·West Jackson Primary (K-2 at Jackson County Elementary
School), 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, in the gym.
·West Jackson Intermediate (3-5 at JCES), 7 p.m. Tuesday,
·Benton Elementary School, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24, in
·West Jackson Middle School, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24,
in the Jackson County Comprehensive High School auditorium.
Go to Jackson
Public Meeting Dates
Auto Parts &
Retail Stores & Outlets
Sought For Two
Rental Housing Projects In Commerce.The Commerce Planning Commission
will be asked to consider two rezonings Monday night that could
accommodate rental housing developments.
The planning commission, which makes recommendations to the city
council on zoning and land use matters, meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday
at the Commerce Civic Center.
The items coming before the group include a rezoning request
from Doug Dorsey on behalf of Harold and April Pendergrass to
rezone almost 16 acres on State Street from R-3 (duplexes) and
A-R (agricultural-residential) to R-4 (multi-family dwellings).
In addition, Barbara Davis, acting as an agent for Vivian Haynes,
will seek rezoning for annexation of 4.79 acres on Poplar Street
from A-2 in Jackson County to R-3 in the city.
The commission will also reconsider Dorsey's request for annexation
for rezoning on Stark Street. Dorsey's son Eric wants to put
20 duplex units on the property, half of which is in the city
and half of which is in Jackson County. The half in the city
is zoned M-1 (manufacturing) and the part in the county is zoned
The planning commission voted at its March meeting to recommend
that the request be denied, but the city council at its April
9 meeting voted to ask the planning panel to reconsider the matter.
Also on the agenda for Monday night are:
·a request by Barry Lord for Mitch Seymour for a conditional
use permit to operate a wrecker service at Georgia 98 and Madison
·a request for a conditional use permit for Crying in
the Wilderness Baptist Church, Danielsville, which wants to relocate
to 366 Harris Street, where it plans to convert a brick duplex
into a church and a frame house into a fellowship hall.
·a request for a conditional use permit from the Commerce
City School System to locate seven portable classrooms for the
2001 school year. The request calls for two additional units
at Commerce Elementary School, bringing the total to five portable
classrooms there; and to retain one each at the middle and high
schools. Eight additional portable classrooms at CHS will be
returned to the Jackson County School System for the 2001-2002
fined for breaking into meter
The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority has begun cracking
down on people who damage its water meters.
Two people have already been fined after being cited for interference
with government property. Audra Denise Smith was fined $590.
Water and sewer superintendent Jerry Waddell said the charges
stem from one of the water meter covers being broken with the
water being turned back on.
County marshal Don Eckart has also already issued a court summons
to Scott Appling for nine water meters damaged at an apartment
complex he owns in Arcade. The county had cut off one of the
apartments for non-payment. County leaders say these fines could
be several thousand dollars.
Appling is one of the partners in a company trying to locate
a landfill in the South Jackson area.
"We are cracking down on this," Waddell said of the
violations. "We also changed the contract. When we have
somebody who hasn't paid the bill, we have to go out and cut
it off and lock the meter. We put in the contract that if they
break in it, it is a $350 administrative fee, plus there is a
$100 fee to replace the lid. They are also responsible for any
Jackson County is also continuing to crack down on developers
who violate county and state regulations. The most recent case
involved Terry Canup who was fined $2,500 for an erosion control
seek new zoning ordinance, land use plan
Jackson County leaders have agreed to seek bids for the creation
of a new county zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan. The
move may open up a lot of important and controversial issues
in the coming months.
Commissioner Sammy Thomason called for the action at the BOC
meeting Monday night.
"Our current zoning ordinance leaves much to be desired,"
he said. "Our land use plan is outdated. We need to look
at our zoning classifications, our rezoning process, our subdivision
regulations and our mobile home ordinances. There is little consideration
given to the existing ordinances for subdivision placement or
sanitary sewer in the county. The ordinance doesn't address greenspace
at all. I believe it's time to make some changes."
On a related mater, the BOC approved a motion by commissioner
Emil Beshara for the codification of all county ordinances. The
county manager will seek bids for both projects.
The BOC had earlier readopted its zoning ordinance and tax maps.
This action included several amendments, including penalties
for those in violation of the ordinance and cleaning up several
"typos" in the document. The action was effective immediately
and it repealed any other county ordinances in conflict with
the new document.