COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987

Blog Topic: Government

  • In the Loop: Athens-Clarke County Names New Police Chief

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    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Athens-Clarke County

    Cleveland Spruill.

    Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams has appointed a North Carolina police chief to take over the ACC police department effective Feb. 4.

    Cleveland Lee Spruill Sr. has been the police chief in Huntersville, NC, since May 2014. The Huntersville police department has 102 sworn officers, 111 total employees and a $12.8 million annual budget.

    Although Huntersville, population 60,000, is half the size of Athens, Spruill has experience running a larger department. Prior to becoming the police chief in Huntersville, Spruill was the executive chief deputy in Alexandria, VA, which had 320 sworn officers, 105 civilian employees, a $57 million budget and served a population of 150,000.

    Williams said in a news release that Spruill stood out among many qualified applicants as the best person to uphold ACC's philosophy of community-oriented policing and serve as an ambassador to the community.

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  • In the Loop: Gov. Nathan Deal Will Teach at UGA

     

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    Photo Credit: Office of the Governor

    Gov. Nathan Deal, whose second term ends on Monday, will soon be teaching at the University of Georgia.

    The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted today to appoint Deal as a Regents Professor. His appointment will be effective for at least three years beginning March 1.

    Deal plans to occasionally lecture undergraduates with interests in political science and law at UGA and other institutions in the University System of Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitutionreported. He's also starting a consulting firm with his longtime chief of staff, Chris Riley.

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  • In the Loop: Photos: Athens Mayor and Commission Swearing-In Ceremony

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    New Mayor Kelly Girtz and four new Athens-Clarke County commissioners, along with re-elected incumbent Melissa Link, were sworn in Tuesday at City Hall, ushering in a new era of progressive politics for Athens.

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  • Homedrone: Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz's Favorite Local Shows

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    Photo Credit: Todd Kulesza/Wikimedia Commons

    Vic Chesnutt.

    When he’s not commissioning, you can often catch newly inaugurated Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz at a concert. As part of a recent Q&A, we asked hizzoner to talk about a few of his favorite local bands and shows.

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  • In the Loop: Mayor Kelly Girtz, New Commissioners Will Be Sworn in Today

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    Girtz.

    Athens-Clarke County's new Politburo Mayor and Commission will be sworn during a 5:30 p.m. ceremony today at City Hall.

    After winning a three-way race in May, Commissioner Kelly Girtz will officially take over for Mayor Nancy Denson, who was limited to two terms. Look for a Q&A with Girtz in Wednesday's edition of Flagpole.

    Taking Girtz's District 9 seat will be longtime school board member and community organizer Ovita Thornton. Other new commissioners include:

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  • In the Loop: What Do You Want to See in Athens' Police Chief?

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    Athens-Clarke County is accepting public input on what residents want to see from a new ACCPD chief.

    "As we consider Police Chief candidates throughout our search process," Williams said in a news release, "it is important to me that any member of the community has an opportunity to express their thoughts as to what are important characteristics, qualities, and priorities of the next Police Chief that we should consider during our reviews."

    Residents can fill out an online form, pick up a print form at the manager's office in Room 301 of City Hall or at the police station on Lexington Road, or leave a verbal comment by calling 706-224-3202.

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  • In the Loop: Gov.-Elect Brian Kemp Calls for Unity in UGA Speech

     

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    Photo Credit: Savannah Cole

    Gov.-elect Brian Kemp speaks at UGA's Biennial Institute on Tuesday.

    After a divisive campaign, Gov.-elect Brian Kemp called for unity Tuesday in his first major speech since winning a close and hard-fought election. Taking a different tone than what voters heard on the campaign trail, he appealed to state legislators to “put politics behind us.”

    The speech at the University of Georgia’s Biennial Institute, a three-day training session for state legislators, came months after Kemp emerged from a bruising Republican primary in July and just weeks after he repeatedly called Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams a radical extremist.

    “It’s time to shed the labels and work together as Georgians. It’s time to stand up for our communities, our families and our Georgia values,” Kemp said. “It’s time to protect the vulnerable. It’s time to do the right thing—even when no one is looking.”

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  • In the Loop: ACC Attorney Says Board of Elections Illegally Closed Meeting

     

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    Savannah Cole/file

    The Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections broke state law when it went into executive session in September to discuss opening an early voting site at Cedar Shoals High School, according to the ACC Attorney’s office.

    Tension continued in the Board of Elections on Tuesday as they discussed the closed-door meeting. The attorney’s office concluded the board was in violation of the Georgia Open Meetings act. Assistant county attorney John Hawkins provided the results of the review to board members.

    On Sept. 4, the BOE decided to go to executive session to discuss “personnel matters” since more poll workers would be needed for an additional early voting location. Under the Open Meetings Act, the board is permitted to go to executive session if it involved personnel matters. However, other topics were discussed, and the personnel exemption is meant to cover discussions about specific employees or candidates for positions, not hiring more personnel in general.

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  • In the Loop: Bird Owes UGA Over $500,000 for 1,100 Impounded Scooters

     

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    Photo Credit: Savannah Cole

    It’s been four months since Bird scooters began hatching around downtown Athens and soaring through the University of Georgia campus in August as part of the company’s nationwide “University Pop-Up Tour.”  

    After a week, university officials began confiscating Birds on campus, and ACCPD and UGAPD later started ticketing riders who did not obey the law. Now, Bird scooters are causing another problem for University of Georgia officials since the company has refused to pick up the impounded scooters or pay fines.

    As of Nov. 19, the University of Georgia had confiscated a total of 1,096 Bird scooters since August and stored them in the Carlton Street parking deck. At that time, Bird owed the university $504,360, according to UGA spokesperson Rebecca Beeler.

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  • In the Loop: Watkinsville Hires ACC Commissioner Sharyn Dickerson as City Administrator

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    The Watkinsville City Council has hired Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Sharyn Dickerson as its first-ever city administrator, according to the Oconee Enterprise.

    “I’m super, super excited about the vision this mayor and council have,” Dickerson told the Enterprise. “I’m so grateful for the meaningful, thoughtful, deliberative process that the mayor and council have gone through to bring someone in. It’s a dream job; it’s my dream job, and I look forward to serving the community.” 

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