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Atlanta’s Board of Ethics, which has operated for six months without an ethics officer, will have to make do a bit longer. Stacey Kalberman, the board’s unanimous choice for the job, withdrew Sunday as the City Council pondered whether to choose the ethics officer itself. “I frankly became disheartened when that happened,” Kalberman said.
State officials have cleared three guards of accusations that they incited violence among girls held at a Rome juvenile detention facility. One of the guards was fired, though, for failing to prevent a Dec. 7 attack, and the other two were disciplined for unrelated policy violations. Some girls in the facility said they believed guards were complicit in some violence, but officials said the guards passed polygraph exams and “the totality of witness statements and information” did not support the charges.
Rep. Steve Davis has agreed to pay a $300 fine for failing to include two businesses on his state-mandated financial disclosure.
A Marietta attorney who won 105,000 votes in a 2008 race for a Cobb County judgeship was disbarred today by the Georgia Supreme Court. In a 10-page ruling, the court said Joan Palmer Davis failed to show up in court on behalf of a client who was seeking to terminate his child-support obligations, then tried to resign from the case without telling him.
Georgia’s foster children are being over-medicated, often to sedate them or control their behavior rather than treat a medical condition, a new study confirms. The question is: What should Georgia do about it? State legislators are considering oversight that would include written standards for dosages and independent reviews of prescriptions twice a year. But some child psychiatrists, worried about second-guessing and potentially lengthy delays in treatment, object to pre-authorization of certain medications and a requirement that children 14 and older give their informed consent.
Georgia has the longest waiting list in the nation — 1,348 — for people with HIV to get government drug assistance. Most of those on the waiting list are getting help from pharmaceutical company’s low-income assistance programs, one advocate said, but “there are a lot of concerns that people are falling through the cracks.’’
A DeKalb County fire captain won his job back today as the Georgia Supreme Court ruled CEO Burrell Ellis must abide by decisions of a hearing officer, the county’s Merit System Council and a Superior Court judge. Capt. Sell Caldwell III was one of several firefighters who were dismissed after a fatal 2010 house fire in Dunwoody.
Investigators have reportedly questioned Atlanta’s Stan Thomas about possibly illicit payments tied to development of a proposed Cayman Islands resort. Thomas has been in the headlines in recent years for his relationship with former Gov. Sonny Perdue and the somewhat spectacular collapse of his real-estate empire. Now, according to news reports, Royal Cayman police say they are investigating allegations that Thomas paid Cayman premier McKeeva Bush as much as $375,000 in 2004.
An Agnes Scott College researcher has found that chimpanzees that are good at throwing feces have better communications skills than those who aren’t. Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, however, thinks taxpayers shouldn’t have footed the bill to find that out.
Dec. 15, 2011 — Linda Schrenko, Georgia’s disgraced ex-school superintendent, says the feds owe her $195,000 taken as partial restitution for the money she stole from deaf kids. The Justice Department took the money in an illegal garnishment of her $4,500 monthly pension, said her attorney, former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr. Schrenko also complains that inadequate medical care in prison for her sleep apnea has left her in “a severely debilitated state of health.”
Dec. 14, 2011 — Remember the Georgia Legislature’s promise last year to impose tough new penalties for violators of campaign finance laws? Not gonna happen — at least not yet.
Starting this year, candidates could be fined $1,375 for filing a financial disclosure 45 days late. But legislators didn’t provide the money to pay for late notices, so the maximum fine for now is just $125.
Georgia Inspector General Deron R. Hicks says his staff found no evidence that his boss, Gov. Nathan Deal, pressed for the firing of the top two investigators at the ethics commission. The question is: How hard did he really look? Hicks’ inquiry did not address important disputed points, including whether the commission’s chairman, after being reappointed by Deal, had truly recused himself from an investigation of the governor’s campaign finances.
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You can look up liens for back taxes or other debts in the property record room at your county courthouse. For a fee, a statewide database of liens and property records can be searched online at the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority.
The GSCCCA database is not foolproof, though. A thorough search of Fulton County's property records, for instance, will require a visit to the courthouse. That's because Fulton County's records are, to use a technical term, screwed up. Some fairly recent records have been lost so some lien cancellations, among other things, are not indexed properly. Some cancellations are not recorded by the clerk for a year of more after they are filed. In one instance, the tax commissioner did not cancel the lien after it had been paid off.