As reported in The Columbia News 24 years ago, Nov. 16, 1977
Judge rules for commissioners
The ruling of Superior Court Judge Franklin H. Pierce in the case of William P. Dozier and eight other plaintiffs versus the Columbia County Board of Commissioners and Comptroller John J. O'Brien was filed Tuesday morning, Nov. 15.
Judge Pierce's findings were in favor of the defendants on all complaints. A writ of mandamus has been denied.
Judge Pierce ruled that there was no evidence of secret meetings being held by the commissioners, no evidence that the commissioners sought to delegate to O'Brien the authority to hire or fire employees, the location and establishment of administrative offices in Martinez was not illegal, the moving of county accounting records and machines was permissible and the commission meetings held in Martinez were legal.
District attorney addresses citizens league
Richard Allen, district attorney for the Augusta Judicial Circuit, spoke before the Martinez-Evans Citizens League Monday night, Nov. 14. Allen briefly outlined the duties of his office and named a few items that were not the duties of his office.
According to Allen, the district attorney's most important duty is "the prosecution of indictable criminal cases."
Cases are received by his office from local law enforcement agencies. His investigators then screen them to determine if they are prosecutable and obtain additional facts if needed. The district attorney or his assistants must then take the cases before the grand jury. If a true bill is returned, he then enters into plea bargaining or proceeds to jury trials and appeals.
Government study begins
The Columbia County Board of Commissioners met with University of Georgia officials to discuss the preliminary drafts of a study on the present county government.
Jerry Singer of administration and organization, Melvin Hill from the Institute of Government Organization, and Charlie Cole of finance and budget, met with the Board on Nov. 14, where "they drafted the needs of our county," stated Commissioner Dillard Watkins. The preliminary meeting was held in order "to set forth things in areas where we needed help," he said.
The University of Georgia study, authorized by the Board of Commissioners in July of this year, consisted of reviewing existing acts and ordinances, surveying current government practices and identifying problems with administering the current government.
Commissioners find more bills
At the second county budget hearing held in Martinez on Nov. 9, County Comptroller John J. O'Brien presented the Columbia County Board of Commissioners with an unpaid bill from the accounting firm of Victor Markwalter and Company for services rendered in 1976.
The bill, totaling $12,415.20, was the first one received this year by the county from the firm, according to O'Brien who proposed paying the bill with revenue sharing funds.
The Water Works Department was also billed $10,715 by the same firm for auditing services rendered during the period from Dec. 31, 1975 to June 1976. For the remainder of the year 1976, the firm billed the county $12,000 for services including the installation of a computer accounting system and bookkeeping, and $415.20 for travel expenses to Appling.
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