Sunday, April 12, 2009

A few Fayette Front Page weekend stories:

Shelby Barker Announces Run for Peachtree City Council Post 1
4/11/09 Shelby Barker, business consultant and executive board member of the Fayette County GOP, officially announced his candidacy Friday for the Peachtree City Council Post 1. The winner of the Post 1 race will fill the remaining two years of Don Haddix's... More

Fayette County Attorney Shows His Stuff…
4/10/09 (Blog) Thursday night after the Fayette County Commission meeting the County Attorney, Scott Bennett, came over to the press area and said he wanted to talk with the press. I didn’t catch the entire statement so I asked one of the other reporters what he’d said. The reporter indicated he wanted us to stick around so he could talk to us. We immediately “assumed” it had to do with the lawsuit filed by former County Administrator, Chris Venice... More

Fayette Sheriff's TNT Makes Drug Busts in Multiple Counties
4/12/09 The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Narcotics Team (TNT) executed four Search Warrants simultaneously in the Shiloh mobile home community that resulted in the arrest of six persons. TNT with the assistance of the Sheriff’s office Swat team, CID, K-9 Unit, Hawk one helicopter, and uniformed patrol officers executed the warrants at 7am on Friday April... More

One Accord in Concert at NFUMC
4/12/09 The public is invited to attend North Fayette United Methodist Church on Sunday, April 19, as One Accord, a 12-member vocal ensemble auditioned from the Atlanta Christian College Concert Choir performs at the 8:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. worship services, and then again that day at 3:00 p.m. when the group performs in a special concert... More

Senoia Celebrates Earth Day with "The Art of Green"
4/12/09 Green isn't just the color of Spring in Coweta County; it's also the theme of a new arts event sponsored by the Cultural Arts Committee of Senoia's Downtown Development Authority. On Saturday, April 25th from 10 to 6, Historic Downtown Senoia... More

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Announces More Shows at Delta Classic Chastain
4/12/09 The GRAMMY® Award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra announced four more performers for their 2009 Delta Classic Chastain summer concert series at the legendary Chastain Park... More

Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre Proudly Announces Its 2009-10 Season
4/10/09 Atlanta’s nationally acclaimed Alliance Theatre, recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award®, and Artistic Director Susan V. Booth are proud to announce the 2009–10 Season for the Alliance Stage, the decidedly underground Hertz Stage and the Alliance Children’s Theatre... More

Atlanta Tea Party Info
Where and When? Atlanta State Capitol 206 Washington St. SW, Atlanta, GA 30334-9007 , Recommended Arrival time 6-7 p.m. (Note: we'd advise getting there even earlier! A lot of people will be coming to hear Sean Hannity, express their frustrations, etc. Plus, Dick Armey is doing a book signing at 3:30 in the Capitol, might be something you'd want to check out - FFP)

What to expect at the Tea Party? The purpose is to let Congress and the President know there are many, many Americans across the country that are fed up with bailouts, large budgets, and high taxes... More

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fayette County Unemployment Insurance Claims Jump 229%

According to new numbers released by the Georgia Department of Labor (DOL), Workforce Information & Analysis, unemployment insurance claims have jumped a whopping 229% since March of 2008.

While the percentage sounds high, the numbers aren't quite as scary. Claims in March of 2008 totaled 144. Claims in March 2009 totaled 475. If you are one of the individuals experiencing a loss of income, percentages and totals are meaningless. It's devastating to most to lose a job.

Unemployment insurance claim numbers include initial unemployment claims only; they do not include people who have run out of unemployment benefits without finding employment, neither do they include claims by people who had previously claimed unemployment.

Preliminary unemployment rates for February 2008 show an increase from 4.3% in 2008 to 7.9% in 2009. Unemployment numbers indicate statistics for the civilian labor force over the age of 16 living in the county. The unemployment numbers reflect those who are "actively seeking jobs".

Currently, according to the DOL, 4,152 are unemployed in Fayette. In February of last year the 2,287 were listed. The unemployment rate in January of this year was 6.9%.

Source: Interview with Department of Labor; and

Fayette County Commission sued, passes defined benefit program and county attorney gets nasty with reporter...

Interesting "doings" at the Fayette County Commission chambers Thursday. The Commission voted to hire GEBCorp to manage the new defined benefit (DB) program for county employees at the evening Commission meeting (3 yes, 1 abstention, 1 no). In late 2007 Eric Maxwell, Herb Frady, Jack Smith and Robert Horgan voted to implement a DB program (former Commissioner Peter Pfeifer opposed).

GEBCorp is the company that initially helped the Commission study committee determine the feasibility of moving from the current award-winning retirement plan to a defined benefit plan.

After the meeting the County Attorney Scott Bennett asked reporters to step into his office. When yours truly walked back the attorney got nasty. He noted I'd written some bad things about him back when the Commission hired him and so he didn't want to talk with me. He said more -- and I'll be sharing more about it later.

Christine (Chris) Venice, former County Administrator filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against the county earlier this week. Venice was let go without cause in April 2007. Attorney Harlan Stuart Miller III, an Atlanta attorney, is representing Venice.

The suit asks for damages resulting from breach of contract, lost retirement / pension benefits, back wages and other issues.

Since the County's spokesperson in legal matters, Scott Bennett, refused to talk with me I talked to Jack Krakeel, the current County Administrator who stated he had no knowledge of the suit beyond knowing it was filed.

Krakeel referred me to County Chairman Jack Smith who initially referred me to their attorney, but spoke to me when I indicated the attorney had refused to talk with me.

Smith said he was informed of the lawsuit this evening via email, just finding out around 6:15. He had not had time to delve into the details.

- jmd

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