38 qualify for 32 seats
• Councilmembers in Louisville, Wadley, Wrens and Gibson will see opposition in November elections
By Ben Roberts
November 8 elections for Jefferson County's six and Glascock's three municipalities could bring some changes to the makeup of many of the cities' councils.
The city of Louisville will see a rematch of its 2001 mayoral race between then city councilman Byron Burt and Lloyd Long. Burt won that election 514 to 236 for his first term as mayor.
Louisville council incumbents Phil Polhill, Robert Dixon and Ricky Sapp all qualified for their current seats without opposition.
The city of Wadley will also have a mayor's race as incumbent Herman Baker faces former councilman Jerry Powell.
The incumbents of the three "at large" council seats, Randall Jones, Izell Mack and John Maye, will face opposition from Elizabeth Moore and Patrick Bell. Of the five candidates, the three with the most votes will take the council seats.
Wrens has three "at large" council seats up for grabs as well. Incumbents Willie Huntley, Erskine Lane and William Lester Hadden will face Spence Norton and Dave Hastings in that election.
Gibson will hold elections for two council seats currently held by Carol Markins and Lester Hadden. Hadden has chosen not to run for his seat again.
Marilyn Peebles, Chester Chalker and Markins will square off for the two seats.
The cities of Bartow, Stapleton, Avera and Mitchell will not hold elections, although there will be some changes to their councils.
In Bartow, incumbents Fred Evans, Billy Neal, Lee Shellman and Paula Stickle all qualified for their current seats without opposition. Councilman John Mancin, however, qualified for mayor and current mayor, Hubert Jordan, has qualified for Mancin's chair on the council. Neither will face opposition.
Incumbents W.A. Raley Sr., Amy Borton, Hubert Pulliam and Mayor Scott Lamb will all retain their seats on Mitchell's council without opposition. William Wilcher was the only person to qualify for Mary Howell's current seat. Howell is not running again.
The remaining seat in Mitchell, currently held by Jacky Haywood, had no one to qualify for it. City clerk Gail Berry said the city would have to hold a special election to fill the seat, most likely in March. Haywood's term expires Dec. 31 of this year.
Avera incumbents holding on to their seats include Mayor Tommy Sheppard and Councilmen Mary Mahoney and Lanier Padgett. Warren Mathis was the only person to qualify for the vacant seat formally held by Ricky Norton. Norton resigned his seat earlier this year when he changed jobs.
In Stapleton, Mayor Harold Smith and Councilmen Stephen Harden and Paul Beckworth all qualified for their current seats without opposition.
The city of Edgehill did not return messages left at City Hall seeking information on their elections.
The last day for voters to register for the Nov. 8 election is Oct. 11.
Magistrate's record keeping questioned by auditors
• Commissioners say no money is missing; Glascock Judge offers steps to clear confusion
By Faye Ellison
Glascock County Commissioners addressed accounting issues Tuesday raised by auditors concerning the way the county Magistrate Court records have been kept.
According to Commissioner Anthony Griswell, no money was missing from the court. The audit by Jones, Jones, Davis and Associates found that the money passing through the court was not tracked as thoroughly as needed by the Magistrate's office.
"There was no money missing," Commission Griswell said at the meeting. "The findings were more on how the books were kept."
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According to the county clerk, Jones, Jones, Davis and Associates was not completely finished with the county's audit, but felt that their findings in the Magistrate office needed to be dealt with as soon as possible. They also offered recommendations to the court to solve problems they saw during the audit.
"We feel that the items enumerated deserve immediate attention," the Jones, Jones, Davis and Associates audit states. "Current bookkeeping practices in this office make it difficult, if not impossible, to properly audit the receipts and disbursements of the office. We believe that acceptance of the recommendations will help establish practical and workable control mechanisms by which management and documentation of this office's transactions can be greatly improved."
Magistrate Court Judge Misty May presented Glascock Commissioners with steps that the court will take to correct each of the six findings from the audit.
"On behalf of the Magistrate Court of Glascock County, I as Chief Magistrate, with assistance from the Administrative Office of the Courts and the increase of office hours, will strive to keep future financial information as well as civil/criminal docketed/receipted cases handled in a timely and more orderly fashion," May said in a statement to Commissioners.
Griswell said that Commissioners received steps taken to "rectify the audit," and after studying the steps, they will talk at a called meeting or the next monthly meeting. Then with the consensus of the board, corrective measures will be taken, he said.
In its first recommendation, the auditor recommends that the court should pay all plaintiffs in the same manner and that the policies and procedures should be applied equally to all the court's participants.
To comply with the recommendation, May said that the court should pay all plaintiffs in the same manner. The local as well as the non-local plaintiffs will be paid by the 10th of the following month that funds are collected. No plaintiff locally will be able to pick up funds before the 10th of the following months in which the funds were collected.
The first finding included that the court's bank account was overdrawn during the year. The audit states that eight checks were presented to the bank that overdrew the account in December 2004, but were paid by the bank because the court was considered a "preferred customer."
Also in the finding, three checks were presented during the same month overdrawing the account because of insufficient funds.
"In a properly run office of this type, there would never be a situation where the bank account was overdrawn," the audit stated.
"The bank account of the court was overdrawn only once in 2004 in December due to the acceptance of personal checks by two separate defendants who had insufficient funds in their accounts," May said in a response to the audit. "Eight checks were presented to the bank which overdrew the account but were paid by the bank due to the preferred customer status of the court. Although this has never been a problem before, the Court will no longer accept personal checks as a form of payment so as to prevent this from happening again. All bank reconciliations will be completed in a timely manner with an up-to-date bank balance for the checking account."
The second finding according to the audit, noted that cash receipt tickets were sometimes issued out of sequence. May said she was trying to use leftover receipts, but since the audit's findings have been brought to her attention, she has ordered new receipts that will not have missing pages and any voided receipts will be attached to the monthly receipt page.
In the audit's third finding, Jones, Jones, Davis and Associates noted instances when funds were not recorded in a timely manner. May said funds would no longer be accepted at any other location other than the office of the court during regular business hours due to the problem of not only being responsible for monies due to the court but also for the funds to be receipted in a timely manner.
"There were instances when a defendant would bring in or mail a personal check made payable to the plaintiff instead of the Magistrate Court," May said in her response. "That check would be forwarded to the plaintiff."
The fourth finding involved an instance of a receipt issued for an amount other than what was received on that date.
May noted that this occurred when a defendant paid an amount to the court in two different forms of payment and there should have been two separate receipts.
Jones, Jones, Davis and Associates recorded numerous extended delays from the time the Magistrate Court received funds until they were deposited into the bank. Some documented delays in depositing funds were up to and beyond three months.
"The limited time in the office for incoming clients and/or telephone calls to conduct business did not permit any set time or daily routine to complete paperwork to include deposits as needed therefore causing delays," May responded.
She said the implementation plan that includes daily deposits and timely payouts, along with the May's change to full-time status, will prove to be corrective steps which will lead to the office running as it should.
The last finding found that funds deposited for the court were unable to be matched with the composition of funds received either by cash or check. Many instances were noted when deposits were made with only checks or only cash.
May said a new column on the receipt page stating cash or check will be added.
At the end of their finding, Jones, Jones, Davis and Associates suggest the Magistrate Court have an imprest (petty cash) fund of up to $50 to make change in the court. May said she would have a $25 imprest fund for the court.