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Posted: January 7, 2009 9:30 p.m.

Longtime county attorney reappointed


Longtime Newton County Attorney Tommy Craig was reappointed to his position by a vote of 3-1-1 at the Board of Commissioner’s first meeting of 2009 Tuesday evening.

Newton County Chairman Kathy Morgan asked the board if they could hold off on the county attorney appointment until the second meeting in January, saying that she and the rest of the BOC had yet to receive information detailing the scope of work that the county attorney handles due to a late request in putting the county attorney appointment on Tuesday’s agenda.

The request to put the appointment on the agenda came from District 1 Commissioner Mort Ewing, said Morgan.

"He asked me if I would consider it," she said, adding "It’s their appointment.

I was just sorry that the new commissioners didn’t have any backup information to look at."

Despite Morgan’s request, the BOC decided to move forward with the county attorney appointment with Ewing voting to amend the agenda to include the appointment and District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson seconding his motion.

The board voted 4-1 to consider the appointment with District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz opposing. As a newly elected commissioner, Schulz said she would have preferred to have more information before her detailing the county attorney’s scope of work and the budget the county allots to the position before voting on the appointment.

"As a new commissioner, I feel like I need that information to make an informed decision," Schulz said.

The motion to reappoint Craig was made by Ewing and seconded by Henderson. Newly elected District 5 Commissioner Tim Fleming joined the two men in voting to approve Craig’s reappointment. District 2 Commissioner Earnest Simmons opposed the reappointment and Schulz abstained from voting.

"I haven’t found a better person who knows more about this county," said Henderson of Craig.

Morgan said she didn’t have any personal feelings about the reappointment of Craig’s office.

"The county attorney serves at the pleasure of the board. That’s not my call," Morgan said.

There had been a fair amount of speculation in the community since the November election of Morgan to chairman that there might be a move to replace Craig as county attorney.

Craig has served as county attorney since the 1970s.

The BOC also voted unanimously to reappoint longtime County Clerk Jackie Smith.

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