Dispatches from government reporter Johnny Edwards

By: Johnny Edwards on January 27, 2010 - 8:41pm - Add new comment

Elizabeth Edwards is finally leaving her husband, the adulterous, lying, hypocritical disgrace of a former Democratic presidential candidate, even by presidential candidate standards.

Quoting a friend, The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the couple has separated, and under North Carolina law they'll have to live apart for a year before she can file for divorce.

By: Johnny Edwards on January 21, 2010 - 6:29pm - Add new comment

This is probably of little comfort to former Animal Services Director Diane Downs, but when Augusta commissioners demoted her Tuesday, they made her the highest-paid administrative assistant in the city government.

Her pay was cut 15 percent, from $57,728 to $49,069 per year. According to employee data obtained from the Human Resources Department, salaries for 109 administrative assistants on the payroll range from $26,355 to $46,595. The formerly highest-paid person in that position worked for Emergency Management.

By: Johnny Edwards on January 6, 2010 - 7:56pm - Add new comment

We all know the IRS code that says nonprofit, non-taxpaying churches can’t take sides in political races is a big joke, but someone working for the Harold Jones campaign took the comedy to a new level on Tuesday.

By: Johnny Edwards on January 1, 2010 - 10:56pm - Add new comment

A few weeks ago,  I griped about some trouble I was having getting access to a personnel file, a public record, after the Law Department told me I would have to wait seven days and pay $96.50. I'm happy to report that the matter has been worked out, with Staff Attorney Kenneth Bray charging me only $1.75 for seven copies.

Now on to what I found.

By: Johnny Edwards on December 19, 2009 - 3:23am - Add new comment

I think a good song for Augusta right now is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Not the version sung by Frank Sinatra and Karen Carpenter, but the original, melancholy version that Judy Garland sang to a crying child in Meet Me in St. Louis. The one where the lyrics go, “Let your heart be light/Next year all our troubles will be out of sight,” and the singer doesn't seem sure.

By: Johnny Edwards on December 16, 2009 - 2:43am - Add new comment

Tuesday’s commission meeting was Betty Beard’s last as an elected official. She got a plaque from the mayor. She gave a bittersweet farewell speech. She waded through one last agenda, saying little. When it was over, she gathered her things at her seat at the dais one last time, and after six years as the District 1 commissioner, walked out of the chamber named for her late husband, who spent eight years in the seat, and made her way to the elevator doors.

Want to know how she spent her final moment on the Municipal Building’s eighth floor?

By: Johnny Edwards on December 11, 2009 - 11:36pm - Add new comment

After reading General Counsel Chiquita Johnson’s proposal to clamp down on the news media at Augusta Commission meetings, I had one question:

What are they smoking over there in the Law Department?

In a resolution that assumes neither the Georgia Open Meetings Act nor the First Amendment carries weight anymore, Ms. Johnson is looking to ban reporters from talking to elected officials in chambers or in the hallway and to restrict the number of news cameras in the room, as if every commission meeting were an O.J. Simpson trial.

By: Johnny Edwards on December 5, 2009 - 12:51am - Add new comment

By the way that “collective body representing every aspect of the black community” talked in front of the Lady Justice statue, you’d have thought a victory by Matt Aitken in Tuesday’s runoff would have the white establishment laughing like Vincent Price at the end of "Thriller."

That victory happened, of course. The 5-5 racial logjam is busted, the ratio now favoring whites. But as it turns out no one’s laughing.

By: Johnny Edwards on November 28, 2009 - 12:59am - Add new comment

I'd love to make some grandiose statement here about the upcoming District 1 commission election, like maybe that after Tuesday Augusta will be a different city one way or another, whether Matt Aitken or Bill Fennoy wins. Or that when it's over the city will need time to heal, given the racial tenor of late.

By: Johnny Edwards on November 21, 2009 - 1:18am - Add new comment

Back in the summer, journalistic inquiry turned me into an unwitting middleman when some Harris­burg landlords tried to broker a deal with the Harris­burg anti-crime protestors.
This week, I unwittingly became a handler for Matt Aitken.

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