1 candidate so far for Columbia County probate judge

Special election will replace late Judge Pat Hardaway

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At the end of the first day of qualifying for the special election to replace Columbia County Probate Judge Pat Hardaway, just one person threw her hat in the ring.

Interim Probate Judge Alice Padgett qualified this morning in the hope of removing the "interim" from her title.

However, qualifying continues Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to noon, at the county Board of Elections office, 500 Faircloth Drive, Building E, Evans.

To qualify for the Sept. 20 special election, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen, Columbia County resident and registered voter, at least 30 years old, have no felony record, and be a practicing lawyer for the past seven years, said Board of Elections Director Deborah Marshall.

The qualifying fee is $2,173.02.

After serving 30 years as the county's probate judge, Hardaway, 75, died last month following an undisclosed illness.

The last day to register to vote in the election will be Aug. 22.

Advance voting in the special election will be held Sept. 12-16 at the Board of Elections office.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115,
or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

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Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/03/11 - 05:48 pm
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I'm skeptical when I see

I'm skeptical when I see orchestrated plans to make sure someone assumes the office. I'm also skeptical when I don't see the illness of Judge Hardaway disclosed. That leads me to believe someone doesn't want questioned any actions she may have been involved with the last few months. When Mrs. Padgett took over for Mrs. Hardaway when she was ill were plans also made at that time for the clerk to step down after Mrs. Hardaway's death to allow Mrs. Padgett to assume the office or was that move not planned until later?

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/03/11 - 05:37 pm
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oops.

oops.

dstewartsr
20389
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dstewartsr 08/03/11 - 05:43 pm
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What bothers me other than

What bothers me other than the 'appoint/annoint my successor' are the qualifications. Can anyone show me how much better our legal system became when the lawyers quietly eliminated the citizenry from serving on the judiciary? This is a closed shop; like the old USSR, party members only may serve, and only party members may vote. Also, why would they vote in a hard line judge they must appear before?

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/03/11 - 05:55 pm
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Remember when outsider David

Remember when outsider David Roper ran against Bill Williams, the establishment candidate, and defeated him for Superior Court Judge? We need an outsider to run against Mrs. Padgett. Things are getting too close in the Columbia County judicial system.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 08/03/11 - 08:35 pm
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"Can anyone show me how much

"Can anyone show me how much better our legal system became when the lawyers quietly eliminated the citizenry from serving on the judiciary? This is a closed shop; like the old USSR, party members only may serve, and only party members may vote."

Crime fighting is quickly going that way, too.
Her Husband's a Judge also. Anyone hear about him?

Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 08/03/11 - 11:25 pm
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Judge Wade Padgett is an

Judge Wade Padgett is an excellent judge, honest, ethical and does not issue weak or liberal punishments.

Interim Judge Alice Padgett has also done a great job, is from Columbia County, ethical, honest and cares greatly about the community.

There were no orchestrated plans as the position went to Cindy Mason who declined and said Alice Padgett would be far better.

Judge Hardaway was 75, ill, and in MCG hospital when she passed away so let's not start some idiotic conspiracy theory here.

Austin Rhodes
2907
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Austin Rhodes 08/03/11 - 11:29 pm
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I was David Roper's biggest

I was David Roper's biggest supporter...and tonight I am Alice Padgett's. As someone who worked closely with that court for 15+ years, she knows it better than any other attorney in the area. There really is nothing subjective about that, it is a fact. Her experience in family law and adoption work in CC is second to NONE in the last two decades.

The law changed recently, requiring counties of 100k + to have any NEW probate Judge be a member of the bar. CC Clerk of Court Cindy Mason was not qualified under that rule, so she could NOT be appointed the interim.

Chief assistants have done quite well in the legal system moving up the ladder. Cheryl Jolley became solicitor when Bo Hunter left. Ashley Wright in for Danny Craig at DA. Chief Deputies Strength and Whittle becoming Sheriffs....

OH...and Alice's husband, Superior Court Judge Wade Padgett, through his Teen Years Seminars, has reached more young people with his powerful presentations than any other sitting Judge in local history. He has won awards for his work, and may very well be the most civic minded pro-youth Judge the local legal community has ever seen. (Danny Craig did pretty much the same thing as DA, but in recent years, Wade has taken over that franchise)

So...I have laid out specifics as to why Alice is more than qualified and experienced...tell me who beats her, and why, in those areas.

And if some schmuck wants to say that FAMILY should not be working in the same general field like this...then walk with me down to Clay Whittle's office and let me watch you tell him how his brother Johnny needs to pack up and go.

fatboyhog
2015
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fatboyhog 08/04/11 - 02:44 am
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Why does PROBATE Court

Why does PROBATE Court adjudicate traffic law? I will be interested to see if anyone else qualifies to run against a "sitting" judge. They could be committing political suicide if they do and don't win. Judge Padgett may be qualified to deal with Probate Court issues, but is she qualified to deal with everything else that Col. Co. Probate Court deals with?

dstewartsr
20389
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dstewartsr 08/04/11 - 08:58 am
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"...The law changed recently,

"...The law changed recently, requiring counties of 100k + to have any NEW probate Judge be a member of the bar."

My point exactly. And the benefits of this qualification? Other than providing non-competitive job security for lawyers? A group which must be coddled and appreciated for all they have done ... to make America a litigious hell for individuals and business. Just what we want; more unaccountable dynastic rulers.

dstewartsr
20389
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dstewartsr 08/04/11 - 09:04 am
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"...And if some (filthy word)

"...And if some (filthy word) wants to say that FAMILY should not be working in the same general field like this...then walk with me down to Clay Whittle's office and let me watch you tell him how his brother Johnny needs to pack up and go."

Proving the point. For once A.R. has told the unvarnished truth. Anyone so foolish as to challenge this dynasty in the making should either be terminal, have their insurance paid up, or the moving van at the front door first. Retribution is a dish served warm by CCSD.

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/04/11 - 10:58 am
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Austin, does that imply if

Austin, does that imply if someone said something to Sheriff Whittle he didn't like something bad would happen to the person? I do believe you speak in a perjorative and presumptuous manner which Sheriff Whittle may not approve of.

Austin Rhodes
2907
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Austin Rhodes 08/04/11 - 11:13 am
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No RM, I am challenging

No RM, I am challenging anyone who believes that load of garbage to step up and own it.

Sheriff Whittle has heard those criticisms before, and he laughs them off, as he well should.
--------------

dstewartsr...if someone says Otis Hensley committed cold blooded murder, I would disagree with them and tell them they were either:
A. misinformed
or
B. a liar

Same in the statement above. I am not going to allow people to post things that I know to be incorrect and not call them on it, PARTICULARLY when the accusations call into question the character and motivations of people like the Padgetts. I wouldn't let you say unchallenged it to my face...I will not let you say it unchallenged here.

Riverman1
86918
Points
Riverman1 08/04/11 - 11:16 am
0
0
When a public figure in a

When a public figure in a position of power and is challenged it provokes a knee jerk defense by those who seek to ingratiate themselves with the figure instead of openly examining the issues and possible candidates. Maybe it’s just natural for certain personality types, but it certainly isn’t a trait I’d find beneficial personally.

Perfectly valid questions of procedures and concerns of the same family monopolizing the Columbia County judicial system are met by being called “liars and schmucks” with hints that Sheriff Whittle will take measures against those who would dare question family members in the same county departments. By the way, that's another sycophantic play.

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/04/11 - 11:20 am
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It’s almost as if those who

It’s almost as if those who shout how well they know an incumbent candidate and how great he or she is are making the case against the candidate. When I hear how someone personally knows this person and will do anything to defend the candidate in an absurdly personal way, the more I believe we need outside candidates in the David Roper mode.

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/04/11 - 11:24 am
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"The law changed recently,

"The law changed recently, requiring counties of 100k + to have any NEW probate Judge be a member of the bar. CC Clerk of Court Cindy Mason was not qualified under that rule, so she could NOT be appointed the interim."

I've got a question about this. It was reported in the CCNT earlier that under law Mason should have taken the position. Is this correct that she actually couldn't assume the position because of the county population even if she had wanted to?

Austin Rhodes
2907
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Austin Rhodes 08/04/11 - 11:27 am
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I am WAY beyond

I am WAY beyond "ingratiating" myself to the Padgetts...I have known them too long, we all graduated from high school the same year, with many of the same friends, and I consider them friends as well.

BTW...who was the ONLY person in local media who publicly told Wade to sit down and wait his turn when Danny Craig applied for an open Superior Court Judgeship? ME. It was not his time yet, and I said so. THEN, when it WAS his time, I supported him 100% and that support has been very well validated.

Sorry RM...been doing this WAY too long to play games like that.

Austin Rhodes
2907
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Austin Rhodes 08/04/11 - 11:30 am
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I have answered this many

I have answered this many times before, glad to do it again. The state law requiring Probate Judges to be a member of the bar in counties of 100k or more is fairly new. So it countermands the law that says clerks of court get the position automatically.

I looked that up the day after Judge Hardaway passed.

AR

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/04/11 - 11:33 am
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Interesting..so the CCNT

Interesting..so the CCNT reported it wrongly?

Since I'm asking questions, I understand these are elected positions and family members in the same department such as Johnny Whittle, an excellent hard working, blue collar cop in the Sheriff's Office exist, but doesn't Columbia County have a policy concerning family members in the same departments due to possible conflicts?

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/04/11 - 11:36 am
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If you remember my first

If you remember my first concerns were about Hardaway's ability to serve the past couple of months. Of course you went off on another personal tirade about such a question. You said there were others watching to make sure nothing funny happened. When I discovered Hardaway had actually relinquished duties to Padgett I was relieved and felt the right thing had been done.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 08/04/11 - 11:42 am
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I've known the Padgett's for

I've known the Padgett's for a few years now. Both of them are great people and they've raised two respectable adults (not easy to do these days). I know that Alice would do a fine job. She's level headed, fair and smart. She's got my vote!

Austin Rhodes
2907
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Austin Rhodes 08/04/11 - 12:00 pm
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I don't know what the

I don't know what the nepotism policy is for CC employees, but I know for a fact that you would need a state constitutional amendment for it to apply to elected officials.

How many school board members have had spouses in the system? (different dept., BUT, same concept...ironically, state law on THAT just changed as well...school trustees can be married to non-supervisory level staff...the instant a relative goes to administration...such as Mary Bridges just did...her husband Wayne is not allowed to run again))

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/04/11 - 11:52 am
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I understand the law wouldn't

I understand the law wouldn't affect political office holders. I'm pointing out that family members in the same government department is generally considered a bad thing and carefully looked at with employees.

Austin Rhodes
2907
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Austin Rhodes 08/04/11 - 11:58 am
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Since both are independent

Since both are independent Constitutional officers, the Padgetts would have virtually NOTHING to do with each other in a professional sense. No more than the Tax Commissioner and the Sheriff.

Funny...I have never heard Tax commissioner Kay Allen, and her husband County Commissioner Charles Allen ever questioned on such.

Donna Anderson was in the school system the entire time her husband Lee was a trustee...

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/04/11 - 12:05 pm
0
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"the Padgetts would have

"the Padgetts would have virtually NOTHING to do with each other in a professional sense."

Surely, you jest.

Austin Rhodes
2907
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Austin Rhodes 08/04/11 - 12:10 pm
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Enlighten us, RM. Wade

Enlighten us, RM.

Wade would recuse himself if any of Alice's decision were appealed (to Superior Court). So how would their be a conflict?

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/04/11 - 12:13 pm
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Ohhhhhh, now you say he would

Ohhhhhh, now you say he would recuse himself from her cases. You are getting it.

Austin Rhodes
2907
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Austin Rhodes 08/04/11 - 12:18 pm
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OF COURSE...just like Judge

OF COURSE...just like Judge Fleming did for a gazillion years when he had his family handling cases in court.

Alice has been a practicing atty in Augusta since WAY BEFORE Wade became a Judge...you think he heard any of her cases when he became either a Magistrate OR a Superior Court Judge?

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/04/11 - 12:35 pm
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Look, the only reason I'm

Look, the only reason I'm leaning against Alice Padgett in the election is I believe we need someone other than the wife of a Superior Court judge. She is a fine attorney, I'm sure. We both know she is the incumbent now and will probably be elected. I can live with that.

However, I still wish it had been more open when she took over for Hardaway two months before her death. I want to go back to Mason giving Padgett the position. I'm working from memory, but wasn't it reported in the CCNT that Mason declined the position and appointed Mason? I do recall the change in the law you stated. So she actually never had the power to assume the position herself. Right?

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/04/11 - 12:20 pm
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Austin, think for a minute.

Austin, think for a minute. All probate court cases will be handled by Mrs. Padgett. This is not a case of only those you represent as a private attorney.

Riverman1
86918
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Riverman1 08/04/11 - 12:23 pm
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Austin, while you are

Austin, while you are thinking, let me add, don't you see how these are valid questions that shouldn't be met with personal attacks on those who bring them up? You may think the concerns are not important, but when you start hollering just because they were asked, it does you or the candidate no good.

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