JIM ELLIOTT IS THE CITY ATTORNEY FOR WARNER ROBINS AGAIN... AFTER A UNANIMOUS VOTE BY COUNCIL... HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US. I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
LEAH JOHNSON HAS THE EVENING OFF.
WE BEGIN TONIGHT WITH TEAM COVERAGE ABOUT JIM ELLIOTT'S REINSTATEMENT AS THE CITY ATTORNEY OF WARNER ROBINS.
WE'LL HEAR MORE FROM ELLIOTT IN JUST A FEW MINUTES... BUT FIRST AN EXPLANATION OF THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO HIS REINSTATEMENT.
LORRA LYNCH-JONES SHOWS YOU HOW THE MEETING BEGAN WITH CHAOS... BUT ENDED WITH A PROMISE OF PEACE FROM THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL.
<<nats- (1:16) "I don't have an agenda."
MAYOR CHUCK SHAHEEN MADE IT CLEAR... HE DIDN'T CALL THE MEETING THAT ATTRACTED ABOUT 100 PEOPLE TO CITY HALL... MANY IN SUPPORT FOR JIM ELLIOTT.
Chuck Shaheen: "I don't think the meeting was posted in plenty of time. Technically, I should the adjourn the meeting. If yall wouldn't be mad at me, I'd adjourn it right now. Meeting adjourned."
SHAHEEN STARTED TO LEAVE... BUT COUNCIL STOPPED HIM... RESTARTED THE MEETING... AND ASKED ELLIOTT TO SPEAK.
Jim Elliott: (5:20) "I've been overwhelmed by acts of friendship.
AFTER BRIEF COMMENTS... COUNCIL MOVED TO A CLOSED SESSION... AFTER HEARING OBJECTIONS FROM THE CROWD.
Henrietta McIntyre: (9:40) "You fired him on live TV, live public."
Mike Daley: (9:25) "This is a personnel issue. It does not need to be aired out here."
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF... THE SEVEN MEN EMERGED WITH A NEW ATTITUDE.... STARTING WITH AN APOLOGY TO COUNCIL FROM THE MAYOR.
Chuck Shaheen: "I do need to publiclly apologize for when I was saying I was embarrassed for the city and thier actions last week. Not smart on my part."
SHAHEEN TOLD THE CROWD HE RESPECTED EACH COUNCIL MEMBER... AND TOGETHER THEY PLEDGED COOPERATION... THEIR FIRST UNANIMOUS ACT... REHIRING ELLIOTT.
Tom Simms Jr.: (39:10) "Were ready to recover now. Moving right along."
BOB WILBANKS SAID HE CHANGED HIS VOTE.. AFTER HASHING OUT CONCERNS THAT THE CITY ATTORNEY HAD NOT REPRESENTED THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL EQUALLY.
Bob Wilbanks: (37:20) "You have a new dedication from everybody. Things really laid out on the table here."
MIKE DALEY OFFERED A PERSONAL APOLOGY TO ELLIOTT... BUT SAID HE DIDN'T CHANGE HIS MIND TO PLEASE THE CROWD.
Mike Daley: (40:20) "I'm going to make my decision based on facts. People put me in office to have honesty and integrity. Decision based on facts, not emotions."
>> MAYOR SHAHEEN SAID HE PLANS TO START HAVING REGULAR ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS WITH EACH COUNCIL MEMBER.
HE ALSO SAID HE WANTS TO TALK TO COUNCIL ABOUT IDEAS FOR MORE ORDERLY MEETINGS.
WHILE MAYOR AND COUNCIL SAY THE DECISION TO REINSTATE ELLIOTT WAS NOT AN "EMOTIONAL RESPONSE" TO THE CROWD... THEY DID RECOGNIZE A LARGE OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT FOR THE CITY ATTORNEY.
VANESSA RUFFES TELLS US WHY ELLIOTT SAYS HE WAS OVERWHELMED BY THE TURNOUT.
NEWLY RE-APPOINTED CITY ATTORNEY JIM ELLIOT RECEIVES HUGS AND CONGRATULATIONS FOR HIS REINSTATEMENT... JUST TWO DAYS AFTER COUNCIL VOTED NOT TO RENEW HIS CONTRACT.
NATS, hugging "i've got the greatest coworkers in the world..."
WARNER ROBINS CITY ATTORNEY FOR THE 26TH YEAR NOW... ELLIOTT SAYS HE'S "ELATED" BY COUNCIL'S DECISION... AND OVERWHELMED BY THE CROWD OF ABOUT 100 PEOPLE THAT SHOWED UP. MANY SEEMED TO BE ELLIOTT SUPPORTERS.
SUPPORTERS FILLED COUNCIL CHAMBERS... AND SOME STOOD OUTSIDE... AT WEDNESDAY'S MEETING SCHEDULED TO DISCUSS HIS REPLACEMENT.
Elliott "Never knew I had so many friends..."
Hank Winner "I'm surprised that the crowd isn't bigger. People in town are outraged at what is going on."
Ron Street "If council had a problem they should have met with Jim first, and they should have ironed it out before it became a public issue."
Aaron Hufstetler "To me, I think it was an ambush, and that was wrong."
ELLIOTT SAYS HE DIDN'T ASK THE CROWD TO SHOW UP... AND PEOPLE SAY IT WASN'T AN ORGANIZED EFFORT...
BUT BEFORE MAYOR... COUNCIL... AND ELLIOTT MOVED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS FOR A DISCUSSION... ELLIOTT ASKED SUPPORTERS TO REMAIN CIVIL.
Nats "People who are here on my behalf, please be mannerly, please be respectful, OK? That's important to me."
THE CITY ATTORNEY WOULDN'T SAY WHAT WENT ON DURING THE PRIVATE HOUR-LONG MEETING ... BUT SAYS EVERYONE HAS REACHED AN UNDERSTANDING ABOUT COMPLAINTS THAT HE WASN'T REPRESENTING MAYOR AND COUNCIL EQUALLY.
Elliott "I think they understand some of the legal and ethical concerns that any attorney has and so I think we've hashed through some of that."
HE SAYS THEY'VE TALKED ABOUT HOW TO FIX THE MAIN CONCERN... COMMUNICATION... AND FEELS CONFIDENT THERE WILL BE MUCH MORE OF THAT IN THE FUTURE.
VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> DURING TODAY'S MEETING MAYOR SHAHEEN SAID ELLIOTT HAS SERVED UNDER FIVE MAYORS.
HIS RE-HIRING IS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.
TWO DAYS AGO....SELINDA HANDSFORD WAS REHIRED AS A BIBB COUNTY MAGISTRATE .
TODAY...THE COUNTY'S SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES WITHDREW THEIR APPROVAL.
THAT COMES A DAY AFTER THE JUDGES MET WITH CIVIL AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE BILLY RANDALL. OVER THE REAPPOINTMENT.
RANDALL SAVAGE JOINS US NOW WITH MORE ON THIS DEVELOPING STORY.
HANDSFORD RESIGNED IN 20-05 AMIDST CONTROVERSY OVER SO-CALLED "LOVE OFFERINGS."
SHE WAS ACCUSED OF ILLEGALLY TAKING MONEY TO PERFORM WEDDING CEREMONIES DURING HER WORK DAY AS A MAGISTRATE.
HANDSFORD.. AND TWO OTHER MAGISTRATES.. WERE INDICTED ON CHARGES OF VIOLATING THEIR OATH AND THEFT CHARGES.. PROSECUTORS AGREED TO DISMISS THE CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST HANDSFORD AFTER SHE AGREED TO RESIGN AND REPAY TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS TO THE PEOPLE SHE MARRIED.
ON MONDAY.. NEARLY SIX YEARS LATER... RANDALL INCLUDED HER NAME IN A LIST OF MAGISTRATE JUDGES SCHEDULED FOR REAPPOINTMENT..AND HE PRESENTED THE LIST TO BIBB'S FIVE SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES.
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES MUST APPROVE MAGISTRATE APPOINTMENTS.
RANDALL DIDN'T INCLUDE HANDSFORD'S PAST PROBLEMS IN THE REAPPOINTMENT RECOMMENDATION.
A COURT OFFICIAL TOLD US RANDALL ALSO DIDN'T MENTION THAT HANDSFORD IS THE MOTHER OF ONE OF HIS GRANDCHILDREN.
LATE YESTERDAY. THE SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES SUMMONED RANDALL INTO THEIR CHAMBERS TO DISCUSS THE SITUATION...SOME CALLED IT A PRAYER MEETING.
AND THEN LATE TODAY....THE SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES ISSUED AN ORDER WITHDRAWING THEIR CONSENT.
FOUR OF THE FIVE JUDGES SIGNED THE ORDER. THEY ARE MARTHA CHRISTIAN.. ED ENNIS...TRIPP SELF.. AND HOWARD SIMMS.
THE FIFTH JUDGE...PHIL BROWN...DIDN'T SIGN IT. THERE WAS NO EXPLANATION WHY.
OTHER THAN CONFIRMING TODAY THAT HANDSFORD WAS BACK ON THE JOB.. RANDALL DECLINED COMMENT UNTIL HE GETS THE SUPERIOR JUDGES DECISION.
WE WENT TO THE MAGISTRATE COURT WHERE HANDSFORD WAS ON DUTY THIS MORNING...BUT SHE ALSO DECLINED COMMENT.
MACON CITY COUNCILMAN ERIC ERICKSON SAYS HE WILL LIKELY LEAVE HIS COUNCIL SEAT WITHIN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS..
THE REASON - HE'LL SOON START A NEW FULL TIME JOB HOSTING A RADIO TALK SHOW ON W-S-B IN ATLANTA.
ERICKSON SAYS THE SHOW WILL AIR MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY FROM 9 P-M TO MIDNIGHT BEGINNING NEXT TUESDAY.
HE SAYS HE'S BEEN WORKING ON THE DEAL FOR SEVERAL MONTHS BUT JUST SIGNED THE CONTRACT LAST WEEK.
ERICKSON SAYS HE EXPECTS TO DECIDE FOR SURE ABOUT STEPPING DOWN FROM HIS COUNCIL POST IN ABOUT A MONTH.
Erick Erickson: "I have no intention of seeking re-election for city council, this job opportunity came along and its a once in a lifetime opportunity so I decided to go for it and if it winds up impacting my time on council, then it does. Hopefully it won't but I suspect over time as the role grows, I'm going to have to step back"
ERICKSON'S COUNCIL TERM IS SET TO EXPIRE NEXT JANUARY..
THE 112TH CONGRESS OPENED TODAY WITH DOZENS OF NEW MEMBERS..
REPUBLICANS CONTROL THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES... AND SAY THEY PLAN BIG CHANGES... INCLUDING REPEALING PRESIDENT OBAMA'S HEALTHCARE OVERHAUL.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS... SHOULD CONGRESS REPEAL THE HEALTH CARE BILL?
SO FAR 79 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.
AND 21 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
YOU HAVE UNTIL MIDNIGHT TO VOTE... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
IF YOU'RE NEAR RETIREMENT... YOU MIGHT BE DEALING WITH A BIG QUESTION--SHOULD YOU PAY OFF YOUR HOUSE?
SHERRI GOSS WITH ROSENBERG FINANCIAL GROUP IS HERE TO HELP YOU DECIDE.
SHERRI... THERE ARE PROBABLY TIMES WHEN IT MAKES SENSE TO PAY OFF YOUR HOUSE AND TIMES WHEN IT DOESN'T, RIGHT?
Right. Each situation is different. And, a lot of people get hung up on the tax deductability of the interest you pay on the mortgage. So, let's deal with that first. If you pay $10,000 in interest on your mortgage in a year, and you're in a 30% tax bracket, you save $3,000 in taxes. But it cost you $10,000. That doesn't make sense. So, getting a deduction is not a reason to keep a mortgage.
Another common argument is that you can make more by investing that money than you'll save by not paying a mortgage. Let's say you make a 9% return in the market, and pay 6% in mortgage interest. Not only is that 9% return not guaranteed, but when you pay taxes on that return you really come out even.
Other reasons to pay off your house include:
1. Paying off debt reduces your monthly cash flow needs. So, you can live on less in retirement.
2. You'll have a place to live. That gives you peace of mind.
Reasons not to pay the house off?
1. You plan to move when you retire, or you're young. Young people need to focus on saving--especially if they have a retirement plan through their work.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS FOR SHERRI CALL HER AT 752-1374 OR EMAIL HER AT EYEWITNESSNEWS@13WMAZ.COM.
SHE'LL BE HERE UNTIL 6:30..
AS SOME NEW LOFTS HIT THE MARKET IN DOWNTOWN MACON... ONE DEVELOPER SAYS 2011 COULD BE A BETTER YEAR TO FIND FUNDING TO BUILD MORE APARTMENTS.
DEVELOPER TONY LONG SAYS HE HOPES TO TURN TWELVE DOWNTOWN MACON BUILDINGS INTO LOFT APARTMENTS.
HE SAYS FIRST...HE AND HIS PARTNERS WANT TO RENOVATE THE DANNENBURG BUILDING AT THIRD AND POPLAR STREETS.
HE SAYS THEY DREW UP PLANS TWO YEARS AGO... BUT HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO GET BANK LOANS TO START CONSTRUCTION.
Tony Long, downtown developer: "We are beginning to see that loosen up and having some really good conversations and it's possible that within six months we could see this project happen."
LONG SAYS THE DANNENBERG PROJECT WOULD COST 5 TO 6 MILLION DOLLARS... AND CREATE 60 NEW APARTMENTS.
FRIDAY...OTHER DEVELOPERS PLAN TO HOST AN OPEN HOUSE... TO SHOWCASE TWO NEW LOFTS AT THE ARMORY BUILDING ON FIRST STREET.
OUR PHOTO GALLERIES ON 13WMAZ DOT COM ARE FILLING UP WITH ALL SORTS OF PHOTOS FROM YOU... TONIGHT WE'RE SHARING SOME OF YOUR PET PALS PICTURES.
HERE'S LIBERTY... THE BED HOG.
AND PETEY'S BEEN PLAYING... BUT NOW HE'S ABOUT READY TO TAKE A NAP.
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS...LOOK FOR *PHOTO GALLERIES* IN THE MENU BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
AND DON'T FORGET TO USE THE "WHERE YOU LIVE" SECTION IN THE CENTER OF OUR HOMEPAGE TO TAKE A LOOK AT PHOTOS FROM YOUR AREA... AND ADD SHOTS TAKEN IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.