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Thumbs Up - Jan. 6, 2012

Editorial

After 12 years, David Maschke has stepped down from his position on the Dougherty County School Board. As the District 1 representative, Maschke outlasted three superintendents and weathered many a storm on behalf of the students of this county. Never in all the years did he back off from his belief in the system, its teachers, parents and students. When the order of the day was to keep doing the same things, even when proven to be counter productive, it was Maschke who stood firm in what he believed to be the best thing for the system as a whole which included openness and honesty. From the CRCT investigations to hiring and firing of employees to misuse of federal dollars, this public servant rightfully became frustrated and worn thin. The district's new board member, Robert Youngblood has very big shoes to fill and Maschke plans to watch closely as the system works to turn its numerous problems into learning experiences and move forward. Might he return to the board one day? If the need is there, he just might.

Lee County has said good-bye to perhaps one of the best all-round county commissioners in its history. Bill Williams may never be charismatic enough for some folks but has proven himself to be a whiz with budgets and as honest and as hardworking a man as ever there was. Williams largely responsible responsible for four years of a balanced budget, no property tax increases, no layoffs and no county furlough days. He helped prepare budgets that allowed for three cost-of-living raises in the four years he served. At Williams' farewell meeting, he said to fellow commissioners and visitors, "It's been a privilege to serve with ya'll." While that certainly was a heartfelt statement, it is the citizens of Lee County that have been privileged to have you serve, Bill Williams.

Dougherty County Commissioner Muarlean Edwards may have stepped down from her post but this is one public servant that will never fall from sight. Edwards apparently has a special service-gene that keeps her moving in a number of directions. Although her bid for a seat on the state House of Representatives was unsuccessful, Edwards will continue to work with a truancy program though the school system. It is anyone's guess just where this perky hat-wearing citizen will turn up next but if there is work that needs doing, and it is at all within her power, Muarlean Edwards will be there. Thank you for your seven years of service to the citizens of District 3 and all of Dougherty County.

Clinton Johnson will be sworn in today as the new Dougherty County Commissioner from District 3. He brings to the table a willingness and desire to listen and learn. In fact, Johnson has already been to all the commission meetings as he waited to become an official member of the governing body. As the youngest commissioner, his youth and level of energy will no doubt prove to be an asset. Having been born, raised and educated in his district, the people are fortunate that Johnson stepped up when the seat became vacant.

When Lane Price threw her hat into the ring for the at-large seat on the Dougherty County School Board, little did she know it was a ring of fire. What initially seemed to be a win or lose situation, nothing about the race was simple. An oncologist, Price was certainly not in want for something to do with her time. It was. however, clear to her that the students were not getting the best bang for the many bucks being spent and for no other reason, decided to do something about it. Apparently her message regarding her mission was heard quite loudly and clearly during the campaign. In the July 31 primary, Lane defeated incumbent Anita Williams -Brown by taking just over 57 percent of the votes. When the November election was finally over and the people had spoken, Price received 80 percent or more of the votes cast in 12 of the 28 Dougherty County precincts with an overall 77 percent of all votes against write-in candidate Lorenzo Heard. There is a lot of work to do for school board members and Price is ready.

For all newly elected and already seated officials in Albany and Dougherty County, thank you for your willingness to serve. It is time now to get to work.