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Unofficial Opinions

Opinion In Reference To
99-10

The Board of Regents is within its statutory and constitutional authority in establishing a supplemental retirement plan at the Medical College of Georgia in consideration of continued service by employees during significant institutional change.

99-8

Where a vacancy is created by the prospective resignation of a member of a local board of education, the board may move to fill that vacancy prior to the effective date of the resignation.

99-9

Interest from cash bonds transferred by a sheriff to the appropriate clerk of court is not required to be remitted to the Georgia Indigent Defense Council unless the statute governing the particular clerk of court requires that the clerk remit interest to the Council. Also, since O.C.G.A. § 15-16-27(b) applies to cash bonds held by the sheriff, it does not apply to bonds posted by professional bondspersons.

99-6

A probate judge may not employ an attorney to prosecute criminal cases in the probate court.

99-7

Members of a county board of education may be employed by a separate school system even if the county board of education contracts with that system for use of its middle and high schools.

99-5

Persons sentenced to community service may be utilized to assist counties or municipalities in preserving and protecting abandoned cemeteries or burial grounds.

99-4

A teacher at a charter school, which is operated by a non-profit corporation as permitted by the Charter Schools Act of 1998, shall be a member of the Teachers Retirement System.

99-3

There is no general prohibition against a teacher employed by a local board of education serving as a county commissioner. However, such a prohibition could arise under the terms of a local law or because the county commission is able to directly affect the terms or conditions of the teachers employment.

99-2

Except as provided in O.C.G.A. § 43-14-12, a local government does not have the authority under O.C.G.A. § 48-13-9 to impose additional licensing requirements, including regulatory fees, upon state licensed electrical contractors who conduct business within the jurisdiction of the local government.

99-1

School systems in counties with a population of less than 100,000 may not authorize their school security employees to carry firearms. However, law enforcement personnel who are authorized to carry firearms from some source other than the school board may provide security at school functions.

98-16

The General Assembly is within its power to require information of the Board of Regents under Code Section 45-12-88 so long as its exercise of the power does not infringe upon the constitutional power of the Board to govern the University System, particularly its power to receive and allocate as a lump sum "[a]ll appropriations made for the use of any or all institutions in the university system."

98-15

Under current precedent the Georgia Constitution does not permit direct grants to private persons solely to induce economic activity for the general welfare.

98-14

Local school system employee suggestion programs do not violate the constitutional prohibition against gratuities.

1998-14

Local school system employee suggestion programs do not violate the constitutional prohibition against gratuities.

98-13

A superior court judge who was a member of the Superior Court Judges Retirement System and who paid the requisite contribution to obtain spousal benefits under that system may not recoup those spousal contributions if she subsequently chooses to reject spousal benefits under the new Georgia Judicial Retirement System.

98-12

The governing authority of a county may supplement the salary of a state judicial employee without separate local legislation. Further, a state employee may not contract with a county to perform services during the same forty-hour work week.

98-11

The City of Atlanta Solicitors office does not have the authority under O.C.G.A. § 35-3-37(d) to approve the expungement by an original agency of a criminal arrest record involving a felony or misdemeanor state offense which is dismissed in municipal court and for which no indictment or accusation has been drawn.

98-10

Cities that are located in more than one county may be consolidated with a county government. However, in the absence of a change in county lines or some additional general legislation to provide for consolidating governments of a city and more than one county, the city would have to give up some of its territory.

98-9

In light of the 1997 amendments to the School Safety and Juvenile Justice Reform Act limiting the exclusive jurisdiction of the superior courts to the trials of juveniles charged with offenses enumerated in O.C.G.A. § 15-11-5(b)(2)(A), judges of the magistrate court may issue arrest warrants for juveniles charged with such offenses.

98-8

Dual service as a volunteer firefighter and a member of a city council or county commission does not appear to violate the prohibitions of either O.C.G.A. § 36-30-4 or § 45-2-2. However, cities and counties confronted with this situation must determine for themselves, based on the unique circumstances presented by dual service in their particular jurisdiction, whether a common law conflict of interest exists.

98-7

Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 15-21-90 does not prohibit a county from considering a reduction on a citys inmate housing bill in the amount equivalent to the ten percent add on monies paid to the county pursuant to the statute.

98-6

The proposed Columbus ordinance regulating the manner and location in which a firearm may lawfully be placed in a home, building, trailer, vehicle, or boat would be ultra vires in that the ordinance conflicts with the general laws of the State of Georgia and because the regulation of firearms, with exceptions not relevant hereto, has been preempted by the General Assembly.

98-5

Marriage ceremonies in Georgia may be performed by any judge, including those from outside the state.

98-4

The Chairman of the Newton County Commissioners has sole authority to hire and fire county employees. In the case of employees who do not work in the road and bridge department, his authority is limited by a provision requiring the approval of the entire Commission.

98-3

The Open Meetings Act generally requires agencies to make official meetings open to the public, but portions of such meetings may be closed or conducted in executive sessions under certain specific circumstances if the proper procedures are followed.

98-2

The Georgia Constitution authorizes the General Assembly to create special schools. Pursuant to that authority the General Assembly may create a statutory mechanism by which one school could serve a multi- district area and provide for its governance by a governing board appointed by the local boards of the affected systems.

98-1

A municipal government may not create rules that make annexations effective prior to the time they are made effective by O.C.G.A. § 36-36-2.

97-33

The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a) does not apply to the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 40-5-28, which authorize the Department of Public Safety to require, as a condition of licensing, that applicants submit to fingerprinting.

97-32

The Erosion and Sedimentation Act requires an applicant for a land disturbing permit to obtain certification that there are no past due ad valorem taxes owed on the property for which the permit is requested.

97-31

Interpretation of O.C.G.A. 43-10A-7 regarding school counselors using the title "Professional School Counselors."

97-30

Georgia Military College is not a local school system as that term is defined in the Quality Basic Education Act and therefore is ineligible to be a member of a regional educational service agency (RESA). The State Board of Education is not authorized to waive the statutory definition so as to allow Georgia Military College to be a RESA member.

97-29

For the purposes of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-129, marijuana is a controlled substance such that a conviction arising out of the possession thereof should preclude an applicant from obtaining a license to carry a pistol or revolver.

97-28

The provisions of O.C.G.A. § 15-21-131 which impose an additional penalty of five percent for criminal offenses includes traffic offenses.

97-26

A first-term chief magistrate, who previously completed a four-year term as a magistrate after December 31, 1995, is entitled to a five- percent longevity increase under the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 15-10- 23(j).

97-27

Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 45-2-1, which creates a one- year residency requirement for county office-holders, prevents a county from creating a more stringent residency requirement for its office-holders.

97-25

Residency requirements for the election of local school board members cannot be established by board bylaws.

97-24

Covered multifamily dwellings are not subject to the 2% cap on fully accessible or adaptable rental apartment complexes of 20 units or more which is found in O.C.G.A. § 30-3-2(8).

97-23

Under O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12, as effective July 1, 1997, the sheriff must release relevant information relating to sexually violent predators and is given the authority to determine what information and in what manner such information will be released.

97-22

The geographic jurisdiction of a city housing authority established under the Housing Authority Law is governed primarily by the definition of "area of operations" in O.C.G.A. § 8-3-3(1).

97-21

When sheriffs hold cash bonds, and when clerks of superior court, state court and magistrate court hold funds paid in for security or judicial disposition, the funds must be placed in interest-bearing trust accounts, and the interest must be remitted to the Georgia Indigent Defense Council unless otherwise provided by law.

97-20

The Secretary of State, Attorney General, State School Superintendent, Commissioner of Insurance, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commissioner of Labor must be elected by a majority vote.

97-18

A coroner may not serve as a deputy sheriff. A deputy coroner should not serve as a deputy sheriff. A coroner or deputy coroner also should not serve as a city police officer.

97-19

The salary of a sheriff may be supplemented by the General Assembly through local law or by the board of commissioners when the board has been delegated that authority through local law enacted by the General Assembly.

97-16

Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 27-3-1(a) applies to persons engaged in hunting who enter upon property of others without permission, but does not apply to intrusions by hunting dogs.

97-17

A chief clerk need not be reappointed after the reelection of the probate judge, but continues on as an employee of this county officer and is therefore eligible to assume the duties of the probate judge under O.C.G.A. § 15-9-11.1 should a vacancy occur in that office.

97-14

In order for a publication to become a countys official legal organ, under the recently amended O.C.G.A. § 9-13-142, an independent audit must show that the publication has had an 85% paid circulation rate for the twelve months prior to its being declared the official legal organ.

97-15

The one mill tax limitation of O.C.G.A. § 48-5-220(20) limits the amount of ad valorem tax funds a county may pay to a county development authority for certain purposes.

97-13

Under Georgia law, active duty military personnel are exempted from the requirement of a firearms permit. The exemption is not limited to the performance of military duty. These personnel may, upon request, obtain a firearms permit if otherwise qualified. Their dependents may be issued a permit if otherwise qualified only upon establishing residency in this state. Law enforcement officers are also exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit.

97-12

All persons or entities who sell to or contract with state government and who give any gifts to public employees which in the aggregate exceed $250.00 in value must by February 1 of each calendar year file a disclosure report with the State Ethics Commission.

97-11

A member of the General Assembly may serve as a member of the Albany-Dougherty County Planning Commission without there being a per se constitutional, statutory or common-law conflict of interest.

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