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Linder: Gwinnett needs homeland security director

U.S. Rep. John Linder last week lent his advice on Gwinnett's quest to set a direction homeland security.

In April, a former police chief submitted a report calling for the county to add a homeland security director. He said the state's second-largest county suffered when it came to grants because no one person was in charge of the issue.

Linder is a member of the House Homeland Security Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attack.

During a weekly teleconference, the Republican from Duluth said the county should consider hiring a

director.

"I feel that's a wise idea, particularly in the large counties," he said. "Gwinnett is definitely one of the players."

Linder said he believes the money should be shifted to local governments.

"The person who is going to be called into the fire is the local fireman," he said.

County Administrator Jock Connell said he agreed with former Police Chief Bill Dean that the county should appoint a homeland security director, but he still is considering how that office should be set up.

Off-season appointments

On Thursday, Political Notebook included information about Sens. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, and Renee Unterman, R-Buford, being appointed to a national committee on state legislatures.

Balfour and Unterman were appointed to some state study committees last week, as well.

Balfour was named to the Senate Emerging Communications Technologies Study Committee, which was created under Senate Resolution 298 and a committee studying inverse eminent domain issues.

He also was appointed to the Public-Private Infrastructure Study Committee, along with Sen. Dan Weber, R-Dunwoody, who represents the Peachtree Corners area of Gwinnett.

Created by Senate Resolution 163, this committee will examine the experience of other states and the possible benefits of legislation to authorize and regulate public-private infrastructure projects and how that will assist the Georgia Legislature's future consideration of such issues.

The current public-private partnership law allowed a proposal to add a toll to Ga. Highway 316 to pay for upgrades, an idea that has caused uproar in Gwinnett, Barrow and Oconee counties.

Unterman was picked to serve on a joint House-Senate study committee looking into rewriting the juvenile code, a move spurred by the murder last year of 8-year-old Amy Yates allegedly by a 12-year-old neighbor.

The former nurse also was appointed to the Cervical Cancer Elimination Task Force.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be

reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.