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Balfour says he's not looking for promotion

At a glance, it might look like state Sen. Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, has vaulted over Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Don Balfour of Snellville to become the chamber's new majority leader.

But Balfour said Williams, formerly the caucus vice chairman, was the right pick for the GOP senators who elected him to the leadership post unanimously during the recent state Republican Convention in Savannah.

"I was convinced he could do the best job," Balfour said. "He has the background for it."

Williams, now the owner of a small business, is a former farmer and teacher who picked up Hebrew while living in Israel and taught English in China.

Balfour said he prefers keeping his chairmanship of the powerful Rules Committee, which controls the Senate agenda. He said the time constraints of the two jobs

wouldn't allow him to do both.

Williams succeeds Sen. Bill Stephens, R-Canton, who is stepping down from leadership to concentrate on his 2006 bid for secretary of state.

Walker removal voteto be held Tuesday

Mychal Walker officially will be unseated from the MARTA Board on Tuesday.

The Board of Commissioners voted two weeks ago to remove the Duluth man accused of taking money from a subcontractor lobbying for a MARTA contract.

But according to rules established earlier this year, the commissioners have to vote on a written report detailing the reasons for the removal.

Walker has pledged to "exhaust all appeal rights."

Walker allegedly was employed by a subcontractor seeking a $100 million contract with the transit authority.

He defends himself by saying he did not vote on the contract and that the company did not receive the contract, but MARTA's Code of Ethics says the "appearance of a conflict of interest" is enough to remove a member.

Staff Writer Dave Williams contributed to this report.

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.