For a dozen years, Lillian Webb has been the one signing checks and handling business as the mayor of Norcross.
But while she's in the hospital recovering from a broken hip, Michael Lovelady has taken over as acting mayor.
Webb fell on Memorial Day, breaking her hip. She had been scheduled to undergo a hip replacement surgery, but that has been put off while she heals from hip repair surgery.
"I'm not going to be walking too fast," she said. "I can't put my weight down but on one foot, but I feel one thousand percent better than when I came in."
Webb joked she would set off metal detectors with the screws and pins in her, but said she just watched news reports about Preakness champion Barbaro's recovery and was encouraged. "I hope I'm like the race horse," she said.
The legendary politician, who has served the city for more than 20 years and was county chairwoman for eight, said she is worried about her city and hoping to get back as soon as possible.
"I have been rather concerned. I'm flooded with e-mails and phone calls," she said.
Lovelady and Webb have openly sparred at council meetings, and Webb said she'd heard he moved into her office and changed the locks.
"I think the actions they've taken are totally unwarranted," she said. "There's a lot you can do from your hospital bed."
City clerk Susan Brooks said the city attorney advised the council vote to declare Lovelady as acting mayor and pick an acting mayor pro tem so there will be a second in command. Councilman Charlie Riehm was given the job.
Brooks said Lovelady did go into Webb's office but only to get mail and phone messages that needed immediate attention.
Lovelady said he had no intention of taking Webb's power.
"We're conducting business as usual. I don't see us doing anything different," he said. "We were all kind of taken by surprise (by the injury). It's a type of injury that takes some time to heal."
Lovelady said his mother has gone through therapy for a similar ailment, and he wanted Webb to concentrate on getting well. He said the rumors were unfortunate.
"That's the kind of thing she doesn't need to get upset about," he said. "All we're doing is keeping things going until she can come back."
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.