Lasseter begins commission term

After years at the helm of the Duluth City Council, Shirley Lasseter took her first turn Tuesday as a Gwinnett County commissioner.

With her husband showing support in the audience during the board's business session, Lasseter spent the day making appointments to boards, meeting with staff and listening to the first citizen complaints of 2009.

The topic of the day: a controversial solid waste plan struck down in court even before Lasseter took the oath of office.

But the new commissioner said she's glad to have a chance to weigh in on the issue, after officials devise a new plan.

"I'm really glad to see we can bring this back around and get a plan that is as environmentally positive as we can get," she said. "I think we can come up with something that will be a little more acceptable."

A few of the board appointments Tuesday may have some political interest. Republican Party shaker Julianne Thompson was named by Lasseter to the Recreation Authority - a move that caused Chairman Charles Bannister to name a new member of the Planning Commission, since Thompson had been his representative on the board.

Bannister named Jim Nash.

One of Lasseter's two appointments to the recommending body was Lynn Thorndyke, the wife of George Thorndyke, who ran for the District 1 commission seat against Lorraine Green four years ago.

But Lasseter said she never considered politics when she made the pick, approaching Lynn Thorndyke for her know-how as an engineer and landscape architect.

"She's a real smart lady, and I think she can bring a lot to the table when it comes to these developments," Lasseter said. "She'll add a great flavor."

This week, the fiscal conservative also had a vote for her first county budget, but this one was for an interim plan as officials consider ways to shave money and possibly services in the tight economy.

"I certainly wish I could be coming in on different circumstances, but I think I'm here for a reason, and maybe that's it," she said, adding that decisions such as last year's vote to build a minor league stadium may have turned out differently in the current economic climate. "It's going to be difficult for the next year and a half."

Chambliss sworn in

This week, Saxby Chambliss was sworn in to his second term as senator.

The Moultrie man, who won re-election after a December runoff brought national attention to Georgia, said he was humbled to begin his 15th year in Washington.

"As the 111th Congress convenes and the new administration transitions into office, I will continue to work alongside my friend and colleague, Sen. Johnny Isakson, as well as with my other Senate colleagues, to ensure the Senate works to reinvigorate the economy, practices fiscal discipline, maintains a strong national defense, and restores confidence in the federal government," Chambliss said in a press release.

"I will continue to work each day to represent the views and values of Georgians in the United States Senate."

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.