The family celebration was to have been a simple one: soda, dessert and a few high-fives around the dinner table to congratulate the middle child for graduating pre-k and the oldest on his upcoming transition to middle school.
In a move of literal and figurative historic proportions, plans call for the Cyclorama to leave Grant Park, its home of more than a century, and relocate to a new facility at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead.
See Flashback Fotos on myajc.com for only 99 cents. Visit the MyAJC archives for a historic look at Atlanta from Midtown in the 70s to Auburn Avenue and even life here before traffic jams on the interstates.
So there I was, slouched in a leather chair outside the Senate chambers, when Sen. Don Balfour slid in beside me.
“I have to tell you something,” he said.
Last Friday, though the Legislature was in session, Balfour was not in Atlanta. He’s on the board of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and was in Austin, Texas.
But when his paycheck arrived this week, his secretary – now on the lookout for such things – noted that he had been paid for five days, not four. Per diem for state lawmakers amounts to $173 a day.
Balfour, who two months ago was acquitted on 18 felony counts associated with the abuse of his legislative expense account, marched into the office of the Legislature’s payroll manager and demanded that she cut a new check, paying him for four days worked.
She said she couldn’t, Balfour said. There was no procedure for that. The Snellville senator said he wouldn’t sign the check.
Ultimately, Balfour said, it took a meeting with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and the secretary of the Senate to get his way. He was paid for four days.
“If it had happened to somebody else, it would have been funny,” Balfour said.