MOULTRIE -- Changing faces made for some of Colquitt County's biggest news stories of 2003.

Possibly the biggest story happened several hundred miles from here as Colquitt County resident Saxby Chambliss was sworn in as a United States Senator. Chambliss, a Republican, replaced Democrat Max Cleland, whom he defeated last November.

Chambliss, who served eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives, was appointed to the Armed Services Committee, the Senate's equivalent of a post he held in the House, and to the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, the Joint Committee on Printing, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Judiciary Committee and the Rules and Administration Committee. He has quickly become a spokesman for the Bush Administration's position in the war on terror.

Closer to home, the Colquitt County government and the Moultrie Housing Authority both replaced their top administrators after public disagreements.

Colquitt County Commission offered a three-year contract to county administrator Brian Marlowe in June. The contract immediately added to criticism that had already been building against him.

Marlowe acknowledged in July that he forced his way into the locked office of Tax Commissioner Cindy Harvin while she was on vacation.

When Commissioner Billy Herndon discovered in August that the county code requires the administrator be re-appointed every year -- making the three-year contract illegal -- Marlowe offered to scrap the contract and work year-to-year.

The offer did not stop the criticism, and in September the commission fired him, saying the continued controversy was interfering with Marlowe's ability to do his job.

Former Colquitt County Schools Superintendent Billy Mock was named to replace Marlowe, first on an interim basis then permanently. That decision, too, drew criticism. Commissioner Luke Strong accused the board of holding the search for Marlowe's replacement just for show; he said the board had planned to hire Mock permanently from the very beginning.

The resignation of Moultrie Housing Authority Director Ronald Reagin in July followed a controversy about an apartment complex in April, but Housing Authority Chairman Billy Fallin said the two events were unrelated.

In April, Moultrie City Council was considering support for Gary Hall of Dothan, Ala., who was trying to build "affordable housing" in the city limits and needed the city's backing to apply for federal tax credits. Reagin presented a letter to the council that said the Housing Authority and Moultrie Leased Housing Corporation did not believe the area needed more low-cost housing, based on their occupancy rates. The council denied Hall's request.

Hall's attorney before the council was Fallin, who had not expected Reagin to be at the meeting or to have a position of any kind on the issue.

Reagin owns or is a partner in other private, low-cost housing in the area. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees municipal housing authorities, launched an investigation. The probe found no conflict of interest.

Reagin resigned July 23 after 17 years as executive director. The severance package he left with drew more criticism. After a search, interim director Glenda Hall, a longtime Housing Authority employee, was named director.

Other notable leadership changes in 2003 included:

The City of Moultrie named Bob Hopkins city manager. Hopkins had served as interim city manager since his predecessor, Tony Rojas, took a job in Macon in 2002.

Colquitt County High School Principal Melton Callahan left to become executive director of the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals. The county Board of Education named Bob Jones, assistant superintendent of Lee County Schools, to replace him.

Tina Anderson was named president of Moultrie Technical College. About the time she arrived in her new position, MTC opened its campus on Veterans Parkway.

Jack Hunnicutt, who has led ABC Bank since its founding, announced his retirement. As he reduces his involvement with the bank over the next year, he is being replaced by Edwin W. Hortman Jr., ABC's executive vice president.

Chris Wainwright resigned as director of the Emergency Management Agency. He was replaced by Russell Moody, who was already employed by the county.

Nancy Paine was named interim director of Colquitt County Habitat for Humanity.

Nancy Gilliard was named director of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society. Improvements made during her tenure prompted the city to add $20,000 to the organization's budget.

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