Heiskell, who was recently re-elected and is now serving her fourth four-year term, generally holds meetings on Thursdays at 10 a.m. in the commissioner's office in the Annex Building in downtown LaFayette. Notices of meetings — or cancellations — are posted at the Annex Building.
“There’s no law that says I have to have a meeting every week,” Heiskell said.
“I have (county government) business going on,” she said, “but they are not ready to be brought to the table at meetings.”
County coordinator David Ashburn said there has been no need to have commissioner meetings lately, since no urgent official business has crossed Heiskell’s desk in recent weeks.
“The meetings (will) resume when there's something to meet about,” he said.
According to Jim Grubiak, general counsel for the Association of County Commissioners-Georgia, there are no laws stating the frequency with which commissioners must hold public meetings. Each county sets its own meeting regulations, per individual county charters.
Walker County’s charter (dated 1939) makes no mention of public commissioner meetings; it states that “said commissioner shall elect one regular day of each week in which he shall remain in his office at the courthouse of said county for the transaction of public business in connection with his office; and the remainder of the working time in each month, unless necessarily required for the transaction of public business in his office, shall be devoted to the personal supervision of laying out road work, investigation of roads and bridges or other public property, the measure and delivery of supplies to the convict camp, the direction and management of said camp or camps in the most economical manner, and generally to the affairs of the county. He shall devote his entire time to the discharge of his duties as such commissioner, and during his incumbence in office shall not engage in any business enterprise or accept any other responsibility which will interfere with the discharge of his duties.”
Most recently, Heiskell has been out of state on vacation tending to family affairs and unable to hold meetings. Heiskell said she has been in Florida and that she did not leave any county business unattended before her departure.
“She’s officially on vacation,” Ashburn said. “She’s allowed a vacation, too.”
Heiskell's vacation began Nov. 26 and ended Thursday, Dec. 6. She returned to her office Friday, Dec. 7.
“I haven’t taken a vacation in years,” Heiskell said.
Rumors that Heiskell's absence or lack of meetings is due to hospitalization are not true, Ashburn said. Heiskell said she received antibiotics for a minor injury while on vacation, but was not ill and was only hospitalized for one night.
Ashburn said Heiskell’s vacation has coincided nicely with an absence of county business in general.
“This time of the year, with the holidays coming up, there's not that much going on,” he said. “Plus, the county doesn't have a lot of money so we're not buying anything right now.”