Confehr: Good luck saying may apply to Haywood

Friday, June 25, 2010

Apparently, there's an old Spanish saying that goes like this: If you accidentally put an article of clothing on inside out, then you're about to have good luck.

It sounds like something found in a Chinese fortune cookie, but this summer it might come true for Lewisburg City Attorney Bill Haywood. On Tuesday, the city council decided his services were no longer needed by the city.

Without repeating all that's reported elsewhere today, the color commentary is that, according to Bill, he had overslept a siesta that afternoon and when he woke up he grabbed his polo shirt and pulled it on inside out.

Less than a week earlier, he was struggling with the idea that if he wasn't city attorney, then he might increase his household income and do so with fewer working hours. Being city attorney includes delivering legal opinions as well as prosecuting cases in Lewisburg City Court before City Judge Roger Brandon.

In City Sessions Court, the judge is asked to conclude that there's probable cause to believe that there was a crime that the defendant is probably responsible and the case should be bound over to the county's grand jury. A defense attorney in city court may well represent the defendant in Marshall County Circuit Court if the grand jury issues an indictment.

So, for the defense attorney there's more work on one case with a continuing awareness of the basic facts while the city prosecutor turns to yet another case with different facts and the district attorney's office assumes the responsibility to prosecute in circuit court.

That's a slice of life in general sessions court and it's without any of the sometimes-entertaining circumstances that became the subject of a situational comedy show televised decades ago.

There's another set of circumstances that's faded into recent history.

It's often said that many deals and decisions are made on the golf course, but it's true of other places, sports and avocations. Former Mayor Bob Phillips gently feigned offense when it was assumed that he was a golfer. His sport of tennis, he might contend, is more of a real sport instead of a good walk interrupted. His opinion of golfers is long forgotten. Mayor Barbara Woods likes to play golf.

Haywood is also a tennis player. He played with the mayor on a regular basis when Phillips was in office. The mayor then liked to say that the reason he couldn't be reached by telephone on a Tuesday afternoon was because he was at court with the city attorney - the tennis court with Haywood.

It's a gentle joke and nobody's demanded a dress code at City Hall although at least one member of the

planning commission is of the opinion that men should wear socks.

There are other concerns with the change of city attorney. It comes about three months before the city manager will retire, if his announced decision remains unchanged. The city council is quite different from what it was a few years ago. Two major office holders will be different.

Change can be worthwhile. Institutional memory comes with time and experience.