Spalding Clerk of Court agrees to retire Dec. 31; will face no further legal action

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Spalding County Clerk of Court Marcia Norris, who was on Dec. 14 suspended for 60 days by Governor Nathan Deal, will retire from office Dec. 31.

Norris’s retirement is part of a settlement agreement reached by the beleaguered constitutional officer and Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ben Coker.

It was signed Dec. 20.

The executive order issued by Deal that announced Norris’s suspension also tasked Coker with reviewing the report submitted by the investigative committee to determine whether a removal petition should be brought against Norris. That petition will no longer be necessary.

“Marcia has agreed to retire on Dec. 31 of this year. In exchange for her retirement, we will not be filing a petition. She will remain suspended from now until 12.31.2017,” said Spalding County Senior Assistant District Attorney Marie Broder. “Debbie Brooks will continue to act as clerk.”

The agreement specifies that Norris “vehemently denies all allegations but has a desire to reach an amicable resolution to all charges and issues.”

That amicable resolution details that in lieu of her retirement effective midnight Dec. 31, Coker agrees to:

* Dismiss and conclude all investigations of Norris
* Not initiate any civil proceedings against Norris
* Not initiate any criminal proceedings against Norris
* Not prepare or file any report to the Superior Court Clerks’ Retirement Fund of Georgia which would be detrimental to Norris’s retirement benefits
* Not prepare or file any report to the Spalding County Board of Commissioners which would be detrimental to Norris’s retirement benefits

The document details that prior to the execution of the agreement, Norris’s legal counsel – William Johnson – and Coker received favorable responses from the Superior Court’s Retirement Fund of Georgia and Spalding County Manager William Wilson pertaining to Norris’s ability to retain her retirement benefits.

The agreement constitutes “a full and final resolution of the obligations of the Executive Order…together with all issues and obligations referenced in the report from the aforementioned investigative committee,” and both parties agreed that Norris’s “desire to retire does not constitute an admission of any liability.”

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