New hire to replace county attorney

By Justin Boron

Michael L. Smith said his longing for the public sector led to his decision to accept the position as the county's first African-American staff attorney.

In the face of travel woes, he decided recently to return to public service after four years as an attorney for Delta Air Lines, where he said he flew out of town two or three times a week.

The 49-year old, who also worked for the city of Atlanta at one time, starts Monday and will eventually replace Don Comer, who has been a county staff attorney since 1985.

Comer said he recommended Smith for the job because he had worked with him several times when Clayton County and Delta had disagreements over issues at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Comer said he will retire from the county at a date to be determined and added that he made the decision to leave before the new administration arrived.

With so much litigation pending since the sheriff dismissed 27 sheriff employees Jan. 23, Comer said he will work with Smith to provide him the full scope of his responsibility.

Smith will be paid a salary of $115,000.