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Commission axes Starr, county manager position
by Bill Baldowski
January 10, 2013 03:57 PM | 2259 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sixteen months into his tenure as Clayton County’s county manager, Wade Starr’s contact with the county has been terminated and the county manager position eliminated.

At last Wednesday’s initial meeting of the commission under the guidance of new commission chairman Jeff Turner. the board voted 3-2, with Turner casting the deciding vote, to oust Starr and eliminate the county manager post.

However, Starr’s contact will be bought out by the county.

Commissioners Shana Rooks and Michael Edmondson supported the resolution while Sonna Singleton and Gail Hambrick were opposed.

According to Turner, anytime there is a change in leadership, there are going to be changes in staff.

“Basically, that is what this is all about,” he added.

Edmondson, who opposed the creation of the county manager position as did then Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell when it was originally passed in Sept. 2011, said, historically, Clayton County has always had a strong commission chairman form of government

“Creation of this position and the hiring of Mr. Starr as county manager was a sweetheart deal based on political motives and I did not think it was good business,” Edmondson said.

“I believe last November’s election results proved voters wanted a return to a strong commission chairman local model government,” he added.

Singleton said that the possible creation of a chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Clayton, two resolutions which had their first readings before the commission last week, would end up costing Clayton County hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“I am not in favor of buying out someone’s contract,” she said. “We just had to remove funds from the county reserve so as to not have to layoff some 40 Clayton firefighters.”

Singleton added this resolution and another passed by the commission last week to authorize an audit of some county finances, represents a waste of taxpayer’s money.

“We just had an audit that cost us some $60, 000,” she said.

In other commission action, the board again voted 3-2, with Singleton and Hambrick opposed, to remove former Commissioner Wole Ralph’s name from the new recreation center in Lovejoy and rename it the South Clayton Recreation Center.

Lovejoy Mayor Bobby Cartwright, who attended the commission meeting, said that, although he had originally hoped the name of the recreation center would contain some reference to the city of Lovejoy, he went along with it being named in Ralph’s honor.

“As far as the commission’s decision on the name change, I will not question it,” Cartwright said.

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