Tom Garrett has resigned as the Barrow County public works director. The Barrow County Board of Commissioners discussed having a private company temporarily fill the vacancy after an hour-and-a-half closed session Feb. 9.
The BOC approved in a 4-3 vote creating a special committee to negotiate and authorize a contract with an engineering company to fill the position until a full-time director is hired. The contract could be terminated with five days notice and the company would be paid no more than the director’s salary.
The BOC plans to continue advertising the public works director position. Interim county manager Jimmy Terrell will take over the director’s responsibilities until the vacancy is filled. Chairman Pat Graham said filling the vacancy will cut down on the added workload for Terrell or a new county manager, when hired.
“It is a lot to ask of one person to manage Barrow County and directly supervise six departments, especially with the workload of the departments in public works,” she said.
Graham said the department is working on several projects and could soon move forward with phase III engineering for the West Winder Bypass. She said a professional services agreement could allow the county to quickly fill the position. But several board members were concerned about the process. Some questioned whether the BOC should go through the normal hiring process, or to require Requests for Qualifications (RFQ). But Graham said, “This seemed like a quicker way to meet the need we have now because the position is vacant.”
The vote passed with Roger Wehunt, Billy Parks and Ben Hendrix opposed.
The BOC also approved the purchase of easement for $7,000 as part of the Ed Hogan project. This includes .046 acres of right of way and .118 acres of easement.