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Commission Elects New Leadership

Things have been working well for the Jeff Davis County Commission lately.
But the group still has problems when it comes to choosing its leadership.
At last Tuesday’s first meeting of 2022, three members of the commission appeared to have predetermined they needed to oust their leaders — Chairman Brad Crews and Vice-Chair Hank Hobbs — and put new people in their positions — Chairman Ricky Crosby and Vice-Chair Vann Wooten.
But it didn’t happen smoothly. When Crews opened the floor for nominations for chairman, Hobbs nominated Crews. Before Crews could ask for a second, James Benjamin nominated Crosby.
After City Attorney Andy Ramay explained that Benjamin’s motion was out of order because there was already a motion on the floor, Crews asked if there was a second to Hobbs’ motion. Hearing nothing, Crews seconded the motion himself. The motion failed by a 3-2 vote with Benjamin, Crosby and Wooten voting no.
Then Benjamin nominated Crosby. Wooten seconded the motion and the vote was again 3-2, with Crews and Hobbs voting no.
The vote for vice-chair went more smoothly. Crosby nominated Wooten, Benjamin seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.
At the commission’s first meeting of 2021, there was similar confusion and, as in last week’s meeting, Ramay had to clear up the confusion. At last year’s meeting, Benjamin nominated Crosby and, before a second could be made, Hobbs nominated Crews and Wooten quickly seconded. Eventually, Crews emerged the winner.
When the meeting got down to business, the group re-appointed Crosby to represent the commission on the health department board, Crews to the recreation and hospital boards, Hobbs to the joint development authority and Wooten to the Southeast Georgia Regional Development Authority. Benjamin served last year as the representative to the fairgrounds board but he said there was never a meeting.
Wooten represented the county on the regional commission last year but he asked to be taken off the commission and get a citizen to represent the county.
Last year there was no one representing the county on the library board and Crosby accepted that position.
Placing Crosby on the library board proved significant later in the meeting when it was revealed that the library was in danger of closing because, when the 2021-2022 county budget was set, the funding for the library was cut. The commission didn’t learn until last week’s meeting that the cut left the library with insufficient funds to continue operation.
With that, the commission voted unanimously to find the funds necessary to keep the library open.
In other action, the commission ….
…. agreed to deed a portion of the fairgrounds property to the Board of Education.
…. approved the county COVID policy.
…. agreed to purchase an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) van that had been previously leased.
…. heard a short update from interim Road Department head Eddie Bush.
…. discussed purchasing a new truck for the road department.
…. moved their February meeting up a week to Feb. 15
…. discussed a request from the City of Hazlehurst to hold a joint workshop on the hotel/motel tax.
…. discussed insurance settlements on the fire that destroyed the 911, EMS and Emergency Management Agency building and agreed that they needed to get started on finding the EMS a new headquarters building.
…. listened as Sheriff Preston Bohannon gave an update on the law enforcement center project.

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