Wooten Gobsmacked By Commission’s Action
MARY ANN ANDERSON
If there is a modern-day, trendy word to describe its counterpart of astonished, it would be gobsmacked. And gobsmacked was the look on Ocmulgee Commissioner Vann Wooten’s face when, much to his surprise, he was suddenly and without warning removed in a vote as Jeff Davis County’s representative from the membership of Seven Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Council during last week’s regular meeting of the Jeff Davis County Board of Commissioners.
Wooten said that he had represented Seven Rivers for the past two decades, but none of the commissioners offered an explanation of why he would be removed from the council.
“I’ve been on [the council] for 20 years, and I don’t know why you would want to take me off,” said Wooten, adding, “but do whatever you’ve got to do.”
Wooten also added that during last Tuesday night’s meeting was the first that he had heard that James Benjamin, who represents the Hazlehurst District for the Commissioners, would be replacing him.
Whitehead Commissioner James Emory Tate proposed the motion to remove Wooten, with Altamaha Commissioner Ricky Crosby seconding. The motion carried 3-2, with Tate, Crosby and Benjamin voting for Wooten’s removal and Benjamin’s appointment, with Blackburn Commissioner Hank Hobbs and Wooten voting against the measure.
In other appointments, the Commissioners named former County Administrator Keith Carter to the board of Jeff Davis County Library, and to the Jeff Davis County Health Department appointed Oscar Hulett as a new representative to replace outgoing board member Jerry Evans and also reappointed Shannon Kight to the board. The vote was unanimous for each of these appointments.
In other action, the Commissioners ….
…. approved a request by Jeff Davis County Sheriff Preston Bohannon for more curbing to be added to the site of the newly-constructed Sheriff’s Office and jail site on Highway 341 North.
…. approved February’s minutes, financials and monthly bills.
…. heard a lengthy update by Eddie Bush of the Road Department on the state of some of the county’s roads and also his department’s need for a bulldozer. Hobbs told him to get several prices on a used bulldozer and to address the Commissioners when he had the information.
…. heard from Crosby, who said he had been approached by an individual about buying the old wooden church now located at Jeff Davis Fairgrounds. Tate stated that the county would need to take sealed bids for the church, with County Administrator Heather Scott stating that she would get the process started. The Commissioners also briefly discussed selling the other buildings from the former 1890 Village but made no firm commitments to begin any transactions with new or previous owners of those properties.
…. listened as Wooten made a motion to begin negotiations for a resolution to have school taxes lowered for citizens who are 65 and older, in his words, “to help the elderly in the community.” The motion carried unanimously.
…. went into closed session to discuss personnel, returning with the unanimous vote to “adjust salaries as discussed,” as proposed by Tate and seconded by Wooten.