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Posted: August 31, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Recreation director search continues

The Newton County Recreation Commission remains without a permanent director four months after the retirement of Tommy Hailey, who held the post for nearly a quarter century.

Danny Stone, chair of the commission’s board of directors, said Friday he expected a job description to be posted soon, if it had not been posted already. The position will first be open only to county employees, and will be opened only to outside applicants if no suitable candidate is selected from among county employees, Stone said.

Hailey officially retired May 1, and the county and recreation commission were working on a job description prior to the retirement. But the process appeared to stall because of miscommunication.

Stone said he previously thought the county was putting the job description together and would post the job and then send applications and résumés to the recreation commission, where the commission’s hiring committee — Stone, the Rev. Ronny Brannen, Flemmie Pitts and Andre Cooper — would review applications and select finalists. The finalists would then be interviewed by the commission, and possibly county
officials, with both the commission board and Newton County Board of Commissioners voting on the hire.

However, Stone said County Chairman Keith Ellis called recently and asked why the commission hadn’t moved forward. Stone talked to County Manager John Middleton Thursday and said the decision was made to post the job.

"It was just a breakdown in communication," Stone said.

Stone said he had not seen a copy of the job description or salary range; Middleton could not immediately be reached for comment Friday. The position is not among those listed on the county’s website.

Assistant Recreation Director Anthony Avery has been running the commission’s day-to-day operations and has received some additional compensation, Stone said.

The Recreation Commission is an entity created by the state, which technically gives it the authority to hire a new director, Stone said in an April interview. However, he also said at the time that the director is a county employee and much of the commission’s funding is provided by the county.

According to its website, the Recreation Commission has 10 fulltime staff members, five maintenance employees and nine part-time employees. The county cut the Recreation Commission’s funding for the 2013-14 budget year from $1.71 million to $1.62 million. Stone said the commission board approved its budget at its Monday meeting.

The Recreation Commission is responsible for overseeing 21 various parks and facilities throughout the county, as well as running numerous youth sports and some adult sports programs. The under-construction Miracle League field and facility will also fall under the commission.

Hailey is currently working for the county as a consultant for the Miracle League project.

 

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