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Avery named recreation director
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The Newton County Recreation Commission voted 6-3 Monday night in favor of naming current assistant director Anthony Avery to the Commission’s vacant recreation director spot.

Avery was voted into the position by the commission over finalists Matt Taylor and Pamela Maxwell.

Avery, who has served as the Commission’s assistant director since November 2000, said the process of naming a new director was an arduous one and he was glad the Commission could move forward.

“It’s been a long process and I am just glad it’s over,” Avery said. “I have been here 18 total years and I’ve spent many years as the assistant here. I was not in a hurry (to take the director’s position), but when things happen, you have to be ready. I think I’m ready.”

Avery said that one his top focuses will be working with the Commission to sort out the Commission’s budget.

“I can’t elaborate on any changes or any (projects) we are looking forward to doing,” he said. “We have a tough time ahead of us with the finances right now. That’s going to be first and foremost-making sure that we’re handling the budget the best way we can.”

Commission Chairman Danny Stone said that he believes Avery will make an impact as recreation director for Newton County.

“It has been a difficult process and we had three excellent candidates to review,” Stone said. “I think any of the three could have done a great job. Anthony’s experience here with the Recreation Commission stood out. I think he will do a fine job as recreation director.”

The Commission’s recommendation to appoint Avery as the recreation director will be sent to the Newton County Board of Commissioners for final review. Stone said that the Commission does have the authority to appoint Avery directly, but that as a county employee, the Commission wanted to give the Board of Commissioners a chance to “give their blessing” on the appointment.

Avery will officially begin his duties as recreation director immediately following the Board of Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday night.

Commission members Andrew Cooper, J.C. Henderson, Flemmie Pitts, Rev. Ronnie Brannen, Hugh Burnett and Stone voted in favor of appointing Avery. Commission members Tim Fleming, Kay Strickland and Julius Hayes opposed Avery’s nomination.

During his 13 years as the Commission’s assistant director, Avery has supervised the day-to-day operation of Newton County athletics, while participating hiring and performance appraisals of employees and budget preparations and program development.

Avery also served as the Commission’s adult recreation coordinator from 1995 to 2000.