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County, The Center welcome new hires
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Hosanna Fletcher is well known in Newton County as half of the two-person team that runs the non-profit group affectionately known as The Center.

The Center for Community Preservation and Planning, located at 2104 Washington St., is a non-profit community gathering spot as well as the unofficial facilitation headquarters for Newton’s local governments.

For the past handful of years Fletcher and The Center’s founder Kay Lee have been helping municipal and county officials communicate and collaborate with each other and the community as a whole. Whether The Center is facilitating a discussion about the architectural future of the historic Almon community or hosting one of the region’s premier experts on agricultural industry; it’s role is to help Newton County work together to prepare for the expected, dramatic growth.

So it’s been a change for Fletcher who recently accepted a position with the county as its Executive Administrative Coordinator. She’s having to transition from being the go-between to being an advocate specifically for the county.

“It is a simpler way to approach a job but certainly I haven’t lost that collaborative spirit.  I loved working with the wide variety of people and agencies through the collaborative work of The Center — so many people come through those doors.  I hope that though now my loyalty lies with Newton County, I am able to  bring some of my own brand of collaboration to the table,” she said.

At the county, Fletcher will work side-by-side with Administrative Assistant John Middleton and Chairman Kathy Morgan. She’ll still be heavily involved in researching and preparing reports for a variety of special projects, and she’ll oversee the county’s impact fee fund, including giving out permits.

“This is the assistant to John and I. The earliest I got home this week was literally at 9:30 p.m. John and I often work from 7 a.m. until that late many evenings,” Morgan said. “Our staff has done a great job of filling in and answering the phones, but whenever somebody gets taken away from their position to answer phones, they get farther behind.”

Morgan said the position is budgeted and was filled until December. The county has been searching for the right replacement, and Morgan said that was Fletcher, who has two master’s degree and familiarity with the range of county and state issues.

The transition to the county will be just another step for Fletcher. She and her husband Kevin originally moved to Newton County from New Orleans in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina, and stayed with Kevin’s parents: the rest is history.

“I was blessed to find — literally stumble upon — The Center and be able to fill the need that they had in coordination, research, and management.  Moreover, we were blessed to find the community that we have here that was just waiting on us to call it home,” she said.

But when one person leaves, another has to fill her place, and Lee found an old friend, Shamica Williams, to become her new right-hand woman at The Center. The two became friends during their careers at Georgia Power, where Williams spent 13 years an industrial engineer and project manager.

Williams worked on everything from electrical infrastructure projects to organizing a 12,000 person conference to implementing efforts to help diversify Georgia Power’s workforce.

She eventually moved on from Georgia Power to open her own businesses. After a while she decided she wanted something different — so she sold her businesses and began volunteering at The Center in October. Now she’s working there full-time.

“When I sold my businesses, I decided I wanted something that felt more like me. My life purpose has been to manage projects that provide sustainable hope for others. I can be a great project manager no matter what the project, but the projects here matched my purpose,” Williams said, “so here I am.”