COVINGTON, Ga. – Members of the Newton County Board of Commissioners and others joined in wishing District 2 Commissioner Lanier Sims well for the future at the end of his last commission meeting Tuesday night.
Sims did not seek re-election to the post this year after eight years of representing parts of Newton County’s west and south sides. Demond Mason will be sworn in as the new District 2 commissioner in January.
During the commissioner comments portion of the last commission meeting of 2018, District 1 Commissioner Stan Edwards called Sims his mentor on the commission.
“I would like to wish Mr. Sims a happy life,” he said. “I’d like to thank him for the help he provided me. I know I’m probably older than him but he has actually been a mentor for me for the last two years on this board.
“The county is losing a good commissioner but I feel I’ve gained a pretty good friend.”
District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz echoed Edwards’ comments.
“It’s been a pleasure to serve with you through the last eight years,” she said. “It’s been a pleasure to work with you on overlays for Salem Road and a whole host of other projects. You will be missed.”
County Attorney Megan Martin called Sims a welcoming presence on the board.
“I have learned so much about Newton County and the goals for the county from you,” she said.
County Manager Lloyd Kerr encouraged Sims to stay involved in the community.
“I’ve enjoyed working with you and I’m sure that we’ll be bumping into each other. I know you have a lot of interest in the community and I would encourage you to keep that up. The community will benefit from your interest,” he said.
Chairman Marcello Banes, Sims’ cousin, related a story about taking a basketball from Sims when both were much younger. He then turned over the chairman’s chair at the center of the BOC horseshoe to Sims for his final comments as a commissioner.
Sims said working with the Rotary Club of Covington raising money to bring a Miracle League baseball field to Newton County was his first involvement in working with the community to bring change.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought I would do something political,” he said. "I hate politics, but I’m normally right down the middle.
“District 2 is pretty much right down the middle. We’re 50 percent Democrat, 50 percent Republican, 50 percent black and 50 percent white. It was the ideal district for me. I’ve enjoyed the last eight years serving.
“It’s been an emotional week because when you give, you give it all. These are part-time positions but as everybody can attest, this is not a part-time job. When you give it your all, this does become emotional. I’m going to enjoy spending time with my family, but I’m going to miss my family up here. A lot of times we don’t agree but we always worked together to move this county forward.”
Sims said one of his biggest joys was the chance to work with his cousin, Banes.
“I was thinking today ‘What is one of my greatest things that I’ve enjoyed?'" he said. “And I must say over the last two years, it’s been being able to work with our chairman.
“When you grow up with somebody, when you fight with somebody, then 25-30 years later you get to work with them leading a county, I couldn’t ask for any more. That’s been one of my biggest joys.”
The county will host a reception honoring Sims at the Newton County Historic Courthouse Tuesday, Dec. 11 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The public is invited.