Newton County Chairman Keith Ellis will not seek a second term.
Ellis, a member of Mansfield Baptist Church, 1976 graduate of Newton County High School and 15-year educator with the Newton County School System said he reached the decision after prayer and deliberation after a year of mulling it over.
“One year ago, during a period of turmoil, I made a decision to remain positive and to look for good reasons to run for Chairman again,” Ellis said.
He could not find more reasons to run for Chair than not to run.
Among the reasons Ellis shared in a statement to The Covington News were the impact on his family; the actions of the Board of Commissioners (BOC) to move powers from the elected chair to the county manager; and “third, and most important, while in my earlier life I think I was a decent schoolteacher, and later a good home builder, the fact is, despite my best efforts, I have been unable to lead the Board of Commissioners,” he said.
Ellis was elected Nov. 7, defeating Democrat Marcus Jordan by 21,144 to 20,402.
In 2014 the BOC started moving some of the powers assigned to the position of Chair to the county manager — Tom Garrett, at the time — leaving Ellis in charge of roads and transportation.
Working independently in that capacity, Ellis has worked diligently to get several road construction projects done in the county, including the four-way traffic light at Ga. Hwy. 81 and Crowell/Covington Bypass roads, and a roundabout on Ga. Hwy. 212 and Hwy. 36.
“That independence accounts for why, during the last three years, the county has been successful in completing so many much needed roads, bridges and intersection improvements,” Ellis said.
Ellis will continue to work toward improving Newton County’s roadways with the help of the Georgia Department of Transportation.
“During the last year of my term I pledge my best efforts to maintain and improve this most important relationship, and to carry out as many local road projects as possible,” he said.
Ellis said he will also work tirelessly to see that the remaining 2011 SPLOST projects are launched, and where time allows, completed.
“I thank people of Newton County for giving me the opportunity to serve,” Ellis said. “I ask for your support as I work to complete my last year in office.”