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Newton County looking for new recreation director
ternard turner.jpg
Ternard Turner - photo by Special to The Covington News

Newton County’s parks and recreation department will search for a new director following the immediate resignation of the person leading it for the last year and a half. 

The county government will advertise for a new director to replace Ternard Turner who resigned Friday, Aug. 7, said county government spokesman Bryan Fazio.

Turner was hired in November 2018 to lead the then-recreation commission after serving as Parks and Recreation division manager for the city of South Fulton.  

The Newton County Recreation Commission had operated as a semi-autonomous board before the Georgia General Assembly dissolved it in June at the request of the Newton County Commission. 

The action came after the recreation commission approved bonuses totaling approximately $28,000 to certain employees in December that were later deemed illegal by the county. 

After disbanding in July, the recreation department became an arm of the county government and began reporting directly to the county manager. 

As its final order of business, the recreation commission finalized a repayment schedule requiring certain employees to pay back bonuses over 18 months with 1% interest to be paid on the 19th month.

At the same meeting, it canceled youth football and cheer. 

In late July, the department announced it was canceling all fall sports, including baseball and softball, because of the rapid spread of COVID-19 — a move which drew some heavy criticism on social media.

Dwayne Mask, a longtime county employee who had served as deputy director, was promoted to interim director. 

Mask is serving as interim director for the second time in three years. He also had taken the reins of the department after the termination of former director Anthony Avery in December 2017.

Publisher and Editor Taylor Beck contributed to this report.