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Newton has new development services director
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Lynn Morgan Ervin was appointed director of Newton County’s development services department in October, after serving as interim director since April.

Professional background: Morgan was the department’s deputy director for 2 1/2 years, dating back to its formation in the summer of 2010, when the planning and zoning and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) departments  were combined. Ervin said she handled most of the staffing, scheduling and payroll in her role as deputy director.

Prior to that, Ervin was the GIS manager from 2005 to 2010, taking that position after working as a GIS technician in the Newton County Tax Assessor’s office.

She also worked with the Georgia Dept. of Transportation from 1999 to 2005, including serving as a supervisor over road inventory. Having been a manager in three different departments across two organizations, Morgan said she’s always enjoyed managing a staff and helping to place people in a position to succeed.

She has an associate’s degree in business administration from Clayton State University, as well as professional GIS certifications. She’s looking into possibly pursuing a degree on the development side to complement her professional experience, she said.

Challenge of the job: Ervin said the most difficult part of her job has been getting a thorough understanding of the wide array of work done in development services, to the point where she can make executive decisions on any issue and fill in gaps when someone is out of work.

What she’s enjoyed the most is building up a team that helps the county in many ways, from assisting individual property owners with small projects to playing a part in the securing of a major industry such as Baxter International.

Because development services handles many regulatory functions, such as code enforcement and development rules, customers aren’t always pleased with the answers they get. But Ervin said it’s important for staff to handle those interactions well.

"We’re giving staff training on a daily basis to deal with customers, which is a key component. Just because the person on the other side is having a bad day, it does not mean you have to have a bad day," Ervin said.

Family: Ervin has two sons at Georgia Southern University: Bryan, 21, and Cody 19; a daughter, Danielle, 17, a senior at Eastside High School; and two stepdaughters, Angelica, 21, and Lexi, 17. She and her husband, Jimmy Ervin, were married in September and live in downtown Covington, which has been an adjustment for Lynn Ervin, who’s been a country girl most of her life.

"I enjoy the luxury of walking to the square and the business there and the events. I’ve always lived in the country, but being in the city has been really nice and very convenient," Lynn Ervin said, adding, "My goal is to get a golf cart."