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Commissioner reacts
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Dear Sirs: I am a new member of the Newton County Commission and am writing this letter because The Covington News article on Feb. 27 about our county misrepresented some statements that I made. I want to set the record straight as many of you have told me you found the article hurtful.

The statement in the article was that commissioners, including me, "said that employees should be happy to have a job." It disturbing to many, who felt that the comments were arrogant. I want all to know that these remarks were taken out of context in the article and were not made with any intent on the part of me or other commissioners to be sarcastic or to suggest that county workers are not deserving of adequate pay.

Instead, the true intent of the comments was meant to convey that against the backdrop of a still-troubled overall economy and still-rising unemployment statewide, all of us who have jobs should be thankful and blessed. As the article stated, I would also like to explore ways to reward county workers who go above and beyond the call of duty.

There was also a statement in the article that said, "If new employees need to be hired, the county could benefit from increased enthusiasm and energy." I want all to know that I did not make those comments, as the article gives the impression I did.

Shortly after this article was published, I received a call from an employee at our county Public Works department informing me that many were upset about some of the statements. As a result, I met with many workers from that department in the past week to respond to their concerns, and I have also visited with the Sheriff’s Department to listen to their comments in wake of the article.

I am willing to meet with other Newton County departments as well to discuss this and any other matters. I want to stress that my door is open, and I want to hear your ideas about what needs to be done to improve things in our county.

As I promised during my campaign, I want all Newton County constituents to know that I will work for them, not against them.

Lanier Sims

County Commissioner


Editors note: The News stands by its report