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PR nightmare
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Dear Editor: I am Ray Webb and my daughter’s name is Holly Lafontaine. We moved here when Hwy 138 was a dirt road.

Holly was born in Rockdale and went to school at Rockdale County High. She put herself through college, with a little financial help from the county’s tuition reimbursement program. She went to school at night while working full time with the county.

We live on the north side of the county; our next door neighbors were black. Growing up, Holly played with the black kids next door. The high school was a blended school by the time Holly went to school. Holly did not know prejudice until two years ago.

After she graduated from high school, Holy worked for the State of Georgia until 1995. Holly went to work in 1996 for Commissioner Randy Poynter. At that time Randy wanted to have a PR person in county government to put out truthful information to the public. He offered Julie Mills the job and she gave up a career as a journalist and told Randy she would take the job and wanted Holly to work with her.

Randy took on the reservoir and took a lot of heat over it. Julie and Holly put out the information to the public and Randy dealt with the slack. Then Julie and Holly worked for Norman Wheeler and he took on buying the First Baptist Church and the Maxell plant on Parker Road. Once again Julie and Holly put out the information. Norman took the heat for it, which I believe cost Norman his bid for a second term. Roy Middlebrooks came in and kept Julie and Holly. He moved Julie up and Holly was running the day to day operations of the PR department with Julie holding the director's responsibilities. Holly hired Angela to help with the day to day operations. They created the TV programming and the web page for the county. When the new administration took over, they moved Julie back to the PR job and cut her wages as soon as they came into office. Shortly after that she was forced out. She worked for the county for over 15 years working for three different Chairmen with no marks on her record and nothing but praise.

Holly took over the full responsibility of the PR department for nine months. She knew there were a lot of white employees going out the door. Holly asked the chairman if she should start trying to find a new job. He looked her straight in the eyes and told her she was doing a good job, her job was secure and she had nothing to worry about. For nine months she put in 48 to 60 hours a week and sometimes more, working many weekends.

The board that was put together to give advice to hire the PR director told the commissioner that Holly had earned the job. Oden then announced he was going to hire a new PR director. The vote was 2 to 1 to hire the new director for about $15,000 dollars more than Holly was making. Van Ness did not want to spend the money and voted against the motion.

About three weeks after the new PR director came in, she called Holly in and told her that a lot of people in the county told her that Holly was hard to work with and they wanted her out. Shortly after that they cut Holly and Angela’s jobs. Now there is just the PR director and the cameraman running the department. How long will it be before they hire new people to fill their jobs?

I ask the public that if you are glad Holly has been replaced, to contact Holly and tell her that she needed to be replaced if she was doing something wrong. But the day the word went out, she had at least 15 calls saying they were sorry she lost her job. Why would they call her if they all wanted her out? Look for a lawsuit because if someone doesn’t stand up to this socialist style of government there will not be a person left in the county with over four years of service.

They are well on the way to replacing everyone making over $40,000 a year and gave many of the new replacements at least $10,000 to $15,000 more in pay.

My personal feeling is that this county is now a socialist county. The Oden, Oz team is going to have dedicated lieutenants in all key jobs which will give them total control and use fear to deal with all employees in the county. No one will dare to object to what they are doing. The people at large will get only what they want the people to know.