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Friday May 29th, 2015 4:14AM

Demorest delays approving contracted positions

By Rob Moore Reporter
DEMOREST - On the recommendation of Mayor Rick Austin, the Demorest City Council Monday night postponed until February reappointing several contracted positions.

"I mentioned during the swearing-in ceremony last week that there are a couple of these that I'd like to have - and I think the council would like - a bit of time to be able to review," Austin said. "To be honest with you, in the last four days I haven't had an opportunity to review contracts to the degree that I would like to."

Austin likened the review to an annual professional review.

The positions include City Engineer G. Ben Turnipseed, City Attorney Dana Maine, a contracted position for code inspector, and the agency contract with Rainmaker & Associates PR. People serving in those positions will be contracted on a monthly basis until the council's February meeting.

"For those of you that are here in the room that are part of these appointments, please don't take that to mean that you're not going to be reappointed necessarily, but as we move forward and do the due diligence of the city I think it's always a healthy thing to do," Austin said.

Staff members who were reappointed by the mayor and council Tuesday night include City Manager/Clerk Juanita Crumley, Municipal Judge Wink Verdery, Chief of Police Greg Ellingson and Fire Chief Ken Ranalli.

Austin made the following council appointments: John Popham as mayor pro tem, Jerry Harkness to finance, John Popham to public safety, Sean Moore to water and wastewater, and Donnie Bennett to streets, cemetery, park and institutional properties.

Bennett also will serve as non-voting council liaison to the downtown development authority, while Harkness will continue to work with the Habersham Archway Partnership. Austin and all council members plan to attend meetings of the Habersham Municipal Association.

Following the meeting, Austin discussed the delay in making the appointments of the contracted employees.

"I really want to have an opportunity to evaluate city attorney, city engineer, code enforcement, etc. and so forth," Austin said. "These are contractual obligations. They're considered appointments, but they're contractual employees."
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