Hammond is new public safety chief

Thu, 08/28/2008 - 3:29pm
By: Ben Nelms

The times they are a changing. And for Coweta County those changes include significant growth in residential and business population that provided the impetus for the county commission Aug. 5 to approve a reorganization of county government. Coweta’s population increased by 33 percent between 2000 and the end of 2007.

County Spokesperson Patricia Palmer said with the growth of the county and its workforce, the need for a reorganization has become more apparent over the last few years. This change should help insure Coweta County is poised for the coming years, she said.

Palmer said the first restructured division is the Public Safety Division, which will report to Assistant Administrator Roxie Clark and will be implemented immediately. Former Coweta County Fire Chief Dennis Hammond has been named the new head of the Public Safety Division, Palmer said. A new Fire Chief will be selected in upcoming months. Also, as a part of this new division, Emergency Management and 911 will be split, with former Coweta County Deputy Fire Chief Jay Jones filling the position as head of Emergency Management. The county's Code Enforcement officers and contracted ambulance service will also be a part of the Public Safety division.

Departments will be clustered into approximately seven divisions that will report to three assistant administrators, Palmer said. The final organizational chart is still being tweaked, but the major concepts have been approved, she said.

Despite the managerial changes, County Administrator Theron Gay said most county employees would be unaffected.

"For the vast majority of our more than 800 employees, this change will not affect them at all,” said Gay. ”All functions and departments will remain and continue to do the work that they've always done. There will be some changes in the management reporting structure in terms of where individual departments and department heads will report. But again, no positions will be eliminated."

Once a much more rural locale, Coweta’s population was 39,268 in 1980, increasing to 53,853 in 1990 and 89,215 in 2000. The opening act of the 21st century is showing that the boom in population is nowhere near ending. U.S. Census estimated the 2007 population at 118,936, a 33 percent increase over 2000.

Questions about the reorganization or other county issues can be forwarded to Patricia Palmer at ppalmer@coweta.ga.us

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