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Former city manager: 'I am truly humbled'

Letter to the editor

POSTED: October 2, 2017 10:42 a.m.
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Billy Edwards was Hinesville city manager for near 40 years.

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Editor, The day I graduated from college, Mayor Carl Dykes, along with council members Frank Bagley, Ben Darsey, Bobby Fussell, W.I. Stafford and Alonzo Walden, went out on a limb by deciding to extend an employment offer to me, even though I did not have any real experience for the job. I am sure they proceeded with much trepidation, but gave me a chance nonetheless. I accepted that offer and began my career with the city of Hinesville a few days later on June 12, 1978.

At that time, I had no idea that I would be working for the city for many years after that. I will forever be grateful to those six gentlemen for giving this young, inexperienced, recent graduate the opportunity to come back home and work in a community that would experience unprecedented growth over the next 30 plus years. Few people in my profession have ever been so fortunate; thank you, gentlemen.

During my time with the city, I had the pleasure to work with six different mayors: Carl Dykes (twice), James Brown, Buddy DeLoach, Allen Brown (twice), Tom Ratcliffe and Jim Thomas. Each of these fine men led our city while always keeping the community’s best interest at the fore front of their thinking and setting the pace for growth we experienced during their respective terms in office. They allowed me to work alongside them and taught me so many lessons about leadership and public service and to them I am deeply grateful. Their mentoring helped me grow in every aspect of my life; thank you, gentlemen.

Also during my employment with the city, I had the honor of working with many council members from all walks of life —lawyers, bankers, business owners, retired military members, etc.— each of whom brought their unique perspectives to the table that helped us handle the challenges we faced during good times, as well as the difficult times.

Thank you to those ladies and gentlemen for your leadership and for having the confidence in me to manage the affairs of our community.

When you work in a community as long as I have, you get the opportunity to work alongside many fellow employees. There have been so many that I dare not try to write down all their names. I will tell you this though, the employees of the city of Hinesville are dedicated public servants that serve our community with the highest level of integrity and our community should be proud of every one of them.

The professional group of department heads currently serving is as good as it gets. Each of them in their own right represent the city across this state and country and are widely recognized for their professionalism and dedication. I would put this group up against all comers. Thank you ladies and gentlemen for you exemplary service to our community.

Finally, to our citizens, it was indeed an honor and a privilege to be your city manager. Over the past 39 plus years, you have allowed me to serve you, work with you and for you.

Hinesville is a very diverse community and I believe that makes us strong. When we work together, we can accomplish anything and overcome all obstacles. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of our many accomplishments.

As I close I must express my deep gratitude to the many people that offered words of encouragement and support during these recent difficult months. Your thoughts and prayers were comforting and helped me tremendously. I am truly humbled. God bless you.

Best wishes to all,

Billy Edwards

Hinesville

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