Liberty County Commission Chairman John McIver was tapped to head the Fort Stewart Growth Management Partnership at the organization's Tuesday meeting.
McIver had been serving as temporary chairman. Richmond Hill City Manager Mike Melton, who represents Bryan County, was elected vice chairman. Faye Hussey, representing Tattnall County, was elected secretary. And Mike Riddle, representing Long County, was named treasurer.
The four-county group is seeking technical assistance and funding from the Department of Defense to cope with the demands made on the area by the growth of Fort Stewart, particularly the stationing of a fifth maneuver brigade at the post.
Frank Barton, from the Secretary of Defense's office, told the group a technical review committee will meet in Washington, D.C., from Oct. 21-23 and offer feedback on group's plans for folding itself into the Hinesville community.
After a rocky start where Liberty County expressed hesitation about joining the group, the partnership has since selected members, adopted bylaws and is moving to set up advisory subcommittees.
"You got a late start, but you're OK," Barton said.
The organization's application for funding and assistance could be backdated to Aug. 1, Barton said, and he reminded the group the Department of Defense requires a soft match from local governments of 10 percent for grants of more than $500,000.
Sonny Timmerman of the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, who has been providing staff support for the partnership, said it would be beneficial to consider his staff's time part of the local match.
Phil Browning, a member of the Governor's Military Affairs Coordinating Committee who attended the meeting, described his experience as a liaison for Fort Benning and local and state governments.
"What you're doing is not easy," Browning said, "It's tough. Everyone needs to understand that."