Bryan County Administrator Ray Pittman announced Monday he plans on stepping down this summer as the county’s top appointed official.
No reason was given and Pittmans’ resignation is effective July 11. It was accepted by the Bryan County Board of Commissioners during a brief called meeting Monday at the South Bryan Administrative Building.
There was no discussion among commissioners during the meeting. Instead, commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed read aloud from Pittmans’ resignation letter, which was gracious in tone.
Afterward, Pittman declined to discuss why he is resigning from a job that paid $107,102 annually.
“Bryan County is a gorgeous place to be, that’s all I can say,” he said.
Pittman, an engineer and Army veteran, will get three months’ severance pay and benefits outlined in his contract, which commissioners said is standard practice.
No timetable was announced for the hiring of a replacement, but District 3 Commissioner Steve Myers said, “we’re going to work hard on trying to get somebody in here as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, commissioners seemed to expect the announcement and praised Pittman’s dedication to the job and the county.
“His heart has been in Bryan County, for sure,” District 5 Commissioner Jimmy Henderson said. “He’s done a lot of hard work, done a good job.”
District 1 Commissioner Noah Covington said much the same.
"He's done a good job for us," Covington said.
District 4 commissioner Carter Infinger referred briefly to personnel issues, but didn’t’ get into specifics.
“Ray has done a good job for the county,” Infinger said. “There are some personnel issues we’re working through and he was part of that. Again, he’s been an asset to the county, he’ll continue to be a good citizen of the county in the future and I hate to see him go.”
Commissioners in recent months have gone into closed session to discuss personnel matters, and there was a lengthy called meeting in March in which the board and county attorney John Harvey spent about two hours in closed session for what was called a personnel matter, then adjourned without taking action.
Georgia's open meeting laws allow governments to meet in closed session for personnel matters, litigation and real estate acquisition, though any actions are required to take place in open session.
In all, Monday’s called meeting lasted less than 10 minutes and began with commissioners voting to move the date of the board’s regular May meeting back one day, from the 20th to the 21st, due to the primary election.
That was followed by Burnsed’s reading aloud Pittman’s letter, which was addressed to the chairman and began, “With deep regret, please accept this letter of resignation, effective July 11, 2014.”
Pittman’s resignation also “included a three-month notification period as requested by some of the commissioners,” the letter said. “This time period will hopefully prove to be sufficient to hire and transition a new professional into the County Administrator position,”
Pittman also wrote he will “be happy to assist the County in finding a replacement and continue my work at the County with the same passion as has been displayed during my short tenure as the Bryan County Administrator.”
The letter continued, “For the past year, I have truly enjoyed being an employee of Bryan County. This time has meant a great deal to me … I feel my time at the County was valuable for my personal growth and I hope that my small involvement has helped this great County.”
The letter ended with Pittman saying he will “be more than willing to help the County with any situation which may arise in the future. I sincerely wish you the very best.”
Pittman afterward said the letter was, “from the heart. I truly mean that.”
Before the vote to accept Pittman’s resignation, Burnsed thanked him for his work as both county administrator and as a volunteer.
“I’d like to express gratitude to Ray in the time he spent with the county,” Burnsed said. “And some of us are aware that before he became a full-time employee, he spent a lot of time in voluntary positions.”
Burnsed then named a number of committees which Pittman chaired prior to his hiring as county administrator in October 2012 and commended his work as county administrator on projects such as wastewater treatment in South Bryan and helping facilitate negotiations between Caesarstone, the Israeli manufacturer of quartz counter tops now building a plant at the Belfast Commerce Centre, and various other parties.
“Ray was sort of the front man directing traffic between the county, the Development Authority, the city (of Richmond Hill) and Caesarstone and we all know they chose us,” Burnsed said, adding Pittman also played a key role in “other items to numerous to enumerate..”
“I have always appreciated Ray’s willingness to take on hard tasks,” Burnsed said before the vote, then thanked Pittman for his work. “I appreciate all the efforts that you have made on behalf of Bryan County.”