The most recent job performance evaluation on former Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards shows that some of the city council members felt a disconnect between them and the manager.
A copy of the July 2016-July 2017 evaluation shows that some council members felt Edwards needed to improve his professional relationships with the elected members. The report was obtained by the Courier through an open records request.
The signature page of the report was dated Aug. 7, 10 days prior to Edwards’ resignation. The report noted that some members of the governing body believed the former city manager was determined to not cooperate with certain members of the council.
The evaluation form had a series of statements covering topics on how Edwards dealt with staffing, professional and personal skills, relations with the citizen, supervisory skills, reporting skills and fiscal management.
The mayor and council were assigned an evaluator number to keep the results anonymous. The mayor and council members scored each statement from 1-5 with 5 being excellent and 1 being poor. The highest score attainable was 270 points.
The form also allowed the mayor and council to add comments.
One person gave Edwards a perfect score. Edwards’ second highest score was 255.
Those evaluators were also the ones who provided positive feedbacks included in the final narrative report. Evaluator 3 (score 270) said Edwards has a wealth of knowledge from his 35 years of service and that he did an excellent job.
Evaluator 6 (scored 255) noted Edwards always put the city first in his actions, adding Edwards communicated well, was respectful and valuable to the city.
Evaluator 5 (scored 170) said Edwards was disrespectful and insubordinate to certain council members. This evaluator noted that Edwards had done a goodjob in moving the city forward in the past, “However it is time for a change in city administration.”
Evaluator 2 (scored 172) and 4 (scored 152) didn’t write comments.
Edwards’ lowest score came from evaluator 1 (scored 132). This evaluator gave Edwards 1’s across the board under the topic of relationships with elected officials and the governing body. He or she also judged Edwards as poor in exercising good judgment, being cooperative and willing to adapt, and his composure and appearance fit for his executive position. This evaluator also said Edwards had an issue with being honest and lacked respect for certain members of the council.
Edwards was suspended for two weeks without pay by a 3-1 council vote, reportedly after Mayor Allen Brown walked out of an executive session June 1. Council members Diana Reid, Vicky Nelson and Keith Jenkins voted for Edwards’ suspension. Councilman Jason Floyd voted against the measure and Kenneth Shaw, serving as mayor pro tem following Brown’s exit, did not vote.
No reason for Edwards’ abrupt suspension has been given. Edwards retained a lawyer and threatened to sue.
On Aug. 17, the city accepted his resignation through a negotiated agreement. Edwards also agreed not to sue.
The Courier also obtained a copy of Edwards’ 2016 evaluation when he was graded as exceeding all expectations in every category.
Another performance review, dated Oct. 10, 2014, and completed by former Mayor Jim Thomas, gave Edwards a perfect review.