Commissioner addresses layoff fears

By Justin Boron

Creeping apprehension about job losses that would stem from an ongoing efficiency study of the county government prompted Clayton County Commissioner Wole Ralph Tuesday to ask for formal assurance that the Board of Commissioners would avoid layoffs through retirement and attrition.

Services of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia were retained to evaluate the county government's organizational structure and determine if and where it can streamline its operations.

Harry Hayes, the manager of local government programs with the Institute of Government, has said personnel reductions have resulted from the efficiency studies in past.

But he also said reducing jobs is not necessarily the the study's intent.

County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell said he couldn't make any promises before the study is completed and characterized the possibility of layoffs as "rumors."

Department heads are currently being interviewed by Institute of Government officials.

The following items also were discussed and acted upon at Tuesday's business meeting.

é The county commission approved $152,523 in funds for a contract with Pictometry International Corporation for aerial photography and imaging software.

Two payments will be made over the next two years.

County officials say the software is used to ananlyze topography and property to improve tax assessment, emergency response time, and development plans.

é The county commission confirmed the replacement of Roland Downing, who served as chairman of the Development/Redevelopment Authority.

His replacement is Larry Vincent, a sales manager for Georgia Power.

The turnover comes while the redevelopment is trying to move forward major redevelopment projects in Mountain View and Morrow

Emory Brock, the county's economic development director, said the change would not set back any of the projects in which the development authority is engaged.

He also said Vincent would would be an important asset because Georgia Power has been instrumental in economic development across the state.

The commission also voted to make the current Development/Redevelopment Authority member Lou Hisel the chairman of the Urban Redevelopment Agency.