Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
Wade Starr gave up one of the two hats he has recently worn in Clayton County government, this week, but his reason for doing so remains clouded in mystery, according to the chairman of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners.
Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell said Starr resigned from the position of policy and planning director, at the beginning of the week. However, he said, Starr's letter of resignation did not include an explanation as to why he was stepping down from the spot. Bell confirmed Starr will remain the county's director of fleet maintenance.
"The board was informed [Tuesday night] at the [commission's] pre-meeting," Bell said. "He [Starr] stated he had informed the other commissioners as to his reasons why [he stepped down], and I suggest you may want to ask one of them."
Starr, along with Commission Vice-Chairman Wole Ralph, and several other commissioners, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. A copy of the letter Starr sent to Bell was requested from the chairman's office, by the Clayton News Daily, but it had not yet been received as of late Wednesday evening.
Starr's stepping down from his policy position brings an end to a period in which power seemed consolidated between himself, and former Clayton County Fire Chief Alex Cohilas. For a time, Starr and Cohilas held a combined total of about five positions in the county's government.
Starr, a former state representative, oversaw fleet maintenance and policy and planning, while Cohilas was the county's chief of staff, and interim director of community development, on top of being the county's fire chief/emergency management director. The county hired a full-time community development director in July 2010, and Cohilas gave up his remaining positions when he retired last December.
Although, the commission was quick to name Jeff Hood as the county's interim fire chief in December, it has not shown the same resolve to act quickly on the chief of staff position, and it is not yet clear what the county will do about the policy and planning director position either.
Bell said he has not yet received any indication from the commission as to whether they plan to name a replacement for Starr, in the policy position. In addition, he said commissioners have not indicated to him whether they want to bring in a new chief of staff, even though it has been two months since Cohilas announced his plans to retire.
Bell said he will not rush to do anything with the policy and planning director position until the other commissioners give an indication on what they want him to do with it.
"In my view, the board needed to take no official action on it [on Tuesday] unless they plan to do something with the position," the commission chairman said.
In other commission-related news, the commission announced on Wednesday that it will hold a retreat on Friday, from 9 a.m., to 5 p.m., at the Georgia Archives, which is located at 5800 Jonesboro Road, in Morrow.
"The purpose of this retreat is for the board to develop strategies regarding issues that impact the county, i.e., budget, Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax [SPLOST] projects, economic development, human resources, housing, etc.," the commission announced in a written notice for the meeting. "County directors and key personnel will be available to present status reports concerning these issues."