JONESBORO Clayton County has a new money manager.
It has a new operations overseer, too.
The Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to hire former Clayton County Public Schools budget director Ramona Thurman as the county’s chief financial officer. The Commission hired Waggoner Engineering Inc. director of south Louisiana, Anthony Brister, to be the chief operating officer by the same vote margin.
Commissioners Sonna Singleton and Gail Hambrick opposed both appointments.
Thurman, who was present for the vote, said she looked forward to using her familiarity with Clayton County’s financial situation to help the commissioners. She also said she has lived in the county for 12 years and is excited to work closer to home again after a stint with Atlanta Public Schools.
“I like helping people and I feel I can contribute to the county by utilizing my skills to help,” Thurman said.
Commission Chairman Jeff Turner said he picked Thurman and Brister as his recommendations for the newly-created positions because of their past experiences.
Thurman’s past work for the county’s school system means she already has a working relationship with Tax Commissioner Terry Baskin and will be familiar with the area’s shrinking tax digest.
Thurman is expected to start soon and will work alongside finance director Angela Jackson on the county’s 2014 budget, which is already under development, said Turner. Going forward, however, Thurman will be Jackson’s boss and the person responsible for the budget’s creation.
“We know she worked with the school system at one time and managed what I think at that time was a $500 million budget, and at several other places she’s worked, she had large budgets to manage,” Turner said.
The budget approved last year by commissioners was much smaller by comparison, totaling $268.7 million.
Meanwhile, Brister has experience with project and personnel management through his current job and that made him attractive to the county.
“For me, project management was a big plus in the person’s background because I want to make sure we have somebody who knows how to manage projects since we have a number of SPLOST projects that we want to get moving,” Turner said.
Turner said Brister is expected to start once he completes a project he is working on for Waggoner Engineering.
More county board seats change hands
Commissioners continued to review county board appointments made late last year.
Five appointments were reviewed Tuesday, and only Zoning Advisory Group members Kevin Lewis and K.C. Watts were retained.
One appointee to the Regional Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases Board, Mary Moen, resigned last month. She was replaced by Brent Bendetti. Another appointee to the board, Deborah Lazarus, was replaced by Brenda Roberts.
Tax Assessors Board member Synamon Baldwin was replaced by Garvey Cills.
The appointments of Bendetti, Roberts and Cills were made by 3-2 votes with Singleton and Hambrick in opposition. Before the vote on Baldwin’s seat was taken, Singleton said removing her would be an “act of retaliation,” but she did not explain why.