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County hires former Hinesville city manager
Billy Edwards082014
Billy Edwards

Former Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards is now working for Bryan County as a special assistant to County Administrator Ben Taylor.

Edward started Tuesday and was introduced that night at the monthly Board of Commissioners meeting. He is a part-time employee and will help with special projects.

“There are a lot of good things going on in Bryan County and I’m here to help Ben sort it all out,” he said. “It will mostly be project management type stuff.”

Edwards was city manager in Hinesville for 39 years. A disagreement with a council member there last summer that included a suspension and threats of lawsuits led to his departure. Tape recordings of executive sessions held by the Hinesville City Council and obtained by the Coastal Courier through a Freedom of Information Act request show that there was a rift between Edwards and a council member over a grievance filed against the council member by the city code enforcement officer.

Edwards eventually decided to accept a negotiated severance package from the city with a stipulation that his personnel record reflect that he left voluntarily. In exchange, Edwards agreed not to sue the city.

Edwards said that while he enjoyed retirement, he is looking forward to his new role.

“There’s only so long you can do that,” he said of retirement. “This is a good opportunity to interact and be engaged again.”

Bryan County has several major ongoing projects that Edwards will be able to assist with, including the proposed expansion of Highway 144, a new interchange on I-95 at Belfast Keller Road, a proposed new fire station on Highway 144 at Belfast River Road and an expansion of the city’s water and sewer capabilities.

“I think my experience in municipal government will help take some things off of Ben’s plate as we move everything forward,” he said. “Bryan County offers a good, full complement of public services.”

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