Chattooga County Commissioner Jason Winters has eliminated a position he created shortly before the 2016 election. Economic Development Director Phil Cavin says that his position has been done away with after thirty months.
In February of 2016, Winters created the position and named Cavin as his pick. At the time the Commissioner said, “we have seen our local unemployment rate drop from 12% to 6% we are beginning to have many business’s look at Chattooga County to locate. Job recruitment and quality of life improvements are extremely important to the citizens of this county and we do not want to miss any opportunities.” (Seen story from February of 2016 here ). Unemployment has dropped to around 4% and new industry and businesses have continued to come to Chattooga County, but the commissioner reportedly says that now he cannot afford an Economic Development Director.
WZQZ News learned of Cavin’s impending departure last week. The commissioner said as recently as yesterday that Phil Cavin was still an employee of the county and did not comment any further. However, Cavin told All on Georgia – Chattooga yesterday, ““he (Winters) said he couldn’t afford the position anymore…no story other than that.” ( See All on Georgia story here ).
WZQZ News submitted an Open Records Request on Wednesday of last week (September 5, 2018) to the commissioner’s office requesting details on Cavin’s salary and expenses to operate his office. Georgia’s Open Records Act states, “Agencies shall produce for inspection all records responsive to a request within a reasonable amount of time not to exceed three business days of receipt of a request.” See Georgia Code § 50-18-71 here
Despite the clarity of the Georgia Open Records Act regarding the timeliness of responding to an open records request, WZQZ News did not hear back from the commissioner regarding the request. Yesterday, the county attorney responded to WZQZ’s attorney regarding the matter saying that county government was “working on it.” There has still been no confirmation from the commissioner’s office on when the requested documents will be provided.