The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority accepted the immediate resignation of member John Morrison at its meeting on Monday.
Morrison was chair of Product Development Committee of the IDA, which released two reports to the Board of Commissioners in the last year.
One recommended that the county identify and establish one or more industrial parks to attract future industrial development to the county. That report was given to the commissioners last September.
Last month Morrison’s Committee recommended that the county begin prezoning land now classified for other use to spur more commercial and industrial development in the county even if the owner has not requested the rezone.
Waller said Morrison was resigning because “of the time it takes to work here on the subcommittee.”
County tax records indicate Morrison sold the only property he owned in the county on Feb. 10 of this year.
Papers filed on March 5 in a divorce suit in which Morrison was defendant claim Morrison had moved out of the county by March 5 and into a residence in Athens-Clarke County.
IDA Chairman Rick Waller informed the IDA of Morrison’s resignation as part of his chair’s report at the meeting late Monday afternoon.
He said he had received an email from Morrison indicating Morrison wished to resign “because of changes in his personal and business life.” The video clip below explains.
He really, really truly enjoyed working with all of us,” Waller said, “and hated that this decision had to be made.”
“If you guys would reach out with a phone call, I’m sure he would appreciate it,” Waller said.
Morrison’s term was to expire at the end of the year, and Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis, a member of the IDA, said the BOC may want to appointment someone to fill out Morrison’s term.
In the application on file for appointment to the IDA, Morrison indicated that he was a realtor and business owner. He listed his address as 1310 Pimlico Lane, south of Hog Mountain Road in the west of the county.
He indicated that he or his spouse owned Cindy Karp Realty and Commercial and Industrial Properties LLC.
Minutes of the Product Development Subcommittee indicate that Morrison attended meetings on March 12 and March 19 but missed meetings on March 26, April 2, April 16 and May 7.
Morrison was at the IDA meeting on Aug. 11 when his committee produced its report on prezoning for full Authority review. Morrison noted the role of Committee member Ed Perkins in producing the final report. The brief video clip below is from that meeting.
Attempt To Contact Waller
After the meeting on Monday I told Waller I wished to talk to him and asked him for his business card.
Waller said he didn’t have a business card and I should reach him at his email address, which he gave me.
I asked for a telephone number, and he gave me his business number at Waller Insurance, 1026 12 Oaks Drive, east of Butler’s Crossing.
I called that number just before noon yesterday and left a voice mail message asking him to call me back.
I also sent an email about an hour later using the email address he gave me and another I had from earlier correspondence regarding IDA documents. I again asked Waller if he would call me.
I sent that same message from a different email account later in the day.
I got a response from Waller just before 2 p.m. today.
“Fortunately I have an extremely busy work schedule,” he wrote. “It would be easier and faster if you would send me your questions/comments and as time permits I can respond accordingly.”
I sent a message about 15 minutes later and asked Waller why he had waited for Morrison to resign rather than request his resignation given that Morrison had sold his property and moved out of the county earlier this year.
Waller has not responded to that message.
Note: Waller sent me an email message at 6:29 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2014--the morning after I posted this story--with this message: "I didn't know about John's personal circumstances until he told me and offered his resignation."