Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Executive Director of Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission Has Submitted Her Resignation

Will Continue As Volunteer

Angela Helwig, executive director of the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission, has submitted her resignation to the county, saying the job requires more time than she is able to give to it.

Helwig, who also serves as receptionist in the Oconee County Board of Commissioners office, open records officer for the Industrial Development Authority, and recording secretary for the IDA and for the Citizens Advisory Committee for Land Use and Transportation Planning, among other assignments, said her resignation is effective June 30.

Helwig, Right, At Saturday's Cleanup
KOCBC Member Melissa Steele, Left 

Helwig has been serving as executive director of the Commission for the last four years on an unpaid basis, though she does do work out of her office in the Courthouse between tasks for her regular jobs.

The county should convert the job back to a full-time position, Helwig said in the email message she sent on May 5 to BOC Chairman Melvin Davis and County Administrative Officer Jeff Benko with her resignation.

Followed Porter and McNally

Helwig has served as executive director of the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission for four years.

She followed Esther Porter, who served as executive director for a year following the resignation of the late John McNally, who had held that job for 18 years.

McNally had been a contract employee of the county, serving in a full-time capacity when the Board of Commissioner voted in June of 2009 to reduce his pay to about a third of his salary from the previous year.

McNally, who was 84, resigned in October of 2009.

Budget Dispute

McNally got caught up in a dispute between the four voting commissioners and Commission Chairman Davis over control of county funds.

McNally was paid $35,175 for 2008-2009 and had received a cost-of-living adjustment in that salary that was above the norm for county employees.

Davis made the decision to grant the higher than normal pay increase, then Oconee County Finance Director Benko said at that time.

Davis and McNally lived less than a mile apart in the southeastern part of the county. McNally’s address was1510 Wildcat Ridge Road, while Davis lives at 1772 Oliver Bridge Road.

According to county tax records, the 11-acre tract McNally owned had a small common border with the 11-acre tract owned by Davis and his wife.

A small green space at the intersection of Highway 441 Business and Colham Ferry Road in Watkinsville is now named the John McNally Park to honor McNally’s service to the county.

Helwig’s Email

“With great regret, I am letting you know I have decided to resign my position as Executive Director of the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission effective on June 30, 2015,” Helwig wrote in her email message to Davis and Benko.

“Over these last four years, I have done my best to promote the KOCBC mission and it has been my pleasure to serve with such a dedicated group of citizens who care so much about Oconee County,” the message continued.

Helwig said she took the position on “voluntarily, thinking that I could treat it like a part time endeavor.”

She said the position required more time than she is able to give “and a level of public relations and environmental knowledge that I do not have.”

Separate Email

In an email message to the 12 members of the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission and others, Helwig said she will continue as a volunteer and “will continue to help in any way I can to support KOCBC.”

The resignation came just before a successful cleanup effort last Saturday organized by Helwig and members of the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission.

That local event was part of the Great American Cleanup, an activity of Keep American Beautiful, and involved volunteers picking up trash along roadways in the county.

KOCBC is a Keep America Beautiful affiliate.

The mission of the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission, according to its web site, is “to increase citizen awareness of the need for individual environmental stewardship and to offer opportunities for public involvement in local projects.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Angela Helig worked her fanny off, and was a true difference maker.

Melvin and Commissioners: If you truly want to improve the quality of life in Oconee, stop planing to spend millions upon millions to appease Frank Bishop and Jamie Boswell, and pay a full-time Keep Oconee Beautiful director. This position keeps trash off our streets, improves recycling efforts, educates our children, makes the county more attractive to business, etc., etc.

I am absolutely sickened how Melvin Davis cow-tows to out-of-towners Bishop and Boswell. Whethr he fully funds this position or not will speak volumes about his priorities for the county, and whether he's fit for elected office or not.