Writer: Jennifer Parks
Published January 7, 2019
After a closed session that lasted roughly 90 minutes, the Dougherty County Commission re-opened its meeting and named Michael McCoy the permanent county administrator at around noon on Monday.
A motion was put forward by District 2 Commissioner Victor Edwards that McCoy be named the permanent administrator effective immediately. The motion was seconded by District 1 Commissioner Lamar Hudgins before being approved in a 6-1 vote.
Chairman Chris Cohilas, District 3 Commissioner Clinton Johnson, District 4 Commissioner Russell Gray and District 6 Commissioner Anthony Jones voted for approval along with Edwards and Hudgins. Gloria Gaines, the commissioner for District 5, was the sole dissenter.
While putting forth his motion, Edwards commented that his interest was in being a peacemaker.
“We have the opportunity to be true leaders by putting (away) the swords of the past,” he said. “I need a workhorse to lead.
“(McCoy) has the academic experience, and we have bigger fish to fry. The taxpayers were the ones who suffered.”
The vote comes after months of controversy concerning McCoy’s proposed appointment, which included a lawsuit filed on McCoy’s behalf by attorney Maurice King. Along with McCoy’s appointment, the commission also approved a settlement for King’s legal fees not to exceed $50,000.
The vote on the settlement had the same outcome, with Gaines again dissenting.
Gaines made a point of saying that her decision not to support the appointment meant nothing personal against McCoy.
“I feel we need to go in a different direction,” she said.
McCoy said he considers it his duty to carry out the will of the people of Dougherty County, and that it is a responsibility he does not take lightly.
“I look forward to serving this community,” he said after the meeting.
McCoy was seen mingling with members of the public, including a few of his supporters, smiling and shaking hands a few minutes before the open session reconvened.
A vote last year by four county commissioners — Gaines, Jones, Johnson and former District 2 Commissioner John Hayes — kept McCoy out of the seat vacated by Richard Crowdis at the end of January 2018. Crowdis had personally recommended McCoy for the position, and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government named him as the most qualified candidate.
The opposition to McCoy followed an altercation between McCoy and Hayes that eventually led to McCoy settling a hostile work environment suit against the county. The suit King filed last year on McCoy’s behalf asked for “at least $3 million” from the county, claiming retaliatory action, harassment, defamation and libel, among a long list of complaints.
Edwards won a runoff and ousted Hayes. The new District 2 commissioner indicated during campaigning that he supported McCoy.
The commission’s meeting on Monday started with a work session, including the swearing in of new and re-elected commissioners. The board went into a regular meeting, during which it called an executive session to discuss “pending litigation and personnel issues” before voting on removing the “interim” from McCoy’s title.
McCoy’s supporters cheered and applauded following the vote.