PICKENS CO., Ga – Pickens County Board of Education unanimously approved the hiring of Interim Superintendent Dr. Charles Webb, effective immediately, during Dec. 20 called meeting.
Webb served in the same capacity three years ago after Dr. Lula Mae Perry resigned in December of 2016, after which he was interim from January to May 2017 until Dr. Carlton Wilson was hired by the local board.
FYN asked Board Chair Tucker Green when the school system would vote to open the search for a full-time superintendent, and he said in Jan. 2020.
After the Dec. 19 resignation of Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson, board members scheduled a 10 a.m. executive session to interview two candidates for the interim role. Some of those in attendance called the entire situation a “train wreck” and expressed frustrations with the board’s last-minute course of action.
The closed meeting lasted two hours with one candidate appearing in person, and the other, Webb, interviewing over the phone.
The board collectively decided to call Webb about the position because of his previous experience with Pickens County Schools. The other candidate had been referred to the board by an outside party.
Once exiting the executive session, Board Member Joeta Youngblood made the motion to appoint Webb as interim superintendent, and Steve Smith seconded. The entire board voted in favor of the new hire.
During more than 32 years in public and private education, Webb served as a teacher, coach, department chair, athletics director, assistant principal, middle school and high school principal, central staff administrator, and superintendent before retiring in 2008 after serving as superintendent for the Appling County Schools.
He served as Interim School Superintendent in Gilmer County during April-July 2015 and in Pickens County during January-May 2017.
As an independent consultant, he currently assists school districts and other organizations with strategic planning, board training, finance, team building and leadership development. He earned four degrees from Georgia Southern University, including the Doctor of Education degree in Education Administration. He was inducted into Phi Delta Kappa in 1993.
Earlier in his career, Webb was a successful football coach and athletic administrator. He was
enshrined in the Georgia Athletic Directors Hall of Fame in 2003. He also graduated from the U.S. Army War College in 1997 and received the U.S. Army War College Foundation Award for Excellence in Research and Writing, the only award presented at graduation.
He retired as a Brigadier General in the Reserve of the United States Army after more than 32
years of military service as a citizen soldier. His service record includes several active duty tours and four
overseas assignments to Kuwait, Egypt, Norway and the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.
The Webb’s live in Statesboro, Georgia. He and his wife Lynda are members of the First
Presbyterian Church in Statesboro. He is an ordained elder and a graduate of the Savannah Presbytery
School of the Laity (2003-2005). He earned the Certificate in Theology and Ministry (CTM) from Princeton
Theological Seminary in 2015.
The reasoning behind Wilson’s resignation is still unclear. FYN confirmed in the Dec. 18 session, the board delivered the former superintendent an ultimatum to either “resign or be terminated.”
Notification about the Dec. 19 emergency meeting to accept Wilson’s resignation went out just 61 minutes before the start time. Georgia Law mandates that most called meetings provide 24-hour notice to allow the public to attend. However, if “special circumstances” are cited, then the meeting can forego the 24-hour requirement.
Board members Sue Finley and Smith voted against accepting Wilson’s resignation in the Dec. 19 meeting.
Wilson will be releasing a statement in the future to the public about his departure.
JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Education has called three meetings in less than 48 hours of each other regarding the subject of the Superintendent position.
This morning, at 8:59 a.m., the notice came from the Pickens County Board of Education for an Emergency Special Called meeting an hour later at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the Superintendent position. This coming after last night’s meeting that was called just over 24 hours earlier. Less than an hour after this morning’s meeting finished, another meeting has been called for tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m., giving slightly less than 24-hours notice.
Today, at 10 a.m., the Emergency Special Meeting was held to accept the resignation of Pickens County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson. The meeting was called to order and the agenda amended to delete an executive session and approval of executive session minutes, moving straight to the discussion as the superintendent resigned.
Board Attorney Phil Landrum III said, “Mr. Chairman, at your direction, and at the board’s direction, I have prepared a settlement agreement between the superintendent and the board. I presented that to all parties last night. It is my understanding that the Superintendent is tendering his resignation subject to the conditions upon the terms of that agreement.”
The vote came immediately after this at 3-2 to accept his resignation. Joeta Youngblood, Donna Enis, and Tucker Green voted for accepting the resignation. Steve Smith and Sue Finley voted against accepting his resignation.
Right before the meeting adjourned two comments were made. Sue Finley stated, “I am heartbroken. Dr. Wilson has done a fantastic job leading this county. He has turned around a lot of the issues that we had when he came in. He is one of the kindest men I know. He is one of the smartest men I know. When teachers demonstrate weaknesses that need to be corrected, they are brought into their administrator’s office. Their weaknesses are outlined and explained. And they are given a plan to remediate those weaknesses. They are rarely summarily dismissed. I believe that Dr. Wilson should have been afforded this courtesy and he was not. I completely disagree with this decision to release him. I believe that this is at least one backward step for our county. And I am so sorry, Dr. Wilson. I am very embarrassed that our county is going to be portrayed this way and that you’ve been treated this way. But, unfortunately, I am part of the minority.”
Additionally, Steve Smith commented saying, “I totally agree, this is the most egregious act I have ever witnessed on a board. And for it to come out of nowhere is shocking. I was as shocked yesterday, uh, I absolutely do not support the release of Dr. Wilson and I absolutely think our board has taken a ten-year step backwards. I think our school system has suffered because of this decision. I admire you Dr. Wilson.”
While few citizens were on hand for the meeting, some who were present spoke privately with Dr. Wilson. One citizen was overheard asking why the meeting was called as an emergency. Another was heard saying this subject should have been handled after the new year.
Landrum did say in the meeting that he had presented the settlement the night before this meeting was called 61 minutes before it was held. Finley was also discussing the topic with citizens saying that the board has gone through four superintendents in six years.
Dr. Wilson declined to comment at the moment, instead saying that he would offer a written statement later.
Additionally, the meeting was closed without any interim or stand-in appointed. Some would speculate that the notice sent out at 11:04 a.m. today, calling for a new meeting at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, is to address the issue as Wilson’s signatures are no longer valid on any board documents, agreements, checks, or other legal actions.
FYN can confirm that yesterday’s meeting delivered an ultimatum of “resign or be terminated.” The meeting, called to order at 3:00 p.m., held over two hours of executive session in which Dr. Wilson spent the majority of the time excluded from, but then later included in the final part of the executive session.
Further on that topic, it is FYN’s understanding that the settlement agreement is likely to have been different from the termination clauses specifically in the amount of money involved. However, FYN is attempting to confirm this as we submit an Open Records Request for the settlement agreement.
Stay with FYN as new details become available in this story and we await comment from Dr. Wilson and look to tomorrow’s last-minute meeting as the board deals with the situation mere days before Christmas.
JASPER, Ga. – Pickens County Citizens are breathing an extra sigh of relief today as news is spreading that the major construction and repairs of Jones Mountain Road are officially complete.
Citizens have been avoiding the road at first, and later dealing with only one open lane, since February 22, 2019, when a landslide took out a portion of the road and undermined the stability of the remainder. As county commissioners declared a local emergency in the situation, recovery began within that same week when inspectors came to assess the damage.
According to Pickens County Public Information Officer Tucker Green, the project has seen delays with one paving company backing out of the project, weather delays, and smaller issues popping up. The county has appreciated citizen’s patience with the project as Green said, “We sympathize for the inconvenience.”
According to an official release from the county, “GSI (contractors) and EXP Services Inc. (project engineers) completed the project and final inspections have been approved. This project which was caused by a natural disaster – landslide earlier in the year was declared a local emergency by the Board of Commissioners.”
It went on to add,”The work required was substantial and included: installation of a 380’ long Soil Nail Wall and a 20’ tall Geosynthetically Confined Soil Wall in the most severe portion of the landslide. Additionally, a guardrail and fencing were installed for safety precautions and both lanes of the road were resurfaced.
County Commission Chairman Rob Jones called the incident “A pretty good hit for a small county like Pickens,” back in March. But said this week, “With the amount of work and meeting state requirements along with the financial assistance from the Governor’s Office and the D.O.T., that area should be good for many years to come.”
Green also pointed to the assistance as a major boon to the project. The grant came in April with an expectation to quickly open one lane quickly and another two months to fully repair the road.
Green estimated that project to have a completed total just over $2 million, but exact expenses will come through financial reports with the county.
THE PICKENS REPORT
Another busy month has passed for Pickens County with lots in store for the Summer. Currently, local contractor Jimmy Stewart is working on constructing the new Tate Fire Station through SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) funding. Local contractor Noland Construction is removing the outdated building and grading the property off Camp Road that houses Public Works. The new property layout will be more suitable to the needs of Public Works. After that phase of construction is complete bids will go out to construct a new facility to house Public Works. Paving bids for phase one are currently being accepted. The bid deadline is June 20th at 1pm. The county will be resurfacing roads in two phases this year, phase one in the summer and phase two in the fall. Phase one includes 10.36 miles of roads to be resurfaced. Additionally, the stabilization of Jones Mtn. Rd. is on schedule with plans to have both lanes open to traffic in July.
During the month of May, the Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 79 new animals, and 84 went out through various forms of adoption. Animal Control responded to 20 cases. The Department of Planning and Development issued 48 new building permits. The Water Department installed six new meters. The 911 Operations Center received 1,677 total calls, 705 were medical responses or fire related. Public Works paved Town Creek Trail and are performing routine road maintenance throughout the county. The Pickens County Recreation Department started its annual Summer Camp which will run through August 2nd. Also, the county pool is now open with hours of operation Tuesday – Saturday from 11am until 5pm and on Sunday from 12pm until 6pm. For additional information about Summer Camp or accessing the pool contact PCRD at 706-253-8863. Pickens County government departments continue to stay busy working for the citizens of Pickens County. The Pickens County Board of Commissioners continues to do an excellent job of leading these efforts. As work progresses, and projects continue, I will do my best to keep you informed of these developments.
Until the next time, stay safe, and shop local!
The 2018 general election which includes races for every major state-wide elected office and
several congressional and state representative races is approaching. The early voting period will
begin on October 15 th and run through November 2 nd (weekdays 8am-5pm) at Pickens County
Board of Elections off Pioneer Road. There will also be a Saturday availability to early vote on
October 27 th from 9am until 4pm. Election day is on Tuesday, November 6 th polls will be open
from 7am until 7pm at your local precincts. For information on your voter registration status or
to locate your precinct go to sos.ga.gov.
Also, approaching in the coming weeks is the 2018 Public Safety Day at Jasper Home Depot.
This free event will take place on Saturday, October 27 th between 10am and 2pm. Pickens
County Fire/EMS, Emergency Management Agency, Sheriff’s office, Jasper Fire and Police, and
others will all be on hand to provide safety demonstrations and tips. All citizens are encouraged
to attend this great event.
During the month of September, Public Works completed resurfacing Harrington Road, Pea
Ridge Road, and a portion of Fortner Road. They also completed tar and graveling Rocky Ridge
Road. Subcontractor paving crews completed the final phase of the 2018 paving contract. They
resurfaced: Nalley Drive, Poole Avenue, Solomon Avenue, Jones Avenue, Griffith Avenue,
Lanier Avenue, Little Avenue, Wood Street, Spring Place Drive, Beth Avenue, White Oak
Drive, Sweet Gum Circle, East Holly Lane, West Holly Lane, Dogwood Trail, Red Oak Lane,
Popular Lane, and Charles Avenue. The Water Department installed eight new meters. Planning
and Development issued 40 new building permits. The Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 75
new animals, and 67 animals went out through various forms of adoption. Animal Control
responded to nine cases. The 911 Operations Center received 1,681 total calls, 744 were medical
responses and fire related. The Pickens County Recreation Department is still offering basketball
registration until October 14 th . A late registration period will be available October 15-17. The
basketball skills evaluations will take place on October 22 nd , 23 rd , and 25 th , practices will begin on
October 29 th . Overall the Pickens County government departments are working hard for the
citizens of Pickens County. The Pickens County Board of Commissioners continue to do a great
job of leading these efforts. As work progresses, and projects continue, I will do my best to keep
you informed of these developments.
Until the next time, stay safe, and shop local!
The fall season is approaching and for locals we know that means the Georgia Marble Festival is
coming soon! A local favorite that brings in travelers from all corners of life to the marble capital
on the first weekend of October. The two-day festival will consist of: art and craft vendors, a free
children’s fun zone, delicious food, local art displays, musical entertainment, quarry tours, and
much more. The festival will take place on Saturday, October 6th and Sunday, October 7th from
10am until 6pm. The festival parade will be Saturday at 10 am on Main Street. Also, on Saturday
a free concert by local stars will take place on Main Street starting at 6:30 pm. If you’re interested
in being a festival vendor, sponsor, volunteer, or parade participant contact the Chamber of
Commerce at 706-692-5600.
The month of September is National Preparedness Month. Pickens County Emergency
Management encourages all citizens to have an emergency plan for your home. Make sure that
everyone who lives in your home knows the plan. Have a small gathering of necessities on hand
always like: medications, first aid kit, small tool kit, flashlight, batteries, food, and bottled water.
All citizens are encouraged to sign up for free Code Red Weather Warnings at
pickenscountyga.gov and follow Pickens County GA Emergency Preparedness on Facebook for
updates. Also, the annual flu shot clinic for Pickens County residents 18 and up will be on
Tuesday, September 25th 8:30 am until 3:00 pm at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
During the month of August, Public Works completed tar and graveling: Jordan Road,
Thomason Road, Pettit Road, and Evans Road. They will soon be tar and graveling Rocky Ridge
Road. Subcontractor paving crews resurfaced: Hyde Road, Eaton Road, and Mockingbird Lane.
The crews are currently resurfacing the final phase of the 2018 paving contract and it should be
complete within the next two weeks. Public Works will be resurfacing Harrington Road, Pea
Ridge Road, and a portion of Fortner Road in the coming months. PCRD is now offering
basketball registration through October 14th. Instructional league (4-6 years old) costs $35, all
other leagues (7-8 years old and above) costs $75. Late registration will be available October 15-
17 with a $10 late fee. During August, the 911 Operations Center received 1,716 total calls, 748
were medical responses and fire related. The Water Department installed 11 new meters. The
Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 88 new animals, and 103 animals went out through various
forms of adoption. Animal control responded to 21 cases. The Pickens County government
departments continue to stay busy working for the citizens of Pickens County. The Pickens
County Board of Commissioners continue to do a great job of leading these efforts. As work
progresses, and projects continue, I will do my best to keep you informed of these developments.
Until the next time, stay safe, and shop local!
The start of a new year comes with lots ahead for Pickens County government. Several projects will advance in 2019
During the month of January, the Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 67 new animals, and 75 went out through various forms of adoption. Animal Control responded to 16 cases. The 911 Operations Center received 1,488 total calls, 716 were medical responses and fire related. The Department of Planning and Development issued 38 new building permits. The Water
Department installed five new meters. The Water and Road Departments completed implementing a new brine operation for severe winter weather. The potential winter storm in late January allowed for the first run of the new brine system. The results were an extremely effective and efficient operation that allows for multiple roads to be pretreated in ample time. The Road Department is continuing to perform routine road maintenance around the county. The Pickens County Recreation Department is currently accepting signups for spring baseball, softball, and t- ball. The cost for baseball and softball is $85. The cost
Until the next time, stay safe, and shop local!
The holidays are approaching; the season is a time for family, fellowship, friends and giving.
While this time is a bright one for many, it is important to remember those in our community that
are not as fortunate. Every year in Pickens County various civic groups, organizations, and
helpful neighbors come together around the holidays to assist those struggling in our community.
There are many ways you can contribute to those in need during the holiday season. On Saturday
November 10 th, “A Taste of Pickens” fundraiser will occur between 11:30-1:30 at Chattahoochee
Technical College to benefit C.A.R.E.S. (local food pantry). On Thanksgiving Day, Mary Ann’s
will host their annual community Thanksgiving. If you’re interested in donating or volunteering
for the community Thanksgiving meal, contact Mary Ann’s at 706-253-2225. If you would like
to assist in providing Christmas for a foster child, contact DFCS (Heidi Smith) at 706-692-4730
or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can donate Christmas gifts to other families in need through
Toys for Tots or the Lion’s Club “Fill A Stocking” program. Additional opportunities to assist
are available throughout our community, be on the lookout to find the best way you can
contribute to our neighbors in need!
Construction on Pickens County Fire Station #12 off Carlan Road is coming along well. They’re currently finalizing the interior of the building and construction is expected to be completed at the end of the year. Equipment is scheduled to be moved in at the beginning of 2019. Additionally, the property was purchased at the NW corner of Old 5 and Worley Crossroads for the relocation of a new Tate Fire Station. Currently, plans for grading and building specifications are being put together. Construction is planned to begin in Spring of 2019. These are both SPLOST (Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales-Tax) projects and were outlined on the 2014 SPLOST plan.
During the month of October, the 911 Operations Center received 1,669 total calls, 698 were
medical responses and fire related. The Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 95 animals, and 92
animals went out through various forms of adoption. Animal Control responded to 22 cases. The
Water Department installed three new meters. The Department of Planning and Development
issued 41 new permits. Basketball registration has ended at Pickens County Recreation
Department. A total of 347 kids signed up, making a total of 40 teams from instructional to 12-
year-old leagues. Games will start on December 1 st and run through the end of January. Public
Works resurfaced Lower Dowda Mill Road. They set a paving record resurfacing 31 miles of
roads this year. Currently, they are patching portions of several roads around the county. Overall
the Pickens County government departments are working hard for the citizens of Pickens
County. The Pickens County Board of Commissioners continues to do a great job of leading these
efforts. As work progresses, and projects continue, I will do my best to keep you informed of
Until the next time, stay safe, and shop local!
A great deal of activity is ongoing across the county a testament to the pretty weather and good economic times. Pickens County Government is experiencing no shortage of these activities:
-The SPLOST (Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax) renovation of Old Grandview Fire Station 5-2 was completed. The renovation brought the station up to current standards, and will allow for more efficient service to the area. Additionally, construction is now underway for Pickens County Fire Station #12 located off Carlan Road. The bid was awarded to local contractor Jimmy Stewart who submitted the low bid.
-During the month of April, the 911 Operations Center received 1,644 total calls, 487 were medical responses, and 279 were fire related.
-The Water Department installed eight new meters. They also continue to work on the water line extension on Jones Mountain Road.
-The Department of Planning and Development issued 58 new building permits. The Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 61 animals, and 61 animals went out through various forms of adoption. Animal Control responded to 28 cases.
-The Road Department has been performing routine maintenance, and is prepping roads for the upcoming paving season. Paving bids were submitted to the county and are expected to be awarded to the low bidder at the May 17th Commissioner’s Meeting. The paving contract is funded through the LMIG (Local Maintenance Improvement Grant) and SPLOST dollars. 62 roads will be paved through this paving project.
-The Recreation Department is concluding successful baseball, softball, and t-ball seasons. The PCRD swimming pool is scheduled to open on May 29th. PCRD will also offer Summer Camp beginning on May 29th. The Camp is open Monday thru Friday from 7am-6pm (closed the week of July 4th). The cost is $25 per day or $75 per week, for additional information about Summer Camp or concerning the swimming pool contact PCRD at 706-253-8862.
Pickens County government departments continue to stay busy working for the citizens of Pickens County. The Pickens County Board of Commissioners continues to do an excellent job of leading these efforts. As work progresses, and projects continue, I will do my best to keep you informed of these developments.
Until the next time, stay safe, and shop local!
By: Tucker Green – Pickens County Public Information Officer
Earlier tonight, the PHS Dragons varsity basketball team hosted the Panthers of Ridgeland in the most important region game of the season. Coming into the ball game, Pickens held the 5th spot in the standings at 4-8 while the Panthers came in a game behind at 3-9. Prior to the game, seniors Mgr. Tucker Green, D.J. Walden, Sam Davis, Tyler Garner, Holden Roop, Trent Rizoti, & Walker Lawrence were honored.
In the opening quarter, things did not get off on the right foot for Pickens as Ridgeland shot out to and 8-0 lead. The Dragons however got back into it as the quarter progressed and found themselves down 5 going to the 2nd, 22-17. In the 2nd, both teams traded buckets back and forth. Both teams tied in the quarter with 13 a piece and Ridgeland led it going to the half, 35-30.
In the 3rd, both teams again remained tight. Both teams scored 12 points and we headed to the 4th with the Panthers still in front, 47-42. The 4th and final quarter saw crazy action. Ridgeland held an 11 point lead late in the game, but Pickens did not give up. with less than ten seconds left, and down 2, the Dragons thought they caused a turnover but would be called for a foul instead and the Panthers knocked down two free throws to seal a win, 67-63.
Leading the way for the Dragons were:
Holden Roop: 31 points, 4 assists, & 2 rebounds
Trent Rizoti: 11 points, 1 assist, 4 rebounds, & 1 steal
Avery Luke: 10 points, 3 assists, 5 rebounds, & 1 steal
Tyler Garner: 6 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, & 1 steal
Joseph Gossett: 3 points, 1 assist, & 1 rebound
Walker Lawrence had 2 points, & 1 rebound, & Blake Gorth had 1 assist & 4 rebounds.
With the loss, the Dragons and Panthers are now tied for the 5th spot in the region standings at 4-9. Both teams have a game on Thursday where Ridgeland will take on the Heritage Generals on the road while the Dragons will host 515 rival Gilmer Bobcats in a make up game. Tip off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Earlier this evening, the PHS football team held it’s anual end of year banquet at Chattahoochee Technical College in Jasper. A huge turnout crowd got to reflect and honor the players, coaches, cheerleaders, and everyone involved in what was another great season for PHS football.
Head coach Chris Parker welcomed everyone, said a few words, and then invited the cheerleading coaches up to honor both JV and Varsity squads. The coaches said a few words, then all the cheerleaders, from freshman to senior, were recognized and presented with their letter. The senior cheerleaders then presented their coaches with gifts and said a few words expressing gratitude for all they have done for them.
Then, it was the managers and underclassmen football players turn to be recognized as coach Parker called them up to the stage starting with the freshman and ending with the juniors. As each class stood before the audience, coach Parker talked to the crowd about them and how they’ve done this season and what he expects in the season to come. For the seniors, coach Parker wanted to try something different.
Coach Parker asked the seniors to come up and say something about a coach of their choice. The coaches then had their chance to say something about the senior players. There were also several awards handed out this evening. Here are the winners:
Golden Helmet Award (MVP) Sr. Andrew Ortiz
Academic Award: Sr. Austin Massey
Ironman Award: Sr. Walker Lawrence
Jim Locke Award: Sr. Caleb Brooks
Team Captains: Zach Betts, Walker Lawrence, Jacob Pair, & Kyle West
The final award was the PHS Touchdown Club Scholarship. This is given to a senior player who has played all four years, had no major school incidents, & write an essay detailing how much football means to them. The players awarded this scholarship were:
Kyle West, Tucker Green, Billy Reed, Austin Massey, Jacob Pair, Zach Henley, Bradley Ragano, Jake Campbell, Marcus Byrd, Dillon Eilers, Zach Betts, Zach Hermann, Caleb Brooks, & Dillin Gasaway.
Congrats to everyone involved that made this a great season for PHS football.