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Hamby seeks reappointment to Water Authority board

PORTERDALE -- Bobby Hamby, former mayor of Porterdale, asked his successor at a work session Tuesday night why he had been replaced as the city's appointee on the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority board and requested that the decision be reconsidered.

Mayor Arline Chapman said that Hamby's service was appreciated, but that since his term expires at the end of June, the council felt Councilman Lowell Chambers should be appointed as the city's representative. Chapman pointed to Chambers' experience as an engineer with the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management.

According to the city's website, Chambers previously served as chief engineer with the Atlanta Department of Public Works and design section chief for the Bureau of Drinking Water. He has also worked in the private sector in the design and construction of reservoirs, road projects and public and private utilities.

Chambers was approved as the city's appointee to the Authority board in a unanimous vote on April 2.

Hamby acknowledged Chambers' qualifications, but pointed to his own 18 years of experience working with the Water and Sewerage Authority.

Hamby asked that the city reconsider Chambers' appointment, saying that the Authority board supported his reappointment.

"Again, that is the (Authority) board's wishes," Hamby said.

Mike Hopkins, executive director of the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority, said the board would typically have sent letters in May asking that the appointing bodies reconsider the appointments that are due to expire. He said he met with Chapman earlier this year to explain how the appointments are made.

"I filled her in that Mayor Hamby's term would be expiring and asked her to reconsider him for the appointment or to appoint someone else who would be able to attend the July board meeting," Hopkins said.

Hopkins said he was notified last week that the city had made a decision to appoint Chambers.

Chambers said he agreed to serve on the Authority board at the request of the council and not because he was seeking the appointment.

"I was very happy with Mr. Hamby's performance on that board, and it was not my desire to take his place," Chambers said.

Hamby said he has served on the Authority board since 1994 and was appointed before he was elected to the Porterdale City Council or as the town's mayor.

Hamby said the city did not notify him that he had been replaced.

"They notified Mike Hopkins that they had replaced me, and he called to tell me," Hamby said.

According to the Newton County Water & Sewerage Authority website, the Authority is governed by an eight-member board of directors. One member is appointed from each of the five commission districts. The cities of Covington, Oxford, and Porterdale also appoint one member each. Members serve a five year-term and can be reappointed in successive terms.