Thursday, March 21, 2013
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:Tommy Hailey is retiring after 24 years as head of Newton County Recreation. - File Photo
COVINGTON -- Newton County Recreation Commission Director Tommy Hailey is retiring after 24 years, effective May 3. "It's been a privilege to serve the people for the last 24 years. My goal when I came in was to leave it in better hands than when I first came, and I think I accomplished that," Hailey said.
Hailey said this is his last opportunity to take advantage of an early retirement incentive package offered by the city of Covington. Hailey was one of a handful of recreation employees who remained a city employee when the county took over operations in the 1990s. Those employees are paid by the city and the city is reimbursed by the county. The arrangement was made so that employees who were far enough along into their tenure could keep their retirement through the city.
Hailey said he will still remain involved in the community and will continue to serve on local committees, including the Miracle League of Newton County.
"Tommy has served well in the position of director of the Recreation Commission and it's apparent we have made great strides," said Recreation Commission Chairman Danny Stone. "We have an award-winning department at Newton Recreation. I am excited for Tommy and (wife) Holly as he moves into the next phase of his life but deeply saddened from the Recreation Commission's point of view."
Stone said he's not yet sure of what the process will be for selecting a new director, but that the Board of Commissioners will have the final say.
Flemmie Pitts, member of the Recreation Commission Board, said he expects the Recreation Commission to discuss the matter in executive session at its 6 p.m. meeting Monday. Pitts said he expects an interim director will be appointed from in-house to handle operations until a permantent appointment is made.
"We do have some great guys. We've got a great team over there," he said, adding that staff is capable of continuing operations.