Main Street director resigns

COVINGTON - Main Street Covington Director Josephine Kelly has resigned, effective June 7.

Kelly submitted her resignation to the city of Covington Friday. She has served as Main Street director for 12 years. The Main Street Board of Directors was notified at a special called meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Though Main Street is jointly funded by the city and county, the Main Street director is a city employee and an appointment is the responsibility of the city.

The city has 120 days to fill the vacancy and is required by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to have an interim director during that time period. City Manager Leigh Anne Knight has appointed former City Manager Steve Horton interim director, she announced at the meeting.

"Josephine has given us a good tenure and a lot of good things and we are very appreciative of that and we thank her for her work and all that she's done for us," Knight said.

Kelly, who attended the meeting, said when she came on board as director 12 years ago, she intended to stay for two years, but noted that the process of downtown development is never done and "it's hard to let go."

"We just made the decision as a family this is the time to do it. I'm seeing good things in terms of economic development and recovery," she said and added that she will be still working within the field of downtown development with independent, small businesses and will remain in the community.

Kelly said the program has had some outstanding board members, and there are new board members coming in that are working well together, "so I'm really excited about the future of the program. Thank you for the opportunity to work alongside you."

Mayor Ronnie Johnston, who championed a review of Main Street by an outside consultant that raised the ire of some board members earlier this year, acknowledged that he and Kelly have "had our ups and downs a little bit" but, "I think it would be incredibly naive of me not to recognize what you have done in this community the last 12 years…you have broken a lot of new territory and you have taken this city to a level and you should be very proud of that and if I've diminished that in any way, shape or form I apologize because that was not my intent. The work you have done will be remembered forever in this community."


Covingtonian 2 years, 6 months ago

Is there something the citizens of Covington aren't being told? I read in the Covington News that the mayor and council have given themselves a raise but I haven't seen anything in this paper about it. Funny thing is the raise was never talked about publicly. Mayor Ronnie Johnston, "who championed a review of Main Street by an outside consultant" is a partner in a business on the square that will be on the receiving end of a revitaliazation grant and now Ms.Kelly is resigning? Inquiring minds want to know. Is Steve Horton the only citizen with the business acumen that is able to guide the city? It seems he is called back every few months to help out in some capacity, Does Steve even live in the city limits? This just doesn't feel right seems like business as usual in Good Old Covington.


Chris 2 years, 6 months ago

Steve Horton may not be the only one, but he is among the highest performing and most reliable, and has the greatest integrity. He is respectful to everyone, especially when differences of opinion inevitably arise. Covington is damn lucky to have him. If the state legislature or national congress had more members of his caliber we would all be better off. I couldn't care less if he sleeps in Covington or Newton County, but would be surprised if he doesn't. He has devoted the best years of his life to the benefit of Covington residents. He is the antithesis of the "good ol' boys" referenced above. He deserves the same respect he shows everyone else, and he deserves to know how much his service is appreciated without having to wait for his funeral for it to be spoken.


John 2 years, 6 months ago

Chris, Totally agree with all your comments. I've dealt with Steve Horton on a couple matters over the years. He does do what he says he will do (after he checks it out, if necessary - no hip shootin'), always calls back when he said he will, a good listener = a person of integrity and not a word merchant with "popcorn answers". (aka all air little substance).


Covingtonian 2 years, 6 months ago

My comments were not meant to attack Mr.Horton whom I too agree seems to be a fine individual, the comments had more to do with the way this city runs things. My comment about Mr. Horton had more to do with, that is in my own mind, the fact that he has attempted to retire from public service on more than one occassion and is asked to come back to either help someone transition into a position or take ove a position on an interim basis. Again I have to ask is there no one who resides within the Covington City limits with the business sense to help lead this city into the future? As for not caring where an individual resides, maybe I am in the minority on this but I do, otherwise we should ask retirees from other counties and states to come in and help us run our city.


citygirl2 2 years, 5 months ago

I know Mr. Horton and have worked with him at the City. He lives within walking distance of the Square in Covington. Very nice man, with a lot of integrity.


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