Beyond the vote: Why Lee County's manager was fired

Beyond the vote: Why Lee County's manager was fired
(Source: WALB)

LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - Leaders didn't explain the specifics behind the firing of Lee County Manager Ron Rabun.

But after digging through prior meeting minutes and public statements, documents revealed one incident where Rabun went rogue, and made a decision contrary to Lee County protocol.

All five commissioners voted to officially terminate Rabun for what they called "repeated gross abuses of Lee County ordinances" and "a failure to follow directions."

Ron Rabun's seat was empty at Tuesday morning's commission meeting.

And since late Wednesday, with his office cleared of his personal items, rumors began circulating that his job was on the line.

"I guess I am not surprised, I am disappointed," said Chairman Rick Muggridge.

He said he cannot discuss the reason behind Rabun's termination.

However, the paving of one Lee County road might have something to do with it.

Wadsworth Avenue runs along the border of Lee and Dougherty Counties, and serves people who live in Terrell County.

Lee County has spent $44,000 paving it.

However, according to the official meeting minutes from a September 22nd called commission meeting, Muggridge is quoted as saying that "the process for resurfacing Wadsworth Drive developed contrary to Lee County's normal process.  Staff developed it and proceeded with this resurfacing project without the Board's consent and advice which is contrary to the Board's process."

He went on in the minutes to say "The responsibility falls on the county manager."

On Tuesday, Muggridge would not comment if the paving of the road had anything to do with Rabun's firing.

But, when asked if the elected commissioners knew about the road paving before the job was done, Muggridge said, quote "I did not know.  But, I do now."

While District 5 Commissioner Greg Frich acknowledged Rabun's good work at the meeting, he went on to say that "the county manager has to have the trust and confidence of the entire board."

For now, Muggridge said business will operate as usual in Lee County.

Commissioners will not name an interim county manager.

Instead all department heads will report to the county clerk who will then relay their reports to the commission.

This morning, although it has been very painful, very emotionally taxing on the commissioners and the staff, its good we have put a stake in the ground, we have turned a corner and we can move on," Muggridge said.

Ron Rabun was hired as Lee County's manager in October 2013.

At the time, Rabun told us his top priority was making sure Lee County remained a growing and thriving community.

He previously served as the city manager in Milledgeville and Griffin.

Prior to his hiring in Lee County, he spent five years as a private contractor working with local governments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ron Rabun did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

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