DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - On Monday, a long-term public servant said good-bye to a position he has held for close to 20 years.
Dougherty County Administrator Richard Crowdis is retiring and at Monday's county commission meeting an interim administrator was named.
Crowdis' last day will be Wednesday, and on Thursday, Assistant County Administrator Michael McCoy will step in until a permanent replacement is found.
Both seasoned and newer county leaders all gave a fond farewell on Monday to Crowdis.
"You have always given me great guidance. And you have always been fair," said Commissioner Clinton Johnson.
And, while there was a heartfelt farewell for Crowdis, a heated debate quickly followed about who was going to run the county as the search for a permanent replacement continues.
Commissioner Johnson led an unexpected motion calling for a county co-manager to work alongside McCoy, citing concerns about the need for additional leadership as the community continues to recover from 2017's destructive weather events.
"My comments are not meant to come off as negative about anything," said Johnson.
Commissioners Gloria Gaines and Anthony Jones voted in favor of a co-manager.
Commissioner John Hayes abstained, although it appeared later in the meeting that his abstention was by mistake.
In 2016, during a county-sponsored school field trip, McCoy filed a police report citing physical and verbal abuse by Hayes.
McCoy, an award-winning administrator, filed a formal complaint and then an ante litem notice citing a hostile work environment.
There was no verbal mention of the controversy at Monday's meeting.
Ultimately, four commissioners, including Gaines, voted for McCoy to take the interim job, which will take effect February 1.
McCoy has been employed with the county for 20 years, and has been the number two since 2009.
Part of McCoy's job description is stepping in to fulfill the chief administrator's duties as needed. Richard Crowdis was injured when a tree crashed through his house and hit him on the head during the January 2, 2017 storm. For a period of time following that injury, McCoy performed his regular duties, as well as helping lead storm recovery efforts for the county in Crowdis' absence.