Tim Satterfield will run for county commission

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Tim Satterfield received the “Hero” award from Bill Kokaly, a representative of U.S. Congressman Doug Collins in September.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Former Dawson County Deputy Emergency Services Chief Tim Satterfield announced today (Feb. 12) that he is a candidate for the District 3 seat on the Dawson County Board of Commissioners.

In a phone interview with FetchYourNews, Satterfield said, “I just feel like I have some more to give back to Dawson County. I have a passion and a desire to help create a safe, clean community for citizens to live, work and play in.”

Satterfield retired last month, following a stellar 41-year career. He gained national recognition while specializing in canine search and rescue and has taken part in more than 50 state- and federal-level missions, including water search, arson, bomb disaster search and work with missing and abducted children. He was state coordinator for the urban search and rescue team and was one of the first of 12 team members in the U.S. to be certified in child abduction response. His K-9 unit received the Marguerite Brock Rescue Award from the Emergency Management Association of Georgia.

In September, 9th District Congressman Doug Collins presented Satterfield the “Hero” award as “someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty during their career to help citizens in and around their communities.”

Satterfield said he recently viewed a television program that listed the safest communities in Georgia. “I believe Johns Creek was number one,” he said. “I would like to see Dawsonville and Dawson County on that list. I feel like if we have a clean, safe community where people can live, work and play, we will be able to attract more desirable type businesses.”

Satterfield believes the county can obtain grants to help accomplish those goals and reduce the cost to taxpayers. He stated, “I did some (grant writing) when I worked in fire services, and I believe my experience in that could be helpful.

When Satterfield retired in September, County Manager David Headley said, “Knowing Chief Satterfield, both on the job and in his personal life, his hand is always stretched out to serve others. He is someone who has given his life to something other than himself and truly is a hero.”

Satterfield will run for the position being vacated by Commissioner Jimmy Hamby who has announced he will retire at the end of his term.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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Sheriff vs. Dawson County heads to courtroom

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Sheriff Jeff Johnson

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – A bitter dispute between Dawson County’s first-term Sheriff Jeff Johnson and the Dawson County Board of Commissioners will finally move into Senior Superior Court Judge Fred A. Bishop’s courtroom tomorrow (Jan. 30).

On Dec. 18, Bishop ordered county commissioners to appear before him to show cause why Johnson’s petition for mandamus “should not be issued as requested and such other relief be granted as the facts of the case may warrant.”

Johnson claims the $8,273,080 budget approved by the commissioners for 2018 is inadequate for him to perform the duties of his office. He has requested his budget be set at $8,961,406.

County Manager David Headley

Commissioners counter that Johnson is wasting taxpayer dollars by not using the county’s Purchasing Department or following the county’s established purchasing policies. They say the 2018 budget they approved represents a one-year increase of close to $1 million and is the largest increase awarded to any county office.

In fact, figures released by the county show that the sheriff’s budget has increased by $2.3 million since 2014. County Manager David Headley said the sheriff’s budget grew by $525,381 in 2015, $348,648 in 2016, $457,632 in 2017 and $985,277 in 2018.

Moreover, a Georgia Department of Community Affairs survey reveals Dawson County citizens pay more per capita to operate the sheriff’s office and jail than any other county in north Georgia. The survey of 26 counties shows Dawson County citizens pay $273 each.

Headley said the county has repeatedly reached out to the sheriff to offer assistance in matters such as human resources, finance and purchasing, and grants and maintenance.

“We have a well-trained staff and policies in place, which can help with compliance with the law and doing things in the most efficient and economical way,” Headley said. “Our offers have frequently been ignored or declined.”

Tuesday’s hearing is set for  9:30 a.m.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Dawson County searching for new EMS director

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EMS Director Lanier Swafford

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County has begun advertising for a new director of Emergency Management Services (EMS) to replace Lanier Swafford.

Swafford, who currently serves the dual function of EMS director and fire chief, will remain as the county’s fire chief. County Manager David Headey said Tuesday, Jan. 23, the move was the result of a change in administrative functions that have taken place in the department and Swafford had volunteered to step back.

“Lanier is involved in a lot of public safety functions for outside organizations, and this will allow him more flexibility,” Headley said. Swafford will receive a 10 percent reduction in salary to serve exclusively as fire chief.

Headley added that Danny Speaks will take on the position of deputy fire chief with responsibility for operations and training. Speaks will report to Swafford who will be in charge of administration and oversee battalion chiefs.

Headley said the county will search internally and externally for a new EMS director, and he hopes to fill the position by the end of February. Until then, Swafford will continue to serve as director.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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A hero retires from Dawson County EMS

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Bill Kokaly presents Tim Satterfield (right) “Hero” award on behalf of Congressman Doug Collins.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Emergency Services Director Lanier Swafford faces a nearly impossible task in the new year – replacing the old warhorse Deputy Chief Tim Satterfield, who is retiring this week.

Satterfield, a 41-year fire services veteran, has humbly, selflessly and heroically served the citizens of Dawson County the last 12 years, following stints in Clayton County and the cities of McDonough, Georgia, and Clearwater, Florida.

Dawson County Commissioners recently celebrated Satterfield’s service with a reception following the Board of Commissioners work session.

Satterfield has specialized in canine search and rescue and has taken part in more than 50 state and federal level missions, including water search, arson, bomb disaster search and work with missing and abducted children. He is state coordinator for the urban search and rescue team and was one of the first of 12 team members in the U.S. certified in child abduction response. His K-9 unit received the Marguerite Brock Rescue Award from the Emergency Management Association of Georgia.

In September, Ninth District Congressman Doug Collins presented Satterfield the “Hero” award as someone who has gone above and beyond during their career to help citizens in and around their communities.

In presenting the award, Collins said, “First responders represent some of the most selfless and skillful public servants I know. As the son of a Georgia State Trooper, I have seen their commitment to their neighbors throughout my life, and Deputy Chief Satterfield is an example of humble service. I’m grateful that northeast Georgia is home to such brave first responders.”

County Manager David Headley added, “Tim has risked his life and put himself in harm’s way so that others may live. He has minimized pain for others and given them comfort in their time of need. Knowing Chief Satterfield both on the job and in his personal life, his hand is always stretched out to serve others. He is someone who has given his life to something other than himself and truly is a hero. A grateful community says congratulations and thanks to Chief Satterfield.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Headley: Sheriff’s budget increase close to $1 million

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County Manager David Headley

DAWSONVILLE Ga. – A report issued by Dawson County Manager David Headley during Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting indicates first-term Sheriff Jeff Johnson, who is threatening to sue the county for a bigger 2018 budget, received an increase of close to $1 million over the 2017 budget.

The sheriff’s budget for the current year is $6,822,566. The approved budget for 2018 is $7,365,547, an increase of $542,981. But Headley points out the sheriff’s office also will receive an increase of nearly half a million dollars in SPLOST funding and an additional $300,000 in capital funding.

Headley’s report indicated the sheriff’s office has received a budget increase in each of the last four years, including next year’s increase of $985,277.

The county manager took exception to a statement made by attorney Joey Homans, who represents the sheriff’s office, at a recent town hall meeting. Homans said commissioners refused to “sit down at the table” to negotiate a budget resolution.

“The notion that we have refused to meet over these matters is just wrong,” Headley said in his report. “The sheriff made his request for a large budget back in July. Since then, we have had several public meetings and hearings and the sheriff and his attorney were allowed to speak as much as they wanted. One of those meetings was a special called meeting held specifically for discussion of the sheriff’s budget.”

He added that the county has repeatedly reached out to the sheriff to offer assistance in matters such as human resources, finance and purchasing, grants and maintenance. “We have a well-trained staff and policies in place which can help with compliance with the law and doing things in the most efficient and economical way,” Headley said. “Our offers have frequently been ignored or declined.”

Headley said he chose to issue his report to clear up much of the confusion and misinformation that exists regarding the dispute between the county and the sheriff.

Johnson has often stated that he needs more officers on patrol, but Headley countered by saying, “Of the sheriff’s position requirements, none are for patrol. He asked for four detention officers for the jail (his top priority), a school resource officer, a communications officer, an investigator, accreditation manager and court services deputy.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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County employees enjoy Thanksgiving luncheon

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Publix Customer Service Manager Nicholas Kirkland, Dawson County Manager David Headley and Publix Assistant Meat Manager Jim Ferrante with the 10 turkeys and two hams the supermarket provided Dawson County at a discount.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County employees do their best to serve the citizens of Dawson County, so County Manager David Headley and the county commissioners decided it was high time they returned the favor.

Headley, Chairman Billy Thurmond and commissioners Jimmy Hamby, Julie Nix, Chris Gaines and Sharon Fausett purchased the turkey and ham and served a Thanksgiving potluck luncheon at Veterans Memorial Park.

Employees could either sit down for their meal or take it to go. An estimated 125 county workers participated.

“Our employees are our most important asset, and this was just one way we are able to show our appreciation,” Headley said. “We also thank our employees for providing the many delicious side dishes, desserts and other items that helped make our gathering a success. We wish our employees and their families, and all of our Dawson County citizens, a happy Thanksgiving.”

Thurmond added, “I want to thank the staff for their hard work and dedication to the citizens of Dawson County. I also want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.”

Publix in Dawsonville partnered with the county to provide 10 turkeys and two hams at a discounted price.

“We would like to thank our friends at Publix for the delicious meat; those who prepared it, Ricky Rexroat of Emergency Services and David McKee of Public Works; and Commissioners Billy Thurmond, Sharon Fausett, Chris Gaines and Julie Hughes Nix for taking time to help serve the meal,” Headley said.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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SPLOST, LOST Collection Exceed Projection

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County Manager David Headley

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – County Manager David Headley delivered some welcome news during the Dawson County Board of Commissioners work session Thursday. The county has made great gains in collection of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). Both have performed above expectations.

Bearden said revenue from both is up 17.6 percent over the same month in 2016 and 12.58 percent for the year. Last month’s collection came in 26.2 percent over projection.

Total SPLOST VI collection for the year is $16,281,296. September SPLOST collection was $682,219 while LOST collection was $600,343.

Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond has stressed the importance of reaching SPLOST and LOST collections during his first year in office. “If we keep on the current pace, we might reach the projected amount of sales tax we put into the 2017 budget,” he said. “That will be the first time that has happened in the last several years. In fact, I’m glad to hear we might actually beat the projections.”

Public Works Director David McKee requested Board approval to apply for the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG) from the state Motor Fuel Tax collections. The grant requires a match of 30 percent. This year the amount allotted to Dawson County is $413,739.21. Dawson County’s 30 percent match would total $124,121.76. Total budget for 2018 LMIG projects is $537,860.97.

Sr. Services Director Dawn Pruett

The funds will be utilized to repair the following roads: A.T. Moore, Mt. Vernon, Pelican Court, Biscayne Dr., Keys Court, Sandcastle Ct., Bay Drive, Harbour Drive and Seabreeze Way.

Senior Services Director Dawn Pruett will present a continuous grant application for the Board’s approval. The grant is with the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) to provide public transportation for Dawson County citizens.

If approved, the grant will continue to pay a 50 percent match with federal funding for administrative and operating budget.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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Stop the Bleed Training an Essential Investment for County Employees

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County Mgr. David Headley

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson County employees recently participated in a program called “Stop the Bleed,” an initiative funded by the Georgia Trauma Commission and developed as a result of the increasing number of active shooter and mass casualty events across the nation.

Emergency Services Director Lanier Swafford and his team completed the training at local schools along with county law enforcement. October marked the kick off for the training, which was conducted during a routine senior staff meeting.

EMS Director Lanier Swafford

In the press release, Dawson County Manager David Headley pointed out that employee training often is viewed as optional rather than essential and an expense rather than an investment.

“This is understandable since training and development are not necessarily focused on producing a targeted result,” Headley said. “Without immediate measureable results, it is nearly impossible to view training as anything more than an expense.”

But county leadership views training as a capital investment – taking into consideration what is an acceptable rate of return on the investment made by citizens. Among the questions leaders ask before undertaking a new training initiative is: What is going to change in the organization or in the behavior and performance of employees as a result, and how will it better serve the citizenry?

“One saved life or one preserved limb due to hands-on Stop the Bleed training can make a difference beyond measureable results,” Headley said.

Successful training and development programs nearly always include a component that addresses employee attitude.

“That is why, in conjunction with initiatives like Stop the Bleed, we attempt to always ask a fundamental question: What attitude did you bring to work or the task at hand? Our senior staff answered this very question during a recent training session. Attitude is the indispensable ingredient to success in our organization. A positive attitude is not an option but, rather, mandatory; and we make an effort to build on this key point regularly,” Headley added.

Headley, who recently had his contract with the county renewed for another year, said,  “Since I have been appointed county manager, one of my primary goals has been to create an environment that employees and citizens alike would want to promote. In other words – brand building. Our training is targeted for specific results that can be measured. Our employees are our principle asset, and we make every effort to invest in them so they can expertly serve our citizens. Moving ahead with programs and workshops – such as Stop the Bleed and the upcoming Community Connections Workshop on Nov. 9 (to which the public is invited) – will play a continued role in how we better serve our community.”

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