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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Congressman Collins Honors Satterfield, Pichon

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Bill Kokaly presents award to Deputy Chief Tim Satterfield.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County Deputy Chief of Emergency Services Tim Satterfield and Gary Pichon, a member of the county’s Long Range Planning Committee and former county commissioner, were among those honored as Heroes by 9th District Congressman Doug Collins for going above and beyond the call of duty in service to their community.

“First responders represent some of the most selfless and skillful public servants I know,” said Collins. “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 intheir 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.”

Satterfield, a 41-year service veteran said he was both surprised and humbled by the honor. He began his fire service career with Clayton County in 1976. He also worked for the city of McDonough and the city of Clearwater (Florida) before coming on board with Dawson County in May 2005. Satterfield specializes in canine search and rescue and has taken part in more than 250 state- and federal-level missions. These include water search, arson, bomb disaster search and work with missing and abducted children. He is the state coordinator for the urban search and rescue team and was one of the first of 12 teams in the U.S. certified in child abduction response. His K9 unit received the Marguerite Brock Rescue Award from the Emergency Management Association of Georgia.

Bill Kokaly presents award to former county commissioner Gary Pichon.

Pichon, was presented a copy of the Congressional Record – an official copy of a speech recently given by Collins on the floor of the House of Representatives honoring Pichon’s 3,000-mile bicycle ride across the U.S. Pichon also was given the Record Certificate of the speech.

The men were recognized at the Dawson County Republican Party meeting on Sept. 19.

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in May, Collins spoke of Pichon’s coast-to-coast ride, saying “Gary set out on a mission, not for the thrill of ride, but to see what he could learn about the landscape and people of our great nation. As he mapped a course across the states, Gary soaked up the beauty of America’s cityscapes and country sides.

“In the towns that he traveled through, people were kind and ready to work. He also noted the plight of rural Americans, who are resilient and strong and often underappreciated, Mr. Speaker, I echo Mr. Pichon’s respect for the hardworking Americans who give our nation enduring character. Mr. Pichon and I call northeast Georgia home and could not ask for better neighbors in a finer nation. Gary’s ride from coast to coast serves as a reminder of the diversity that makes our nation beautiful and the unassuming kindness that fuels our nation’s endurance.”

 

 

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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Lt. Governor Casey Cagle Visits Dawsonville

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From left Sen. Steve Gooch, Bill Elliott and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Former NASCAR great Bill Elliott — better known as Awesome Bill from Dawsonville —  and a large contingent of community leaders welcomed Lt. Governor Casey Cagle to Dawsonville Wednesday morning.  Cagle is in the midst of a 17-stop bus tour of north Georgia to promote his campaign for governor.

You have to wonder if Elliott gave the Hall County Republican some inside tips on how to make a quick pit stop because after spending a little quality time with Dawson County community leaders and a quick stump speech, Cagle sped off to Pickens, Gilmer, Gordon, and Whitfield counties.

Before getting back on the road, Cagle visited with Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond, Commissioners Jimmy Hamby and Chris Gaines, Mayor James Grogan, County Manager David Headley, Sherriff Jeff Johnson and Chamber President Christie Hayes.

Former Commission Chairman Mike Berg introduced the lieutenant governor who didn’t need much of an introduction since he once represented the county as State Senator and has been lieutenant governor for eight years.

Cagle’s said he would focus on transportation, jobs, education and providing broadband to rural areas of Georgia

Cagle said, Georgia needs a transportation plan to accommodate a population growth of about 4.5 million people in the next 15 years.

“We have to get busy with a two-year strategic plan built around transportation that is able to go under, go over, go around, whatever is required to prepared ourselves for the kind of growth that is coming.”

On jobs, Cagle said he wants to build a world-class workforce second to none. “As I woke up this morning there were 150,000 jobs available today and out of that 150,000, 25 percent need four-year degrees but 75 percent need industry certification or a two-year degree. So, I want to make sure we are aligning education with what industry needs.”

On education he said, “The college and career education network I created reshapes the way we deliver education, giving our kids more options.”

Cagle also repeated his pledge of 500,000 new jobs during his first term in office and $100 million in tax cuts in the first 100 days.

Cagle said he understands how important broadband access is to education and to attracting business to Georgia and he fired a salvo over the heads of broadband internet providers.

“We’re going to have best in class as it pertains to rural broadband,” he said. “I’m going to set a standard that I expect every single provider in this state to reach. I know we have a problem with last mile so we’ll be looking at technology that will allow us to provide that. But I’m not going to accept any excuses. The providers are going to get in gear to make this a reality or we’re going to find someone that can. It’s just that simple.

Asked if the state school board members should be elected or appointed, he said, “Many people believe that the superintendent should be appointed almost like a cabinet position. I don’t believe that having an elected state school board is going to fundamentally improve education.”

On what has been a highly controversial religious freedom bill, Cagle said, “I and the other candidates have signed a pledge that if there is a federal mirror Xerox copy of what is already federal law that comes to my desk, I will sign it. There are a lot of social issues out there that are very divisive. As a born-again Christian, with a strong belief in religious freedom, I don’t want anyone trampling on that. As governor, I am also not for discrimination. So we’re not using this in a way that will cloak ourselves in a way that allows us to discriminate. So, these are balancing acts. We’ll do it in a way that doesn’t cost us business.”

 

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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Board Denies Request for Change in Pay Grade

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Commissioner Chris Gaines

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Commissioners unanimously rejected a request to reclassify the Administrative Assistant position in Dawson County Emergency Services to Executive Secretary.

The Administrative Assistant is a 15-year employee and the sole support staff of the administrative team, responsible for processing of all personnel paperwork, approximately 110 positions, accounts payable, ongoing budget management, quality assurance for all fire and EMS reporting (over 3000 calls per year), state reporting of fire reports, customer service and front desk functions.

EMS Director Lanier Swafford

EMS Director Lanier Swafford said the position has performed the duties of two administrative positions since the other was frozen in 2010. Following the recently-completed wage and salary study, the administrative assistant appealed her pay grade and title to County Manager David Headley who indicated the position may have been wrongly classified. If approved, the change in grade would have cost taxpayers $7,577 annually, which the department indicated could be covered without increasing the budget.

But Commissioner Chris Gaines, who made the motion to deny, pointed the wage and salary study had come at significant cost and he felt the county should follow it’s recommendation.

By a 4-0 vote, Commissioners approved a request by Robert and Brittany Goss for a conditional use permit to allow a mobile home on property that is currently zoned Residential Agriculture (RA) on less than five acres.

Commissioners also approved a request by former Sheriff Billy Carlisle to amend a stipulation of zoning requiring a manufactured building he owns to be removed. The property is currently zoned Commercial Highway Business (CHB).

Headley received the board’s unanimous support for appointment to the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission for a one-year term.

 

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