New stormwater director does not have needed qualifications

I’m disappointed that Rockdale Commission Chairman Oz Nesbitt didn’t attend the Rockdale Coalition of Homeowners Associations meeting, a county-sponsored group, on Jan. 23. I’ve spoken to two certified water engineers who both told me that I was correct in questioning the qualifications, or lack thereof, of Dr. Ann Kimbrough for the Rockdale County Stormwater director’s position because Dr. Kimbrough doesn’t have a civil engineering degree, is not a P.E (professional engineer) or have PMI (project management) certification.

A current posting for assistant director of engineering for the city of Augusta to oversee construction of county-owned infrastructure, land development and stormwater management requires a B.S./B.A. in engineering or related field and five years experience in infrastructure management. An open stormwater manager position in the city of East Point requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering, environmental science or related field, four years of related experience, Georgia Soil and Water Conservation certification, etc., and a posting for a Water/Wastewater Program director for a private consulting firm says that individual will be responsible for stormwater and drainage systems, etc. and requires a B.A. in engineering and eight years of related experience and a Georgia PE license.

Georgia law requires that “anyone involved in land development, design, review, permitting, construction, monitoring, inspection or any land-disturbing activity in Georgia must meet education requirements and be certified by the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission program developed in consultation with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the Stakeholder Advisory Board.” The Atlanta Regional Commission has a Georgia Stormwater Management Manual, which says, in its introduction, “The objective of” this manual “is to provide guidance on the latest and best post-construction stormwater management practices available to Georgia communities to minimize the negative impacts of increasing stormwater runoff and its associated pollutants.”

Dr. Kimbrough’s background is in communications and journalism, but not engineering. Her lack of the required certification as well as the community standard for this position (other cities apparently get it) and Georgia law, clearly demonstrate that she is not qualified to be the director of Stormwater Management! As stated in a recent article in the Rockdale Citizen, she sees her role as educating taxpayers what it means to pay a $40 stormwater fee. Taxpayers already get a very informative pamphlet titled Stormwater Management Overview with our stormwater bill, and we don’t need an educator to explain what our stormwater fees are for! To hire her as director of Stormwater Management is a slap in the face and demonstrates a blatant disregard for and total disrespect of the intelligence of the taxpayers, not to mention a waste of our taxpayer dollars. Why do you so wastefully spend the tax dollars of those of us who pay property taxes? How dare you! Why do we need her and Todd Cosby, the latter of whom has all the required licenses and certifications?

Obviously, our board of commissioners didn’t use common sense, Georgia law, the ARC’s Stormwater Management Manual and the will of the people to guide their decision because they voted to hire Dr. Kimbrough as director of Stormwater Management anyway. This reflects a pattern of the Rockdale BOC of hiring a director and then keeping someone on, with better or similar qualifications, as a consultant, like the hiring of the new director of transportation while keeping on the current director. We see you! These actions are some of the worst things you can do if you expect taxpayers to re-elect you!

Cheryl A. Garcia, RN, MS, NP, LNC

Conyers

Good-byes are always difficult

First Presbyterian Church of Covington will be saying good-bye to the Rev. Steven Barnes, who has served the church as interim pastor for the last 17 months. His last day in the pulpit will be Feb. 2.

As an interim pastor it is always difficult to step into a recently vacated-pulpit. Rev. Barnes filled this position with grace, humility, wisdom and humor. His sermons were both thought-provoking and Scripture-based.

After serving churches in North Carolina and Georgia he is still a very big University of Texas fan, having grown up, gone to school and seminary in Texas.

We, the congregation of First Presbyterian Church, thank Rev. Barnes for his leadership, friendship and pastoral qualities We wish him the very best where ever his next call takes him.

Warren Liem Elder Search Committee member

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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