Grand Island general manager resigns

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

LEESBURG, Ga. -- Uel Kemp, who was named general manager of the Lee County-owned Grand Island Club in August last year, submitted his resignation to County Administrator Tony Massey Wednesday.

Lee County Commission Chairman Ed Duffy said the commission accepted Kemp's resignation.

"This just wasn't the position he wanted," Duffy said. "We told Uel we'd give him a good recommendation for any future position he might seek, and we will. He's a good person, and we wish him well."

Duffy said the county's Parks and Recreation Authority, made up of its Board of Commissioners, will serve as interim managers of the facility while the search for a new general manager is ongoing.

Kemp said Wednesday afternoon he did not want to discuss his resignation.

"I'll just offer no comment," he said. "I plan to pursue other opportunities. I really enjoyed my time at Grand Island, and I really like the members of the club. I most likely will pursue a club pro position somewhere."

Kemp came to the Grand Island position with more than 20 years experience in franchise ownership and consulting in the food services industry. He also had a brief career in the insurance industry.

At a special called meeting of the Parks and Rec Authority in early January, Lee Finance Director Heather Kittrell revealed that Grand Island was operating at a shortfall of $57,539.67 through the first six months of the 2010-11 fiscal year. Kemp was told at the time to make cuts in operating costs.

New County Administrator Tony Massey said the county will do everything it can to "make the best of Grand Island."

"It's a pretty unique opportunity for a government to have a quality-of-life product like Grand Island," Massey, who started work at his position on Feb. 7, said. "I think our next action will be to meet with employees and staff at the club and find out what steps they think we should make to enhance revenue out there.

"Golf courses are not, in general, large profit-making operations, so we have to keep our expectations realistic. The trick, though, is to generate enough revenue to break even and assure that the facility is made available at no cost to taxpayers."

Duffy said Grand Island remains a viable recreational facility in the community.

"This facility needs to remain in the hands of the county," he said. "It provides so many benefits to the community: golf, tennis, walking trails and free use by our students in the Lee County School System. It's a place all our citizens can utilize."