Mitchell County administrator terminated

Jerry Presley (photo courtesy of WFXL-TV.)

Jerry Presley (photo courtesy of WFXL-TV.)

CAMILLA — The Mitchell County Commission has voted to dismiss its county administrator, officials say.

In a 3-1 vote, with one commissioner absent, the commission decided Tuesday to terminate Administrator Jerry Presley, citing a clause in his contract that allowed for the dismissal, Mitchell County Clerk's office officials say.

Commission Chairman Benjamin Hayward of District 1 was the sole commissioner to vote against termination. Attempts to reach Hayward on Thursday were unsuccessful. The Albany Herald, however, did obtain a copy of the handwritten dismissal letter sent to Presley that was signed by Hayward.

"Please allow this to serve as written notice of the termination of your employment contract with the Mitchell County pursuant to paragraph 12(a) of said contract," the letter states. "The Board of Commissioners understands that you are entitled to three months of your annual salary together with other compensation provided in paragraph 12(b) of said contract.

"The board of commissioners believes that you are not a good match for Mitchell County."

The paragraphs mentioned in the letter refer to the termination clause of Presley's contract that states that either party can terminate the contract for any reason given at least 30 days of notice. Paragraph B states that if the contract is terminated but Presley is still able to perform the duties at the time of termination, that the county should pay him three months of severance and reward him with any leave or sick time he's accrued.

Following the vote, the commission voted 4-0 to reinstate Jerry Perminter as the county's interim administrator until a full-time replacement can be found.

The decision to dismiss Presley comes less that five months after commissioners voted to offer him the job on April 25 and less than three months after he accepted on June 4.

MORE: Click here to see Presley talk about the county's new ambulance service in a report from WFXL-TV.

Perminter said that he will continue to work on fixing the county's budget problems. More than a month after budgets were supposed to be adopted and millage rates set, Mitchell County has yet to do either. The county is operating on a 30-day deadline waiver and has asked the Georgia Department of Revenue for a second 30-day waiver.

"I'm not sure what (the commission's) next step will be but we've got to focus on getting some of these budget issues worked out," Perminter said. "That's the critical issue at this point."