ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris has officially told FYN he is going to run in the coming election for Chairman.
Sitting down with FYN, Paris confirmed this noting his satisfaction with the progress the county has made in recent years, but feeling like his job “isn’t finished.” He went on to say he likes the current Board of Commissioners and feels they have accomplished much together, specifically noting improvements to Gilmer County’s road department and improving the financial status of the county. He noted recent audits as evidence of the financial standing as well as vast improvements to county equipment.
In a possible second term, Paris stated he wanted to do more of what the county has been doing. Moving in the right direction and continuing that way is his goal as he said, “I have made accessibility, accountability, and responsiveness a priority, and will continue to do so, going forward.”
Paris went on to note that the county’s growth has not just been in general finances and the road department, but also the golf course and its 2018 expectation to break even on expenses, the parks and recreation department and its 2018 project for River Park to add/upgrade tennis courts, pickleball courts, and playgrounds, and the upgrading of county equipment while avoiding additional debt.
However, Paris told FYN the county’s accomplishments were the result of having excellent people in its departments and positions, and his job is made much easier by these people and their hard work. “It’s all about having good people, and we’ve got some of the best,” said Paris. When asked if he saw his job as a facilitator, he replied, “Any person who manages and does not tell you that their job is primarily as a facilitator is someone who is making their job a whole lot harder than it needs to be, and probably not getting the results they need to get.”
Over his three years in his current term, the chairman says he has found the toughest part of his job being to provide all the services people want and need with the resources the county currently has while simultaneously growing those resources. Indeed, he says he feels like his three years have been continually fixing things. Running again provides a chance at a term to chase his ambitions for the county, such as possibly adding a recreation center instead of just a pool. While he noted ideas encompassing a walking path, a covered pool, indoor courts for games, and adjustable spaces for multiple uses, the chairman said he felt the county has a lot of work to get to that point.
Along that note, Paris said he felt the current board has been a strength to the county through their discussions and inclusion of the public in all items on their agenda. Facilitating public comments throughout the meetings has allowed him the discussion at the pertinent times instead of at the end of the meeting in a specified time.
Speaking to the county’s citizens, Chairman Paris stated, “For the past three years, it has been my honor to represent Gilmer County as commission chairman. I am so very appreciative of the encouragement you’ve shown as I’ve worked toward improving county operations and facilities, the patience you’ve shown when road blocks were encountered, and the support you have given me when the decisions were especially tough. No matter how the upcoming election ends, I will remember your support and kindness for the rest of my life, and I thank you.”