CONYERS -- The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday morning to remove Water and Sewerage Authority member Garvin Haynes from the Authority board.
The Authority voted Feb. 5 to censure Haynes and to recommend to the Board of Commissioners that he be removed from the Authority for violation of the Authority's code of ethics.
On Tuesday, Chairman Richard Oden and Post 2 Commissioner JaNice Van Ness voted in favor of the resolution to remove Haynes, with Post 1 Commissioner Oz Nesbitt in opposition.
Following the meeting Nesbitt explained that he opposed the resolution because he felt it could have been handled in a different manner.
"From an internal operations standpoint, I felt as if that matter could have been handled by the chairman, the human resources director and the department head who is directly affected, who is Mr. (Dwight) Wicks," said Nesbitt. "I think had they gotten together and collaborated on the concerns, that it could have been handled in a totally different way."
Nesbitt defended Haynes, with whom he acknowleged he has a personal and business relationship. Nesbitt and Haynes entered an agreement in 2009 in which Nesbitt purchased a house from Haynes, with Haynes holding a wrap-around mortgage on the property.
"Mr. Haynes has been a major contributor to the Water and Sewerage Authority," said Nesbitt. "He has been a strong volunteer in this community for many, many years, and although some people don't see quite eye-to-eye on his delivery of information, often his fact-finding is on point."
Nesbitt said his vote Tuesday had nothing to do with his mortgage agreement with Haynes, and pointed out that Haynes was serving in an unpaid, volunteer capacity.
"Garvin Haynes was volunteering for Rockdale County long before he ever met Oz Nesbitt," he said.
Haynes was not present at the meeting Tuesday.
The Board of Commissioners will appoint a replacement to serve out the balance of Haynes' term on the Authority, which expires in December 2014. Authority members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the BOC.
The Authority's vote earlier this month to recommend Haynes' removal came after hearing a complaint filed by Rockdale Water Resources employee Michelle Prescott.
Other complaints have been filed against Haynes in his capacity as a board member, but the Authority dealt only with Prescott's complaint since it was filed after the Authority drafted a new set of bylaws. Those bylaws specifically provide for the removal of an Authority member as follows: "By majority vote, the Authority may recommend to the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners, that a member be removed from the Authority for cause. The causes for removal include violation of the Authority's Code of Ethics."
The Authority also enacted a new code of ethics that prohibits board members from mistreatment of other employees of the Authority or county by verbal abuse, among other things.
Prescott, a senior business and technical services coordinator with RWR, filed her complaint against Haynes on Nov. 12, citing Haynes' "rude and offensive" tone and comments about RWR Director Dwight Wicks in an email sent to her on Nov. 8. According to Prescott's complaint letter, Haynes' email was in response to an email she had sent out regarding work on RWR's fiscal policy. She wrote that Haynes followed up with an email directed at her that was "even more offensive."
Haynes was given an opportunity to provide a written defense to the complaints against him, but he had not responded, according to the Authority.