Charles Kinney says he knows both sides of the county administrator-county commissioner relationship.

Kinney says he served eight years on the Polk County Board of Commissioners in the 1970s and 1980s, and for the past six years he served as county manager in Elbert County.

“I respect the position of the county commissioners very much. They are elected. And the administrator is an appointed position,” he said.

Kinney was recently named by the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners as one of three finalists for the vacant post of county administrator. In August, then-county administrator Bradley Arnold announced his resignation, effective Dec. 31. Former county administrator Lenard Whaley is serving as interim administrator.

Kinney’s resume lists a number of major accomplishments in Elbert County.

In 2001, voters approved a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) that is projected to raise around $13.5 million. Among the projects that SPLOST funded are the renovation of the county courthouse and the consolidation of county offices into a renovated former school building.

Kinney also oversaw the construction of a new animal control facility, the development of a new 51-acre recreational complex and the development of 10 solid waste recycling centers across the county.

Kinney was the longest-serving county manager in Elbert County history, according to The Elberton Star. Kinney says he served longer than all the previous managers put together.

In May 2005, the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center named Kinney its local government administrator of the year.

But in October, the Elbert County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 to fire Kinney, though they also agreed to pay the rest of his contract, which ends in March.

Elbert commissioners have refused to say why they fired Kinney, and they still will not discuss the specifics of that action.

“There’s probably no more capable person for the job of county administrator or city manager than Charles Kinney. The only fault we had with Mr. Kinney is that he wouldn’t confer with commissioners,” said Elbert County commissioner Ted Dye.

Dye says he felt that Kinney didn’t keep commissioners well informed about what was happening in county government.

But Kinney says that other commissioners complained that he provided them with too much information.

“Every city and county government generates an awful lot of information each month. In the past, I’ve had commissioners tell me ‘I don’t need all that information in my mailbox,’ and some individuals want a lot of details. I guess it varies. You try to do the best you can as far as keeping everybody informed. Certainly, when something is out of the routine, or it’s not an ordinary situation, you want to get that information to the elected officials as fast as you can,” he said.

Before being hired in Elbert County, Kinney spent almost seven years as city manager in Summerville. Kinney’s resume says he completely computerized all areas of utility billing, payroll, taxes and general ledger. He also says he uncovered the embezzlement of more than $500,000 that had occurred in the previous seven and a half years before he was hired.

After Kinney left Summerville, the state began an investigation into overpayment of health insurance for city workers. Kinney was not implicated in that investigation.

Former Summerville Mayor Sewell Cash declined to comment upon Kinney’s tenure in Summerville.

Kinney is married, to Bonnie, and has two sons.

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