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On June 21, nearly two months after he began his sick leave, Elbert County Manager Ed Ehmann officially submitted his formal resignation, which will become effective Aug. 31.
"Ed will be missed," said County Commissioner Danny Willcox. "His dedication to this county is unmatched.
"Though we are sad to see him go, we understand his decision is best."
Ehmann was promoted to manager, at an annual base salary of $109,000, in February 2014. Prior to that, he had been employed with the county for seven years as the public works director.
Ehmann was offered and accepted an extension of his contract at the April 26 board of county commissioners meeting, effectively taking his position through Dec 31, 2018.
Later that day, Ehmann went to a medical appointment and received a diagnosis that precluded him from immediately returning to work, county officials said.
Ehmann informed the commissioners that he would be taking a week of sick leave until the follow-up appointment the next week, where it was determined he would require an extended leave of absence to receive treatment.
He also informed the county that he would not be able return to his position as county manager.
At that point, the commissioners began working to establish a firm resignation date in accordance with Ehmann's accruals of sick time and vacation, one that was consistent with county policy, precedent and the contractual agreement with the county manager.
For weeks, the public was left wondering why Ehmann was not on the job.
"I understand that there has been some angst voiced by some citizens regarding Ed's departure and what they feel is a 'changing story' regarding his absence," said County Commissioner Chris Richardson. "This is unfortunate. However, we are very limited in what we can legally say regarding any employee's status, and there is even less that can be made public regarding employee health issues."
What might have seemed like contradictory information from the commissioners, Richardson said, was a genuine attempt to keep citizens well-informed while preserving employee privacy.
"We are updating the county manager job description and will begin advertising the position soon," Richardson said. "We are shooting for (June 26) for that."
"We will follow a very open hiring process, and I envision an interview process that includes other elected offices, county departments, some citizen involvement and perhaps representatives of other local government bodies," Richardson said.
"I believe that hiring a new county manager is not a case of finding the 'winning' candidate from among the applicants we get, (but) much more about finding the right match for the county.... With the right match, we'll be making an investment in the long-term success of Elbert County."
The three county commissioners will conduct the duties of the manager until a new one is selected.
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