THOMASVILLE — Thomas County commissioners chose Mark NeSmith to lead the board for the coming year. 

NeSmith takes the chairman’s post from fellow Commissioner Phillip Brown, who served for two years.

“I want to thank the board for giving me the trust to serve the last two years as chairman,” Brown said. “it’s been an honor to serve in this position.”

Brown also commended County Manager Mike Stephenson, county clerk Celeste Tyler and the county staff for its efforts, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I appreciate the good job you have done,” Commissioner Wiley Grady said to Brown.

Grady was named again to serve as vice chairman.

NeSmith thanked his fellow commissioners for their confidence in him by making him chairman and praised Brown for his efforts as chairman.

“We have certainly had good leadership in the past two years,” NeSmith. “Mr. Brown carried the board through some unchartered waters and no other chairman has ever dealt with COVID. County government never shut down. Our operations went through every day, and it went smoothly.”

NeSmith also thanked the county administration and the staff for its work during the pandemic.

“Yes, there are some challenges ahead,” he said. “But I think we have the worst of it behind us and we know how to handle all the challenges. It’s pretty easy to sit in this chair when you have a good board, a good staff and employees and the dedication that they have.”

Commissioners also approved the qualifying fees for this year’s election at 3% of the base salary.

Commissioners also set two public meetings on input for the American Rescue Plan grants. Those meetings will be held March 15 and March 29 at 6 p.m.

Stephenson said the county received the final rule from the U.S. Treasury Department on use of the ARPA money. The rules are 500 pages long, with a 50-page overview. 

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