Commissioner Shannon Whitfield appoints new attorney for Walker County

Commissioner Shannon Whitfield appoints new attorney for Walker County

January 11th, 2017 by Tyler Jett in Local Regional News

Robin Rogers will be Walker County's new attorney.

Commissioner Shannon Whitfield announced the appointment during a special called meeting Tuesday night, saying Rogers impressed him with his knowledge of local government laws. Rogers is also the attorney for Dade County.

Shannon Whitfield

Shannon Whitfield

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

"He will be a great attorney for Walker County," Whitfield said. 'We look forward to working with him as we go into this year."

Unlike Don Oliver, who served as attorney under former Commissioner Bebe Heiskell, Rogers will not be a full-time employee. Whitfield said during his campaign last year that the county did not need a lawyer on staff at all times, costing the local government about $125,000 per year, as well as benefits and a county vehicle.

Oliver also received a 1 percent fee on multimillion-dollar bond deals that he orchestrated for the county and had an administrative assistant, who is no longer working for the county.

Whitfield said Rogers will bill the county $125 an hour for his work.

Oliver has worked for Walker County since January 2001, when Heiskell hired him during her first week in office. Oliver had already been involved in local politics, as a city court judge for Chickamauga and a state representative. He resigned from the Georgia Legislature in 1985 after federal investigators charged him with distributing amphetamines.

In addition to Rogers, Whitfield said he interviewed other local attorneys about the job, but they had conflicts of interest in representing the county.

Also on Tuesday, Whitfield announced that he hired Rebecca Wooden as the new county clerk, replacing Bridget Garrett. In a 2014 article, Heiskell said that she hired Garrett at the age of 18, and the two remained together for much of Heiskell's local government career, which began more than 40 years ago.

"It's like she grew up here," Heiskell said at the time.

Whitfield said Garrett took a job as an office manager for the city of Chickamauga. He didn't remember Tuesday how much money the county will pay Wooden, but said it is "much less income" than what Garrett made as a veteran employee.

Whitfield also formally appointed himself to the county's Water & Sewage Authority, an independent body separate from the local government. Whitfield said he will be the chair of the board after last week's resignation of John Culpepper.

A Heiskell supporter, Culpepper said his presence on the board created conflicts in the county. His term on the board was going to expire in May.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.


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