Thursday was the 180th Loganville City Council meeting for City Manager Bill Jones – and the last one he will be attending as a Loganville city leader. He retires effective Feb. 28 – and friends and staff members were on hand at the meeting to give him a fitting send off.
State Rep. Tom Kirby was the first, presenting him with an honorary appointment as a Lieutenant Aide De Camp of the Governor’s Staff, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal with the state of Georgia seal. This is an honorary title that expires with the term of the governor who awards it. Walton County District 2 Commissioner Mark Banks then read a Proclamation from the Walton County Board of Commissioners honoring Jones for his many accomplishments and thanking him for “his outstanding leadership, commitment and service to the citizens of Walton County.”
Banks went on to say that Jones has been responsible for building a lot of things up in Walton County and also for tearing down walls when necessary. He said in politics you meet a lot of people, many acquaintances, but not that many you go on to consider friends, but Jones is one he considers a friend.
“A lot of times a man’s not supposed to say I love you man, but I love Bill Jones. In fact, I love him like a brother and I’m not ashamed to stand in front of a crowd and tell that,” Banks said, going on to read the opening paragraph of the Proclamation, “Whereas, William T. (Bill) Jones has for many years been a dedicated public servant to the citizens of Walton County and the entire state of Georgia in many capacities for the betterment of the community….”
The sitting city council members each in turn expressed their respect and admiration for Jones during their tenure, thanking him for being a mentor in many instances and helping them in their service to the city. In response, an emotional Jones spoke of his time with the City.
“I have enjoyed my time here. It’s certainly been a long period of time and it’s certainly been a great experience. It has been great to assemble such a team and being able to say I’ve had an awesome experience,” Jones said, also turning to thank everyone in the room, from the mayor and council to the staff and the citizens who have supported him over the years, first as mayor and then as city manager. “Thank you guys. I’ve had the opportunity to work with several mayors and several councils – I’ve even sat in some of those same seats. At times it’s been hard, but I know I’m leaving this city in great shape, with the council, the professionals and all the staff.”
But it was at the end of the meeting when all the staff members went up to make a presentation that it really got emotional. Incoming City Manager Danny Roberts noted that not only was it Jones’ 180th meeting, but they had calculated that his signature had probably been used 16 million times during his tenure with the city. One-by-one the staff members thanked Jones and said their goodbyes. He will, however, still be there for a couple more weeks and at the end of a telephone line after that should anyone want advice that he has accumulated during his many years with the city.