Richard Harmon, Columbia County’s longtime director of its Development Services Division, abruptly resigned this week, county officials said.
County Administrator Scott Johnson said Harmon tendered his resignation Tuesday afternoon. He will be on leave until Oct. 15, Johnson said.
“As a result of our restructuring of departments with an emphasis on how we deal with development, we’ve had a change in philosophy on how we approached those issues,” Johnson said. “We had a meeting Tuesday with Richard on several items and (his resignation) was a result of that meeting.”
Johnson declined to be more specific about the nature of the meeting or items discussed.
He did say, however, that the recent collapse of a deal to bring Bass Pro Shops to Columbia County had nothing to do with Harmon’s departure.
“Richard was not involved in the Bass Pro Shops deal,” he said. “I can say for certain that there was no single incident that led to his retirement.”
Johnson said that Paul Scarbary, the county’s Facilities Services Manager, will be moved to take Harmon’s responsibilities as an interim director.
“We will see if that is the best permanent fix, or see if we need to look outside and hire somebody else to fill that position,” he said.
Harmon, who has been with Columbia County since October 1999, helmed the department that supervises building standards and code enforcement, which are critical responsibilties in a county that has been growing at an increasing pace over the past two decades.
"He worked with us through many years of tremendous growth and we appreciate his efforts and wish him the best," Johnson said.
Harmon did not return messages Friday seeking comment.