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Harmon makes abrupt departure from Development Service Division

Posted: October 4, 2013 - 11:38am  |  Updated: October 4, 2013 - 1:23pm
Harmon
Harmon

 

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.

  • Comment

Comments (11)

augusta citizen

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jbartley

I bet there is more to this

It will take a while but facts will come out!

saywut

Too tough?

Mr Harmon was over the Building Code department in North Augusta as I remember. That is not zoning and really has nothing to do with things mentioned in a previous comment. Building codes are life safety codes, something the people responsible for overseeing should take seriously. I can say from knowing him he is a fair and caring person that has worked extremely hard over the years to improve the codes and their application for the benifit of the contractors and citizens of this area.

jbartley

A good man

The inspection department was a joke in Columbia county until 1999 a few of us Builders demanded a qualified Building official and we got Richard Harmon. This was a win for the public and the professional Builder and
subcontractor!

soapy_725

There are building codes in CC? Who knew?

You can build a house on top of a cemetery and Ronald Reagan Pkwy could care less. They do not even ask you if a cemetery or burial ground is on the property before you dig. Tree stump height, now that is an important issue when clearing for a subdivision. Swamp status or wetlands is another none issue for building. Check out the forms you are required to fill out to develop property.

And while you are on RR Pkwy, ask why street addresses are no longer required for "property transfer notices". What could be the secrecy involved in "freedom of public information"?

Could it be that Homes4Rent, LLC is buying up properties in areas for Section 8 housing and no one is supposed to know the addresses?

jbartley

soapy_725

You are talking about engineering and planning, not building codes that apply to a house or a commercial buildings that is what Harmon was hired to be over!

Sweet son

Great time to rethink the whole upper structure of that section

of CC government and see if this position could be combined with another and lose this large salary and benefits package! In this day and time it's a good place to start trimming because bad times might come sooner than we think.

jbartley

Sweet son

Can't be done the Building official has to be certified by the ICC. And by the way the building inspection department is a regulatory fund solely funded by permit fees no county taxpayer money used to operate it!

Sweet son

Thanks jb for the info.

Glad the builders and ultimately the homebuyers are paying for this but I'm sure you know my comment was meant more to try to keep our government from creating more departments with more Directors and the associated employees. :)

jbartley

sweet son

I agree Under Ron Cross this government has grown to levels the property owners can't afford. We need to shrink departments and there budgets!

Sweet son

Yes Sir jb!

We definitely agree and I am sure a bunch of others do too!

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