NEWS BLOG: Road closures, Coronavirus testing and government promotions

Georgia Power will be closing a lane of traffic on Sea Island Road near Mackay River in Glynn County on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. , in order to complete an emergency repair of the main transmission line.

This will be a single lane closure, and travelers should expect delays.

Lumpkin County COVID-19 testing will be appointment only Wednesday

The Lumpkin County Health Department, will have testing by appointment only Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. this week.

Staffing changes in Gwinnett County Government

Gwinnett County Administrator Glenn Stephens has filled four senior management positions, including a new deputy county administrator. The other three appointments include new directors for Financial Services, Information Technology Services and Human Resources. The agenda for tomorrow’s commission meeting includes ratification of the employment agreements.

Chief Finance Officer Maria Woods has added deputy county administrator to her title. Woods became CFO in 2014 after spending the previous three years leading Gwinnett’s Department of Financial Services. Since joining Gwinnett County in 1997, she has also served as deputy finance director and accounting director.

Woods earned a master’s degree in business administration from Brenau University and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Georgia. She is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Georgia, and she has earned the designation of Certified Financial Officer Level II from the University of Georgia and Certified Public Finance Officer from the Government Finance Officers Association.

“As CFO, Maria has developed a deep understanding of the many facets of Gwinnett County Government,” Stephens said. “She understands the operations of each department, and she has the sound judgment to make her an effective and valuable deputy county administrator.”

Buffy Alexzulian, assistant director of Financial Services, was promoted to replace Woods as director. Alexzulian began her career with Gwinnett County in 2008. She previously worked in the Strategic Business Development Division and served as director of the Accounting Division. Alexzulian earned a master’s degree in business administration from Shorter University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus in finance from the University of North Georgia. She is a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association. Alexzulian has more than 15 years of experience in various finance and accounting roles in the public and private sector.

“Buffy has been with us through good economic times and bad,” Stephens said. “Her thorough financial knowledge and her experience through varying cycles of the economy makes her a valuable asset for the County.”

Vicki Casella has stepped into the role of director of Human Resources after being named acting director earlier this year. She started her career with Gwinnett County in April 2007 as a senior human resources generalist and was promoted to HR manager in August 2013. Casella has more than 20 years of public and private human resources experience and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Illinois, Springfield.

“Vicki has a long history of developing and implementing strategies that support and enhance our mission and vision while considering the needs of the most important component of our organization – our people,” Stephens said.

Gwinnett’s new Information Technology Services director and chief information officer is Dorothy Parks, who previously served as assistant director. Parks joined the County’s ITS Department about three years ago as deputy director over Enterprise Applications. With more than 30 years in the technology industry, Parks has held leadership positions with Wyndham Worldwide, Atlantic Partners Corporation, Hospitality Franchise Systems and Cendant Corporation, among others. Sheholds degrees in management, economics and finance from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta.

“Dorothy has managed several IT disciplines throughout her career and brings invaluable understanding to a dynamic and essential field,” Stephens said. “She is a leader with strategic vision and experience to help us navigate the future.”

The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday also will ratify the July 18 appointment of Brett West as chief of police of the Gwinnett County Police Department. Previously, he served as deputy chief, commanding the department’s Administrative Bureau. Since joining GCPD in 1991, he has led the Support Operations Division, Uniform Patrol Division, West Precinct and the Police Academy. West has worked in most areas of the agency including uniform patrol, special operations traffic, K-9, criminal investigations and Office of the Chief. He is a 2011 graduate of the 247th Session of the FBI National Academy and a 2005 graduate of Class XV of the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College. He also a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbus State University.

“Brett is a veteran law enforcement officer and a highly capable leader,” Stephens said. “We’re glad to have his steady hand at the helm.”

Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash said, “Our organization and our community will be well-served by Glenn’s new additions to the County’s leadership team. They bring solid managerial skills and an impressive level of knowledge to their new roles. Glenn’s selections from existing staff show the depth of talent in the County organization, with so many individuals prepared to step up when given an opportunity.”

A series of retirements created the vacancies and opportunities for promotion, including that of Phil Hoskins, a long-time County employee who led the Department of Community Services for 18 years and served as deputy county administrator for the last six years before retiring on July 24.

Closures on I-75 in South Georgia

Relocation of an aerial utility line at Exit 2/Bellville Road in Lowndes County will affect Interstate 75 traffic for two nights this week.

On Tuesday, July 28, the I-75 southbound on ramp will close at 10 p.m. for work associated with moving the aerial line. That ramp will reopen and the northbound off ramp will then temporarily close. Each ramp is expected to be closed about 30 minutes.

On Wednesday, July 29, the same ramps will close at 10 p.m. At 11 p.m. law enforcement will begin pacing I-75 traffic in both directions to allow the utility company to safely lower the line and attach it to the bridge. Traffic pacing should end within 10 minutes.