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Riddle In The Middle!
Last comment by Funkentelecky 10 months, 1 week ago.

Take Me To Post Comment Form

Never judge a book by its cover and everyone that calls themselves a man of God is not. I find it interesting that the first paragraph of the Commissioners letter states this " Mike Riddle told ANOTHER of just MANY lies..." I"m going to sit back, sip my tea and watch it all go down in LONG county.

Commissioner explains resignation
Letter to the editor

I read your paper’s article concerning my resignation from the Long County Commission, and once again Mike Riddle told another of just many lies.

I received a phone call late Tuesday afternoon (July 25) from the Coastal Courier asking if I wanted to make a statement, and I told them that I would send an email, but didn’t realize they meant immediately, because I wanted to give it some time. I guess I should have just went ahead and sent it.

1. Well, to start with I was not wandering the hall, I went straight to the office window and asked to use their computer.

2. I spent four years as the chairman, but I did ask the board if they wanted me to resign after an incident that I had that was covered very well by your staff writer at the time.

3. I resigned from the commission because I was not a fit for the board, as I told Riddle, but he so elegantly forgot to mention that.

4. I did not want to be a part of a group who continually said that we would see the previous year budget soon, but they are wasting time working on the 2017-18 budget.

5. I personally don’t like Mike Riddle and if he chooses a character debate that’s not a problem with me because I’m not in public office anymore, so let’s get started from 2009 through 2013 because I would love to debate this with the three who questioned mine.

I complained about a group who made a joke out of the finances of Long County, and now we have two who could have fit right in with them.
1. No budget but let’s vote on $92,000 raises
2. Let’s create four new holidays.
3. Biggest joke of all, let’s have a county employee bid on the grass contract.
4. How can you be financially transparent with a chairman and an administrator who repeat every day that we are working on old problems. I can assure them that I could get a budget in one week.

I was perfectly content to walk away, but I would find out what people think of me if I were them, and confidence may be chilled.

Thank you. I am more than happy to walk away or play silly games. Next article will get personal.

Bobby Walker
Long County

Editor’s note: Riddle declined to comment when the Courier first learned of Walker’s resignation from Long County Administrator Frank Etheridge.


Latest Activity: Aug 10, 2017 at 4:34 PM

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Sheran commented on Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 at 17:24 PM

There's nothing to see here move along.

gacpl commented on Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 at 21:49 PM

nothing at all

timeontarget commented on Friday, Aug 11, 2017 at 15:05 PM

Nothing well I don't know much about Long County government but I'd say there is something here:

"1. No budget but let’s vote on $92,000 raises
2. Let’s create four new holidays.
3. Biggest joke of all, let’s have a county employee bid on the grass contract.
4. How can you be financially
transparent with a chairman and an administrator who repeat every day that we are working on old problems. I can assure them that I could get a budget in one week."

Funkentelecky commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 12:29 PM

Ok, we have one piece of the puzzle and if the 4 allegations are true that's not good at all. I'm sure we all know that the budget must be set first and everything else falls under that. So to this very moment there is something here until the other piece of the story can prove otherwise.

To Sheran and gacpl to state there's nothing to see here move along and nothing at all "are not" credible proof that there's nothing there.

To PN I'm not condenming Mike , he's innocent until proven guilty however this initial piece doesn't look good at all especially since he hasn't commented to defend himself. As you said in your opening statement "I'm going to sit back, sip tea and watch it all go down in Long County"

I don't know Mike personally but I see him as a God fearing , honest hard working man who cares about our country and his community.

Funkentelecky commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 13:02 PM

Riddle me this , what has neither flesh, bone, nor nail yet has four fingers and a thumb?

MikeLongCounty commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 15:06 PM

Coastal Courier, August 9, 2017:
No Millage Hike in Long County Budget

After several months of internal auditing and financial review, the Long County of Commission completed its proposed budget for the 2017 fiscal year.

“The proposed budget has been completed, and I am happy to say on behalf of the other commissioners that our millage rate will remain the same and not one person in Long County will see a tax increase on their property,” Chairman Mike Riddle said.

With the completion of the proposed budget there will be three hearings for the public input. Those hearings will be at 9 a.m. Aug. 16, 7 p.m. Aug. 16 and 6:30 p.m. Aug. 24. There also will be a copy of the proposed budget at the Long County Library for anyone who wishes to look at it.

The budget was due at the end of June. Operations continued with spending resolutions.

“Man, getting this budget complete has been a lot of hard work,” Riddle said. “The commissioners and the staff went line by line through the proposal for three solid days, looking at ways to get as much out of every tax dollar as they could. It was a team effort getting to this point with that team being staff, department heads, constitutional officers and commissioners.”

MikeLongCounty commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 15:09 PM

Coastal Courier, June 7, 2017
Long Commissioners Approve Continuing Budget Resolution

Long County will continue to operate past the end the month under a continuing budget resolution passed by the commissioners in a split vote Tuesday.

The county’s fiscal year ends June 30 but a new annual budget will not be completed by that time.

Commission Chairman Mike Riddle, Commissioner Clifton DeLoach and Commissioner Willie Frank Thompson voted in favor of the continuing resolution; Commissioners Bobbie Walker and David Richardson voted no.

Long County’s new finance chief, Bernice Johnson, explained that a reserve adequate to fund county operations for about three months is in hand. The county will continue to receive revenue while operating under the continuing resolution.

Johnson said she was checking previous budgets line by line and making corrections.

Riddle said the county was dealing with the results of years of mismanagement, correcting errors that went back three or four years. Walker, a former commission chairman, said, “It’s a nightmare,” adding that Johnson was doing a good job, “We’re getting it straight, but we’re in a hole.”

Such resolutions are not uncommon for governments where fiscal years run from July 1 to June 30.

In other business, four commissioners voted to retroactively approve the emergency purchase of a $29,700 truck for the road crew.

When it appeared that the commissioners were going to deny final plat approval for Phase 4 of Bill Nutting’s Murrays Crossing subdivision Walker moved that the matter be tabled. The commissioners hear at almost every meeting from residents who complain about streets, drainage and related problems in the county’s subdivisions.

The county now requires developers to submit a letter of credit for one year of upkeep and to do maintenance for 12 more months. “That’s an issue; there’s no doubt about it,” Nutting said.

DeLoach said the county should accept maintenance on no new subdivision roads until the last house in the subdivision is built.

The commissioners rescheduled their regular July meeting to July 11. The original date conflicted with the Independence Day holiday.

Ray Howard was reappointed to a seat on the council of the Coastal Regional Commission.

MikeLongCounty commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 15:12 PM

Coastal Courier, April 25, 2017:
Long County Hires Finance Directer

The Long County Board of Commissioners recently named Bernice Johnson as the county’s new finance director. Johnson, who formerly resided in Augusta, joins the Long County staff having more than 30 years of experience in finance and banking.

In her previous job at Georgia Bank and Trust, Johnson worked in the auditing department reviewing and evaluating financial reports, departmental policies, procedures and legal documents.

She has a master’s degree in business administration and a Bachelor of Science degree in business management.

In addition to these qualifications Johnson has experience as a manager of client relationships, and as supervisor in a bank commercial credit card division.

Though Johnson has lived in Augusta for quite some time, her roots are from Ludowici where she graduated from Long County High School. Johnson said that she is happy to be back home and looks forward to her new career.

"Working for the Long County Board of Commissioners provides me the opportunity to change career path and utilize the skills that made me successful during my professional life. For many years, I worked in the banking and financial service sector, this job allows me the advantage to explore the inter-working of government accounting," Johnson said.

"Although the work will be challenging; the support, encouragement, knowledge, and help of my colleagues and co-workers incite me to work hard to accomplish my assigned task," she added. "Working back in my hometown is both an honor and a blessing and I look forward to many years here."

Board of Commission Chairman Mike Riddle said Johnson is a welcome addition to Long County and he expects her to fit in well with all the employees at the courthouse.

"Bernice is going to be a fantastic addition to our staff, we are so fortunate to have a person with her knowledge, education, and experience to head up our finance department; I just know she is going to do an excellent job," Riddle said.

MikeLongCounty commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 15:16 PM

Coastal Courier, July 5, 2017:

Long County's New Administrator is Already on the Job

New Long County Administrator Frank Etheridge started work June 20.

Etheridge joins the county having more than 20 years of experience in local government.

“It is nice to be back in the coastal region and near family, I look forward to working with both elected officials and staff as Long County continues to grow, to ensure we are focusing on appropriate issues to support the community. Being the new county administrator will be a challenge as the county changes the way daily operations are addressed and managed,” Etheridge said.

Etheridge’s experience includes time spent as county manager in Randolph and Marion counties, city manager in LaFayette, city administrator in Pembroke, planning manager in Jackson County, building and planning director in Habersham County, and county administrator in Twiggs County.

He has a master’s degree in public administration from Troy University and a bachelor of arts degree in geography from the University of Georgia.

Etheridge is a veteran of the U.S. Airforce where he attained the rank of captain.

Long County Chairman Mike Riddle said he believes Etheridge is just what Long County needs to help it move toward progress and prosperity.

“You can have the nicest ship on the ocean, but you need a captain at the helm of that vessel for it to sail as efficiently as it can,” Riddle said. “That’s what Long County has needed in its leadership. We part-time chairmen have did the best that we could, and we did OK when there were only 10,000 people in our community, but we’re not that county any more, and now we need a full-time professional, and that’s what we have in Frank.”

Riddle said with the addition of Etheridge, he feels that the board of commissioners staffing is pretty close to where it needs to be to operate at its best.

“Long County has been moving in the right direction for several years, this board has made some changes in departmental leadership, we’ve added a qualified finance director, and now we’ve added an administrator,” Riddle said. “I believe Frank is going to be that one missing piece of the puzzle that we have needed to help us move towards being the county we have the potential to be.”

MikeLongCounty commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 15:18 PM

Coastal Courier, April 27, 2017
Long County Names New Recreation Director

Recently the Long County Board of Commissioners named Brandon McManus as the new recreation department director.

McManus has been working for the department since 2012 and interned under previous director Henry Strickland. McManus has certifications and training from the National Youth Sports Coaching Association, the American Softball Association, the Georgia Athletic Officials Association, and the Georgia High School Association. He is a graduate of Long County High School and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from the College of Coastal Georgia.

Some of the responsibilities that McManus will have as the new recreation department director include supervising all employees, planning and overseeing all sports activities, scheduling recreation activities, coordinating events with other departments, preparing the department’s budget, and ensuring that all the fields and facilities are managed and maintained.

McManus said that he looks forward to continuing his career with the Board of Commissioners and to providing quality service and sporting activities to the people of Long County.

“This opportunity is exciting, there are more people engaged with this recreation department now than ever before, a chance to serve the people of Long County and a community that is close to my heart allows a day’s work to be rather satisfying,” McManus said.

McManus said he is proud of where the recreation department currently is in providing services to the community, but that he also wants to add even more.

“This recreation department will have more to offer for the children and citizens of Long County, I would love to see more events and activities available for our community to partake in. Also, I will be developing an online platform for the department to better communicate with the public on general and event information,” McManus said.

McManus said that the success of the department also can be attributed to the support of many sponsors and volunteers.

“I would like to send out a special thanks to all those that sponsor and volunteer their time for the benefit of the recreation department,” he said.

Long County Commission Chairman Mike Riddle said that McManus’s experience and links to the area make him a perfect fit for his new position.

“Brandon has the education, he has the experience, but more importantly than anything he has the desire to do a good job for the kids and the people of Long County; he’s going to do a fine job for us,” Riddle said.

MikeLongCounty commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 15:20 PM

Coastal Courier, March 13, 2017
New Road Superintendent Appointed in Long County

Norman Morris is the new superintendent of the Long County Road Department, according to an announcement form the Long County Commission.

Morris has been a Long County employee since 1997 and “has continually moved up through the ranks of the department,” according to the press release announcing his appointment.

Morris is proficient in operating all equipment used by the county, including its motor grader, excavator, backhoe and bulldozer.

Morris takes over one of the most important and largest departments in Long County, responsible for all the county’s paved and dirt roads.

In his position, Morris also is responsible for all county work projects, and works directly with businesses contracted out for major jobs, such as the current Elim Church Road widening and paving project.

Morris said that he will continue to work hard for residents and looks forward to helping Long County continue to move forward as south Georgia’s fastest growing county.

“I’ve always liked helping the people in the county and we always try to please them. With us growing like we are, sometimes that’s hard to do, but we always do our best to get the work done as soon as we can,” Morris said.

Long County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Riddle said that he and the other commissioners are in full support of the road department and know that they have a very difficult job.

“Our road and maintenance crew has a tough job, they are constantly tasked out, and are never caught up,” Riddle said. “Work orders come in every day, and if they’re not working on some major project, there is always another dirt road or ditch that needs to be graded or cleaned out. But despite these challenges they always do a great job, and never complain.”

Riddle said Morris will do well in his new position.

“Norman is one of our longest-tenured employees and has always done a good job for the county,” Riddle said. “He has my support, and I’m confident he will do a good job in his new role.”

MikeLongCounty commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 15:28 PM

Coastal Courier, January 8,2017
Long County Make Moves to Stagger Terms for Commissioners

The Long County Commission began the process Tuesday of staggering its terms to avoid having all five of its members running for election at the same time.

Under the plan, commissioners, who ordinarily serve four-year terms, will serve a single two-year term in 2020 in Districts 2, 3 and 5.

Many county commissions have staggered terms. Long County’s newly appointed chairman, Mike Riddle, who was elected in November to represent District 2 and is the only new commissioner on the board, said in an email the change will help the commission avoid high turnover and provide "a continuity of leadership from board to board over election cycles, which is crucial in South Georgia’s fastest growing county."

The measure was approved unanimously at the county commission’s first meeting of 2017 after motions from Riddle, District 3 Commissioner Willie Thompson and District 5 Commissioner Bobby Walker volunteering that their district representatives serve the two-year term in 2020.

As chairman his first goal is "to provide the leadership for us to hire a full-time county administrator/grant writer. That trumps everything as far as I’m concerned," Riddle said in an email. "We have needed this position for eight years now, and I’m going to do all I can to fulfill this obligation to the people of Long County"

Riddle also called for unity on the county commission.

"The other immediate goal is to do all I can to bring unity to the board, we have two commissioners from the last board, and two from the term before that, I’m the only new one," he said. "All of these commissioners are good men, who only seek to do what they perceive to be the best for Long County. We don’t have to agree on everything, but what we all do need to agree on, is in knowing that even if someone doesn’t see eye-to-eye with me, they want what’s best for the county too and leave our disagreements at the door."

Riddle said he also wants to attract more business to the county, one of five in Georgia listed among the top 100 fastest growing in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Long County’s growth rate from 2010 to 2015 was 22.7 percent. But most of that growth has been residential, which has put pressure on the county’s infrastructure.

"The other big thing I hope for is to sell our community better with the goal of bringing more business to our citizens," Riddle said. "We have a great community here, it’s our quality of life, that is bringing people over here in droves, but we can’t just keep growing houses, we’ve got to get more business to bring in more revenue."

MikeLongCounty commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 15:31 PM

Coastal Courier, May 8, 2017

15 Miles of Road to Be Resurfaced on Highway 301 in Long County

Contractors for the Georgia Department of Transportation are working on a resurfacing project on Highway 301/Cecil Nobles Highway near the Ludowici city limit.

The resurfacing project runs across Long County and ends at the Tattnall County line. The 15 miles of paving is being completed by East Coast Asphalt, who was the low bidder at $2.8 million.

According to DOT spokesperson Jill Nagel, there will be single lane closures on this two-lane roadway with flagmen and a pilot vehicle to aid traffic through the work zone. She said the work will take place weekdays during daylight hours, except from 7 to 9 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. to allow for school traffic. Nagel said that the project will continue into June, weather permitting.

Long County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Riddle said the project was only possible with the support of Georgia Department of Transportation Board Secretary Ann Purcell, who represents Long County.

"Ann Purcell is such a good friend and supporter of Long County, every time I have talked with her she has expressed a desire to help our fast-growing community, Secretary Purcell on behalf of the citizens of Long County I want to thank you for this project and all of the other ones you are helping us with," Riddle said.

He said the resurfacing project is one of the largest projects to be approved for Long County and it is another step towards improving all the roads in the county.

"Long County being selected for this project is such a positive thing, Highway 301 is one of our major roads in and out of our county, and one of the most traveled roadways," Riddle said.

The project is the second resurfacing to take place in the county in recent weeks

MikeLongCounty commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 15:34 PM

Coastal Courier, July 2, 2017

Long County Commission Seek Funds for Road Work at New School

Georgia Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Purcell joined Long County officials on June 19 to look at the possibility of state funding for a second access to a planned school in Ludowici.

It would be a joint project between the Long County Commission and Board of Education. Purcell met with Long County Chairman Mike Riddle, Board of Education Director of Support Services Scotty Hattaway, Municipal Project Director Paul Christianson and DOT District Local Coordinator Brent Mosley.

Hattaway estimated there will be 2,000 students and staff at the school, and that now only one access road from Highway 84 is planned.

Riddle said he was concerned about the amount of traffic at the new school.

"Most of the people that are going to be attending this school are going to be coming from the Elim Church and Rye Patch area, out in that direction," Riddle said. "Because of this, all of that traffic will have to take a left and cross over 84 in Ludowici. The congestion is going to be horrible and in my opinion, with that much traffic, there will be safety concerns."

Purcell said that even though it was being looked at as a joint venture, the only way any funding could be requested was if it ran through the county.

"I’m very thankful to Secretary Purcell for taking the time to meet with us," Riddle said. "Every time I’ve approached her about a project she has always been willing to listen and do all she can to help, without a doubt she is a friend to Long County,"

He said funding options were discussed, but nothing guaranteed.

"I don’t want to mislead anyone," he said. "At this point, money for a project like this is going to be hard to come by and truthfully nothing is guaranteed, but by the same token, you definitely won’t get any money if you don’t ask."

timeontarget commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 16:58 PM

Now we have much more information and this was needed.
We here at tot will ponder and consider this additional info.

Thanks Mike for posting this.

There is always two sides to every issue.

Funkentelecky commented on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017 at 19:00 PM

Yes I agree with TOT, there are two sides now let's get busy review these articles and get to the truth.

HMJC commented on Monday, Aug 14, 2017 at 15:21 PM


I think I understand why you did not come out and defend yourself. One if you didn't do anything wrong there is no need. The other side is to let things pan out and address from there. Every word you say will be scrutinized regardless. Not that it matters but I would do the same thing.

PoliticsNation commented on Monday, Aug 14, 2017 at 18:47 PM

Thanks for the feed-back everyone. I'm sure it will work it self out. However,It seems like some productive things are going on in Long county despite this issue.

timeontarget commented on Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017 at 07:30 AM

As Paul Harvey would say

Thanks Mike

And thanks also PN for bringing it to the blog site.

Funkentelecky commented on Thursday, Aug 17, 2017 at 20:52 PM

Since no one answered the riddle "Riddle in the Middle" Pun Intended of course so here's the question and answer

Riddle me this, what has neither flesh bone nor nail, yet has four fingers and a thumb?

A glove of course!

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