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Rockdale says farewell to county pioneers

CONYERS—Rockdale County officials said farewell to its long-time government leaders, hosting an evening reception that included gift bags for each of them.

Collectively, the outgoing Sheriff, Tax Commissioner, Magistrate Judge, Probate Judge and Coroner are taking with them more than 100 years of experience as they turn over the reigns to a new crop of leaders who will be sworn into office on Dec. 30, 7 p.m., at the Rockdale County Auditorium, 903 Main St.

The reception honoring the longtime leaders’ service was held on Dec. 12 at the Board of Commissioners’ Office.

The mood was festive with holiday music and a Christmas tree as several residents thanked each of them and chatted

“Well, I don’t hunt. I don’t fish and I never was one for golfing, so I don’t know what I’m about to do,” Sheriff Jeff Wigington said jokingly. “I have almost 36 years in law enforcement here and it was a really enjoyable experience. Everyday was something different. You can’t say that about a lot of lines of work.”

Similar comments came from Tax Commissioner Dan Ray, who served more than 20 years; Magistrate Judge Clarence “Rudy” Horne Jr., with nearly 26 years on the bench; and Coroner Stephen Boyle, who served 16 years. Probate Judge Lillis Brown, who held the seat for 20 years, did not attend the event.

“When you look at these men, you’re looking at pioneers of this county,” said Commissioner Oz Nesbitt, who was joined by fellow Commissioner Janice Van Ness in honoring the officials at the reception. “These people have sacrificed their time and given their talents to Rockdale. We will always be appreciative to them.”

Commissioner Van Ness agreed.

“Words cannot describe how grateful we are to these leaders in our community,” Van Ness said. “They have done so much great work that they have left a legacy in our county.”