Local News

January 11, 2014

Deputy Pelfrey named Whitfield's Employee of the Year

Routinely going above and beyond the call of duty, Deputy Haley Pelfrey of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office was named the county’s Outstanding Employee of the Year for 2013.

Pelfrey was chosen by a panel of judges from a field that included nine other Employees of the Month from November 2012 to October 2013: Mitch Adams, GIS/IT; Cindy Sherrod, IT; Kyle Lawless, Fire Department; Kim Kittle, Tax Commissioner’s Office; Kevin Day, E911; Brandon Dalton, Wes Townsend and Jeff Wells, all with the sheriff’s office; and Jesse Bond, Fire Department.

“The final decision was made based on (Pelfrey’s) willingness to go above and beyond her assigned tasks and job duties in order to serve the public,” Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Babb said before announcing Pelfrey the winner.

The announcement came at the end of the annual Employee Recognition Luncheon held recently at the county recreation center on Gillespie Drive. Pelfrey was sick and couldn’t attend, so Sheriff Scott Chitwood accepted on her behalf.

“(Pelfrey) self-initiates and finds work to do even when all other tasks are complete,” Babb said. “She coordinates information between various agencies and has received commendations from other departments and agencies.”

Babb said Pelfrey was recently commended for speaking with female inmates whom she noticed had been injured by possible domestic violence prior to arrest. “Several of these individuals indicated they had even seen doctors and Pelfrey went above and beyond and took the time to make them understand they were in danger,” Babb said.

For these actions and other similar actions, Pelfrey received the Jackie Williams Justice Award from the Conasauga Family Violence Alliance at its annual 2013 conference.

In a couple of special presentations, two veteran county employees were recognized.

Sparky Kelehear praised former chief registrar Kay Staten, who died in January 2013 after a long career with the county, and presented her son, Steven, with a plaque and a drawing of his mother.

“There has never been a more devoted or more loyal employee of Whitfield County that I know of,” Kelehear said. “Now I’m sure there are some that are as devoted, but nobody could be more devoted than she was.”

Staten started her career with the county in 1979 and became chief voting registrar in 1991.

“Kay didn’t work for the county — she worked for every single registered voter in Whitfield County,” Kelehear said. “The job, she thought, was to make sure that everybody that wanted to vote could vote.”

Staten carried the county through several voting machine changes, including the current touchscreen system.

“The one thing we never had during all these changes was a challenged election,” Kelehear said. “She handled her job with grace, with concern for the voters, and with a sense of humor a lot of y’all didn’t see. We’re going to miss Kay, and for all her years of service we’d like her son to come forward and accept this award in her place.”

Chairman Babb told Steven “we appreciate everything your mother meant to this county and to the people of this county.”

Chief Magistrate Haynes Townsend praised fellow magistrate, Sidney Baxter, for his devotion to the county.

“You know it’s been said before that if you truly love what you do for a living,” Townsend said, “that you’ll never work a day in your life. And if that’s true, then Sidney Baxter at least for 45 years has not worked a day in his life because he loves what he does.”

Townsend said Baxter has had a “huge impact” on Whitfield County over the years, serving on the Dalton-Whitfield Planning Commission for 28 years and with the old Westside Ruritan Club during which time he was athletic chairman when the ball fields were built at what is now Westside Middle School.

Baxter is the longest serving magistrate in Georgia, Townsend said, and he and his wife Eloise will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary this year.

“I know I speak for all the people that have worked in our office,” Townsend said. “Sid, we’re all going to miss you an awful lot!”

He called Baxter the “most dependable” person in the office, “and I think I can say that without hurting anybody else’s feelings.

“Sidney is there from the time before we open to the time we close,” Townsend said. “He’s done a wonderful job for the citizens of Whitfield County and has truly earned whatever salary he’s made over the years and truly earned his opportunity to retire.”

Baxter kept his comments brief, drawing a laugh from his co-workers when he said, “I’d like to say one thing — I sure do appreciate you folks for voting for me that many times.”

Other retirees in 2013 were also recognized at the luncheon, including Carol Byers, Elections Office, 30 years; William Cannon, Fire Department, 29 years; Dennis Carnes, Recreation Department, 19 years; Arlene Cooper, Tax Assessor’s Office, five years; Frank Hart Jr., Correctional Center, 25 years; Frances Locke, Tax Commissioner’s Office, 14 years; Leroy Huggins, Public Works, 16 years; and Roger Spinks, Public Works, 19 years.

Other employees were also recognized for reaching employment milestones.

Five years

Betty Bates, Finance Department; Deborah Cooper, Cathy Knight, David Rodriguez and Richard Sims, all Correctional Center; Anthony Cross, Brett Miller and Tammy Walkey, all E-911; Robert Cowan, Board of Elections; Lisa Larmon, Elections; Chris Hester, Engineering; Jesse Bond, Robert Buhl Jr., Mac MacFadden Jr. and Robbie Sewell, all Fire Department; Allison Lance, Juvenile Court; Tracey Crawley, Probate Court; Phillip Bishop, Gerald Cooley Jr., Cameron Cox, Wesley Gibson and Jarrod Hayes, all sheriff’s office; Ralph Jones, SPLOST; and Michelle Garrison and Brenda Holcomb, both Tax Assessor’s Office.

10 years

David Hedden, Animal Shelter; Billy Crowe, Building & Grounds; William Beach II, Donna Burnette, Tanya Hill, Jeremy McMillan, Scott Stone, Loretta Walker and Graham Williams, all Correctional Center; Amy Cooley, EMA; Charlene Henson, Finance Department; Darrin Burnette, Fire Department; Chris Bryant and Craig Springfield, both Public Works; Ronnie Burns, Nathan Center, Andy Center, Kelly Cox, Josh Davis, Chris Guay, Micheal Hawkins, David Headrick, Adam Hill, Darren Pierce, Michelle Pritchett, Jose Rivera, Ryan Rogers, Carlos Santos, Todd Thompson and Jeff Wells, all sheriff’s office; and Pamela Jackson, Tax Commissioner’s Office.

15 years

Rhonda Franks, Elections; Sparky Kelehear, Board of Elections; Wade Emmett, Jeff Heatherly, Allan Kendrick and Ricky Lloyd, all Fire Department; Bill Todd, Inspections & Enforcement; Debbie Clark, Probate Court; Paul E. Long, Anthony McTaggart and Mark Parris, all Public Works; John Alton, William Curtis, Daniel Rann and Rick Wheeler, all sheriff’s office; Joel Gribble, Tax; and Tena Ruddell, Tax Commissioner’s Office.

20 years

Wayne Mathis, sheriff’s office; Bobbie Dixon, coroner; Roger Witt, Fire Department; Carol Lankford, Inspections & Enforcement; James Angland, Teddy Cochran and Roger Lackey, all Public Works; Scott Chitwood, sheriff; John Gibson, sheriff’s office; Marcella McDade, Tax Commissioner’s Office; and Danny Sane, tax commissioner.

25 years

Lauren Duncan and Jeff Silvers, both sheriff’s office; Terry Warnix and Robert Wilson Jr., both Fire Department; and Eric Phillips, Tax Assessor’s Office.

30 years

James Carlock, Public Works; Scott Denson and Tim Stephens, both Fire Department; and Darlene Roberts, sheriff’s office.

35 years

Tim Warnix, Information Technology.

40 years

Tommy Jeffery, Public Works.


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