A new program aims to protect Georgia military men and women from predatory practices.
Attorney General Sam Olens was among those on hand this week for the announcement of the start of the Georgia Military Consumer Protection Initiative.
“Through our work on addressing predatory lending practices in the state, it has become abundantly apparent that service members in Georgia are particularly vulnerable to payday lending, title pawn and other harmful consumer credit products,” said Liz Coyle, executive director of Georgia Watch, a consumer advocacy group.
Over the next year, Georgia Watch will develop a Military Consumer Protection Guide, with input from Army Community Services, Airman and Family Readiness Centers and other support units at installations throughout Georgia.
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“The attorney general’s office is dedicated to protecting those that serve,” Olens said in a statement. “I look forward to making this guide available so families can make educated choices and avoid unscrupulous services and products.”
Once the guide is complete, a review will ensure it is accurate, reflects the most recent legal protections available and provides objective advice on priority consumer issues for military personnel and their families.
Georgia Watch will begin the initiative by holding focus groups with military personnel, family members and key staff to inform the priorities of the guide.
GEARING UP FOR NEW HIRES
Macon-Bibb County has begun advertising for one of the nine high-anking positions that become vacant this year.
Last week, the county began accepting applications for a chief information officer to oversee Information Technology. The minimum salary is $84,032, and qualifications don’t require previous experience in government.
“That’s the only one we have right now,” County Manager Dale Walker told commissioners Tuesday. “We’re just starting the process.”
Most of departed directors and a high ranking official left after accepting early retirement offered by Macon-Bibb. Others left for new jobs.
Assistant County Manager Steve Layson, IT Director Steve Masteller and Director of Facilities Management Gene Simonds retired at the end of June. Others who accepted the buyouts were Public Works Director Steve Pettis and Emergency Management Agency Director Don Druitt.
Leaving for new jobs were E-911 Director Keith Moffett, who became the Butts County administrator, and Recreation Director Donald “Doc” Dougherty, who took over a Florida recreation department. Sarah Tenon, director of the Animal Welfare Department, resigned.
The county appointed interim directors in most departments.
Bibb County Tax Commissioner Tommy Tedders also retired after 29 years in government work.
COMMISSIONER PLEASED WITH TURNOUT
Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Al Tillman said he’s glad a rainy day didn’t stop people from coming out to an event this week involving his organization, Unity-N-Community,
Although the outdoor activities were canceled Tuesday, about 100 people still came out for the Family Fun Day Cookout and Job Fair at Tremont Temple Baptist Church.
The event provided attendees an opportunity to apply for various Macon-Bibb County government jobs and to learn more about workforce development programs provided through the Middle Georgia Regional Commission. The event was also presented by Manna Ministry and the Tremont church.
“It was an excellent turnout,” Tillman said. “We’re planning to reschedule the outdoor activities sometime in November.”
Telegraph writers Stanley Dunlap and Oby Brown contributed to this report.