Politics & Government

Macon-Bibb EMA director reprimanded for using work email to apply for drone job

The Macon-Bibb County Emergency Management Agency director has been reprimanded for sending a resume and cover letter to a company proposing to bring drones to the county.

Don Druitt, Macon-Bibb’s EMA director, received a written reprimand Friday for violating county policy for soliciting employment from a “potential economic business partner” through government email, according to a copy of the reprimand.

Druitt used his work email on March 19 to express interest in going to work for Olaeris, a company proposing a $5.7 million drone system that would be used for public safety purposes, according to the county.

In his letter to Olaeris, Druitt stated his experience would be beneficial to a “futuristic, cutting edge company.”

In July, The Telegraph requested under the Open Records Act any emails or correspondence between the county and Olaeris.

But the resume and cover letter were not included in the material released to The Telegraph at the time.

Macon-Bibb spokesman Chris Floore said Friday that county officials were unaware of the resume and cover letter until this week.

Floore said Crystal Jones, senior assistant county attorney, found the documents while she was reviewing the media’s open records requests. Jones was making sure she had sent all pertinent information, Floore said.

County Manager Dale Walker, who gave Druitt the reprimand, was first notified of the EMA director’s email to Olaeris on Thursday, Floore said.

Druitt will not be employed by Macon-Bibb for much longer. He has accepted an early retirement and will step down from his position Sept. 30.

He was at the forefront of discussions between Macon-Bibb and Olaeris CEO Ted Lindsley that fell apart when commissioners tabled a memorandum of understanding in July.

Olaeris wants to sell Macon-Bibb at least 15 drones for $5.7 million that could be used to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.

The company has been at the center of controversy since seeking to turn Macon-Bibb into a regional hub for unmanned aerial vehicles. Several county commissioners have expressed concern about agreeing to a memorandum of understanding without having more information on the project.

Floore said the drone proposal could come before commissioners again.

“We understand that Olaeris wants to come back and answer commissioners’ questions,” he said.

To contact writer Stanley Dunlap, call 744-4623.