The sudden removal of Chet Powell as manager of Reed Bingham State Park has drawn quite a stir from the local folks, many of whom have worked closely with Powell in giving new life to our park.

We say “our park” because we are members of this organization called the State of Georgia and yes, our opinions about the handling of our resources are important.

The revolt that has resulted is justified, given that the state Department of Natural Resources has given no good reason for his removal while Powell’s accomplishments here are well illustrated and the desires of the community exclaimed in Powell’s favor.

During his time at Reed Bingham, Powell has energized a staff and volunteers to make up for downturns in state cash flow. Under his leadership, the park has gained statewide, regional and even national attention.

This newspaper has worked closely with Powell in publicizing the events and needs of Reed Bingham, and reporting on the subsequent successes. We are witness to his energy and dedication.

Much testimony has been given by local folks, including the well-organized and effective “Friends of Reed Bingham.” And that testimony is overwhelmingly in support of Powell being kept here as manager of Reed Bingham. Who could be closer to the heartbeat of that facility than this group?

While we realize Powell is a state employee and is subject to transfer, we also realize that the DNR is an agency of “our government” and “our opinion” on the matter should be considered, especially given the incredible improvements at the park and the success of Powell’s leadership in tough economic times.

We respectfully request that the DNR director reconsider this decision. We also request that our state lawmakers hear what the local folks are saying in this issue and act as a liaison between the grassroots and the state agency to effectively retain Powell as our park manager.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with us being proud of “our park” and the person who has led its stability and growth and to desire that this person be retained here if it is his desire.

Let’s please not forget that the very fabric of “government of, by and for the people” (state or national) is woven with the concept that the people who ultimately finance that government be considered as key players and that their voices be heard and respected.

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