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Whitaker retires as finance director

McDuffie County Finance Director Jimmy Whitaker has decided to retire after being on the job for the last eight years, The McDuffie Mirror has learned.

The 65-year-old Mr. Whitaker said his resignation and retirement would be effective as of Monday, May 4. Mr. Whitaker said he informed county officials of his decision earlier this month. His one sentence letter of resignation is dated April 1, but Mr. Whitaker said he didn't deliver it to officials until later.

As of Tuesday night, commissioners still had not made a determination regarding who will take over those duties once Mr. Whitaker has departed.

News of Mr. Whitaker's decision to leave county government began circulating among local leaders on April 14. However, there was no official announcement made until the next day during a commission organizational meeting last Wednesday in the county courthouse.

Commissioner Bill Jopling mentioned it and even alluded to his hoping that Mr. Whitaker might stay on through a transitional period. Commissioner Paul McCorkle said he mentioned the same thing to Mr. Whitaker on Monday morning.

County Manager Don Norton said he had personally asked Mr. Whitaker to think about staying on until a new finance director could be hired.

However, during interviews with reporters after Tuesday's commission meeting, Mr. Whitaker said no one had officially asked him to stay onboard. He added that his plans remain the same - that someone else would be in the driver's seat come May 5.

Commission Chairman Charlie Newton said if Mr. Whitaker decides to depart before the county can hire a new finance director that Mr. Norton would oversee the financial department until a new person was hired.

Presently, both county and city officials are in the process of discussing forming a joint financial department, according to Mr. Newton.

Mr. Whitaker has served in his current position with the county since his retirement from the Internal Revenue Service. He was employed with the federal government for 32 years.

During a brief telephone interview with the newspaper, Mr. Whitaker said he has no immediate plans after leaving county government.

Web posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009

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