Athens-Clarke County Unified Government Public Utilities Director Frank Stephens has announced his retirement from ACCGov effective April 2, 2021. He was appointed to the position by Manager Blaine Williams in September 2016.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time serving as Public Utilities Director for Athens-Clarke County and have been honored to work with an amazing group of employees," said Stephens. "While water is one of our precious resources, this department's staff that safeguards it is a tremendous resource of its own that often goes unnoticed behind the scenes until something goes awry. I'd like to thank each and every one of them for the work that they do day in and day out. This community is in great hands for its water and wastewater services into the future."
Among other accomplishments during his time with ACCGov, Stephens guided the Public Utilities Department to negotiate for the purchase of the Rock Hill Quarry to serve as a future water source expected to help provide local water needs for a century, seek changes from the Mayor and Commission to water and sewer rates to provide more equitable prices for all customers, and establish new water conservation opportunities by beginning systems for using recycled water instead of treated water for industrial purposes in the future.
"Frank showed exceptional dedication to his work and an intense commitment to providing the highest quality water and wastewater services to our residents and businesses while also looking to the community's future," said Williams. "He was also always willing to better ACCGov as a whole, whether by mentoring younger directors or by serving as Interim Director of the Transportation and Public Works Department for the better part of the year."
Stephens retires as a Georgia-certified professional engineer with over 30 years of water and wastewater utility executive management experience in Arkansas, Colorado, and Georgia. He also served on two different governors' task forces for water supply.
"What truly made Frank unique was his wit, wisdom, and connection with residents and his employees," said Williams. "He would literally get into the trenches at any time to help his staff or learn from them while they were working in the field. We informally called him 'The Professor' for his knowledge of water systems and eagerness to share his knowledge with anyone, while always seeking to learn more. He will be greatly missed by everyone with ACCGov and we all wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement."
Williams has appointed Public Utilities Department Assistant Director Hollis Terry to also serve as Interim Public Utilities Department Director until a permanent replacement is named after a national search.