Faces of Oconee County Government
Get to know the some of the dedicated individuals who make up the Oconee County Government team. We are here for you!
Do you know an Oconee County Government employee who goes the extra mile to serve? We would love to hear about it! Email us and let us know!
Meet Grace Tuschak, a Senior Planner with the Planning & Code Enforcement Department. Grace joined Oconee County in August 2018. Her past endeavors have included working as a confectioner in a chocolate factory, managing a growers association, and conducting agricultural research at NC State.
Grace holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Furman University and a Master’s degree in City & Regional Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill. She lives in Athens with her husband Nick and a Beagle mix named Iris. Her hobbies include gardening, beekeeping, ceramics, reading, hiking, and cooking and baking.
Grace says that she loves her job because every day is different and there is never a dull moment. She also loves helping the public understand planning issues and helping the community implement its long-term vision.
“Grace has been a wonderful addition to our Planning & Code Enforcement Department,” says Director Guy Herring. “With her Master’s in City Planning and her soon to be awarded AICP certification, she has and will continue to contribute greatly to the success of the department. She championed the application for the County’s PlanFirst Certification and has been instrumental in the implementation of the new software for agendas, zoning cases, and development projects. Her terrific attitude and excellent people skills with both external and internal customers have garnered positive comments from customers and county staff. The Oconee County community benefits greatly from having someone of Grace’s caliber on staff, and we look forward to her continued contributions toward continuous improvement of the services we provide.”
Thank you, Grace, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet Shayne Stone, Distribution Technician for Oconee County Water Resources. Shayne joined Oconee County in June 2012. He is a graduate of Oconee County High School and currently lives in Morgan County with his wife, Jennifer Stone, who is the Assistant Director of the Oconee County Board of Elections & Registration. When he is not working, Shayne enjoys hunting, playing golf, and watching football. Shayne says the constant variety of his work keeps his job interesting and that he enjoys being able to work outside.
“Shayne is a valuable member of our team,” says Oconee County Water Resources Director Tim Durham. “He is always willing to go the extra mile to see a project through. His efforts in strengthening our positive culture do not go unnoticed. Everyone enjoys working with Shayne and that is a testament to his work ethic and leadership!”
Thank you, Shayne, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet Nick Hensley, Distribution Technician for Oconee County Water Resources. Nick joined the county in 2012 as an Animal Control Officer, and began working in the Water Resources Department in 2016. Nick attended the University of West Georgia, and is currently a resident of Clarke County. When he is not at work, Nick enjoys being in the great outdoors and watching UGA football.
“Nick always gets the job done,” says Water Resources Director Tim Durham. “When a project needs immediate attention, he is our go-to guy. Nick is an invaluable member of our team and he consistently demonstrates an outstanding work ethic.”
Thank you, Nick, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet Patrick Magana, Assistant Director of the Oconee County Information Technology Department! Patrick joined the county in August 2007. Previously, he worked with the Florida Marlins/Dolphin Stadium in the IT Department. Patrick lives in Watkinsville, and has two children, 15-year-old Andy and 12-year-old Alexa. When he is not working, he enjoys sports, woodworking, and being in the great outdoors. Patrick says his favorite part of his job is helping people solve their IT challenges. Information Technology Director Paula Nezda says, “Patrick thrives on learning. He is meticulous, respectful, and loyal. He is a visionary and enjoys using his expertise to design and implement technology throughout the county.” Thank you, Patrick, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet Allison Burns, Assistant Director of the Oconee County Senior Center. Allison started volunteering at the Senior Center in 2015, and she was officially hired in February 2016. During her time at the Senior Center, she has also served as the arts and crafts teacher and the activities and events coordinator.
Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in art education and a master’s degree in early childhood education. She has been a teacher in both public and private schools and also worked as a Project Designer at burton+BURTON.
Alison is originally from Athens and has lived in Oconee County for the last thirteen years. Her family includes her husband of 17 years, Mike, her 14-year-old son Lyle, her 11-year-old daughter Belle, and Birdie, the dog. When she is not working, Allison enjoys reading and hanging out with her kids.
Allison says her favorite part of her job is coming up with activities and events that seniors will find fun and entertaining. She constantly strives to make the Senior Center a fun and enjoyable environment. Allison says she also loves working with her colleagues.
"Allison is the quintessential employee," says Senior Center Director Merry Howard. "She is such an asset to the community and a blessing at the Oconee County Senior Center. Allison has a passion for her work and for making everyone feel successful at whatever they are trying to accomplish; she is a SUPERSTAR!"
Thank you, Allison, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet Jake Hayes, Wastewater Operator with Oconee County Water Resources. Jake has been with the county since May 2009, and joined the Water Resources team in 2016. Jake has also served in several roles with the Oconee County Parks and Recreation Department, including Summer Day Camp Counselor, Afterschool Counselor, Park Assistant, Assistant Program Coordinator, and Park Maintenance Crew Member.
Jake is a lifelong resident of Oconee County. He attended Westminster Christian Academy and is currently pursuing an associate degree at the University of North Georgia. His family includes his wife Rebecca Hayes and parents Greg and Kathy Hayes. When he is not working, Jake enjoys restoring old vehicles, dirt bike racing, playing basketball and softball, and bass fishing.
Jake says his favorite parts of his job are the positive work environment, ability to work independently, great coworkers, and the opportunity to grow and take on more responsibilities.
“Jake is truly a pleasure to work with,” says Oconee County Water Resources Director Tim Durham. “He is a dedicated member of our team who is always working hard to achieve more. Jake does not meet a stranger, and he engages well with the public. Jake adds fuel to every project, and those efforts always lead us to success. Jake is among the best and brightest in the county, and he will accomplish whatever he puts his mind to.”
Thank you, Jake, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet John Jackson, Wastewater Operator for Oconee County Water Resources. John joined the county on April 27, 2017, and has also worked as a Maintenance Mechanic during his tenure with Oconee County.
John attended Cedar Shoals High School and Athens Tech and currently lives in Oglethorpe County. John’s family includes his parents Leomar Jackson and Beverly Jackson. When he is not working, John enjoys playing on an Ultimate Frisbee club team and four different softball teams. He also enjoys rock climbing.
John says his favorite part of his job is knowing that even though people may take clean water for granted, treating water so that it can be used again is a critical, complex, and important job.
“John is relatively new to wastewater treatment but I am impressed by his hunger to learn more,” says Oconee County Water Resources Director Tim Durham. “His motivation to learn isn’t something you come across every day. With his determination – the sky is the limit. John has demonstrated an ability to conquer any task that you put in front of him, and he is an integral part of why our wastewater team is a success.”
Thank you, John, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet Gaby Bryan, Code Enforcement Officer for the Oconee County Planning & Code Enforcement Department. Gaby has been with the county since July 2000, and has also worked as a permit coordinator during that time. Prior to joining the county, Gaby worked for the Northeast Georgia Center.
Gaby attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, and is a resident of Morgan County. Her family includes her husband Randy and her son Thomas. When she is not working, Gaby enjoys tending her hobby farm, which includes goats and cows.
Gaby says her favorite part of her job is interacting and working with the citizens of Oconee County.
“Gaby is a conscientious and dedicated team member,” says Oconee County Planning and Code Enforcement Director Guy Herring. “She provides excellent customer service to both our internal and external customers. She is a consummate team player, steps into gaps when needed, and supports the efforts of the Department and the Board of Commissioners. She is extremely knowledgeable in her field and provides institutional knowledge in many aspects of the department. Her years of experience and dedication to her profession are highly commendable. We are truly blessed to have her as a team member of the Planning & Code Enforcement Department.”
Thank you, Gaby, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet Erin Carlton, Wastewater Utility Supervisor for Oconee County Water Resources. Erin joined Oconee County on October 12, 2015. He previously worked for Athens-Clarke County as the Plant Manager of the North Oconee Water Reclamation Facility.
Erin is a graduate of Midland Valley High School in North Augusta. He currently lives in Athens and is the father of two daughters, Rebecca and Erica, and the grandfather of six-year-old Fynn Adams. Erin also enjoys spending time with his “boo” Sarah Edwards.
When he is not working, Erin enjoys hiking, going to markets and food festivals, and road trips. He recently drove to Maine and back—3,000 miles worth of adventures packed into eight days!
Erin says his favorite part of his job is the complexity of the work he does, which includes elements of chemistry, engineering, biology, and hydrology. Erin has worked in this industry for two decades and enjoys the constant opportunities to learn.
“Erin continually shows a personal commitment to excellence,” says Water Resources Director Tim Durham. “He also demonstrates an ability to accommodate change extremely well–even when it is not easy or convenient. Anyone who has worked with Erin can clearly see his level of knowledge is outstanding, and he does an excellent job in developing other staff members with that knowledge. He is a dedicated part of our team, and we are all appreciative of the work that he does.”
Thank you, Erin, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet Donna Norton, Budget Officer for the Oconee County Finance Department. Donna joined Oconee County in 1999, when she began working in the Clerk of Courts Office. She transferred to the Finance Department in 2000.
Donna grew up on her family’s farm in Oconee County raising cows, pigs, minks, and commercial broiler chickens. She attended Oconee County Schools, where she met her high school sweetheart Derrick. The two later married and spent the first ten years of their marriage traveling between duty stations while Derrick was on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. They lived in North Carolina, Tennessee, Minnesota, and Hawaii, and visited Hong Kong, Guam, and Okinawa before returning home to Oconee in 1998.
When she is not working, Donna enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Donna says she was grateful to be offered a position working for Oconee County, which enabled her to serve the community where she grew up. Working in her hometown allows her to see familiar faces and meet new people. She enjoys working closely with elected officials, constitutional officers, and staff. Donna says her favorite part of her job is serving the citizens of Oconee County.
“Donna is always happy to go above and beyond to help our customers and fellow co-workers,” says Assistant Finance Director Melissa Braswell. “She makes sure that everyone is taken care of.”
Thank you, Donna, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet Randy Randall, a driver for the Oconee County Senior Center. Randy starting working at the Senior Center eight months ago, and he also serves as a volunteer firefighter and has been a school bus driver for Oconee County Schools for the past eight years. Recently, Randy used his firefighter training to save the life of a co-worker!
Randy and his wife Stacey are longtime residents of Oconee County. They have three rescue dogs: Bootsie, Ginny, and Camo. When Randy isn’t working, he enjoys running and regularly completes 5k, 10k, and half marathon races. He also like to attend car shows and drive his ’68 Ford truck.
Randy says that his favorite part of his job is working with older people and hearing their stories from the old days. He also loves interacting with all of his co-workers.
Oconee County Senior Center Director Merry Howard says, “Randy has been a true blessing to our senior center family in every way imaginable. He even saved the life of a staff member recently during a holiday party by performing the Heimlich maneuver. He serves his community daily with care and compassion by delivering Meals on Wheels and driving the bus and van to pick up and take home senior center participants. He is that all around team member who jumps in to keep things rolling when things pile up! Above all, Randy is a thoughtful and caring individual who brings so much joy and laughter to our busy days at the center!”
Thank you, Randy, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet Tracye Bailey, the Deputy County Clerk and Administrative Assistant to the Oconee County Board of Commissioners. Tracye joined the Oconee County Government family in 1998, and has also served as a Motor Vehicle Registrar, Senior Motor Vehicle Registrar, and Deputy Tax Commissioner.
Tracye is a lifelong resident of Oconee County and a graduate of Oconee County High School. Her family includes her husband of thirty-five years Butch, son Cullen, daughter-in-law Kate, grandson Rett, and granddaughter Millie.
When she is not working, Tracye enjoys reading and listening to music of all kinds.
Tracye says that she enjoys working with individuals from different county departments, as well interacting with members of the public. She says that every day at work brings new and exciting challenges, and she loves the fact that every day is different.
County Administrator Justin Kirouac says, “Tracye models a commitment to public service in everything she does. Whether assisting citizens, organizing Commission activities, or helping in community events, her pride in her job and her county shines through.”
Thank you, Tracye, for everything you do for Oconee County!
Meet David Lewis, Water Distribution Supervisor for Oconee County Water Resources. David joined the county on July 10, 2006, as a Utility Worker III.
David is a graduate of Clarke Central High School and lives in Barrow County. His family includes his wife Sarah and seven children: 13-year-old Aaliyah, 11-year-old Jada, 9-year-old Kaylah, 9-year-old David Jr., 7-year-old-Devon, 6-year-old Taylor, and 5-year-old Riley. When he isn’t working, David enjoys spending time with his kids engaged in activities including a variety of sports and riding four-wheelers and dirt bikes.
David says his favorite part of his job is the satisfaction he gets from seeing a job completed. He has also enjoyed having the opportunity to become a leader and teach new county employees, helping to ensure everyone works in a safe environment while out on the roadways and around traffic.
Oconee County Water Resources Director Tim Durham says, “David is a great leader. He is always positive and willing to tackle any issue. He is always smiling and believes the best in people. We are lucky to have someone who is as bright and promising as anyone I have ever worked with.”
Thank you, David, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet Lara Crowe, the Administrative Assistant for Oconee County Fire Rescue. Lara joined Oconee County on February 14, 2000.
Lara is a lifelong Oconee resident and a graduate of Oconee High School. Her husband Tommy Crowe is a Fire Rescue Volunteer and Station Chief, and her father, brother-in-law, and son have all served as Fire Rescue Volunteers. Fire Rescue is truly a shared passion in Lara’s family! Lara’s sister also works for Oconee County in Code Enforcement.
When she is not working at Oconee County, Lara enjoys working on her farm.
Her favorite part of her job is being a part of the Oconee County Volunteer Fire Department team. Lara says that the entire department is a great group of individuals who truly are a family.
“Lara tirelessly works behind the scenes with minimal recognition to ensure the success of Oconee County Fire Rescue and the Oconee County Emergency Management Agency,” says Oconee County EMA Director C.J. Worden. “Her pleasant demeanor, attention to detail, and general willingness to make life easier on all of us ensure that she is a critical link in the chain of public safety. To Lara, I offer you my thanks for your continuous efforts that are always accompanied by a smile.”
Thank you, Lara, for all you do for Oconee County!
Michael Wayne Weathers
Meet Michael Wayne Weathers, Oconee County Road Superintendent. Michael joined Oconee County on August 8, 1993, and has amassed a wealth of experience and knowledge in all aspects of road work.
Michael is a resident of Barrow County and has a daughter named Micah. When he is not working, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and playing golf. He also enjoys construction and remodeling projects.
Michael says his favorite part of his job is the challenge it brings.
“Every day you come and don’t know what you will be facing,” says Michael. "We have a schedule, but you have to prioritize.”
“Michael brings an infectious enthusiasm to work,” Public Works Director Emil Beshara says. “He cares about the quality of service the Oconee County Road Department provides, and he is good at motivating the crews to deliver. Oconee County is fortunate to have had such a dedicated employee for the past 25+ years.”
Thank you for all you do for Oconee County, Michael, and for keeping us safe on our roads!
Meet Charlotte Connell, a Site Attendant at the Oconee County Macon Highway Collection Site and Recycling Center. Charlotte joined Oconee County four years ago, following her retirement from Gwinnett County, where she worked in the Finance Department for 25 years.
Charlotte is a graduate of Loganville High School and also attended Tucker High School. She currently lives in Athens, but is a previous Oconee County resident. Charlotte’s family includes her husband David, daughter Laura, son Chad, and three grandchildren—13-year-old Linley, 5-year-old Beck, and 3-year-old Elsie Kate. Charlotte is also the grandmother of Piper, who passed away in 2012. Charlotte is looking forward to meeting her newest grandchild, Josie, who will be arriving any day now!
When Charlotte isn’t at work, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, and her two dogs, Charlie and Rudy. She also enjoys playing computer games.
Charlotte is a passionate advocate for the search for a cure for pediatric cancer. She is a dedicated supporter of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and CURE Childhood Cancer.
Charlotte says her favorite part of her job is encouraging and educating people about recycling!
Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission Executive Director Cindy Pritchard describes Charlotte as “passionate about her job and always willing to go the extra mile to improve recycling in Oconee County.”
Stormwater/ Environmental Coordinator Amy Morrison says, “Charlotte has been an amazing asset to the Sanitation Department for the last four years. She is honest, dependable, and actively seeks out things that need to be done without being asked. Her integrity shows in the way that she always performs her job duties to the highest standards. Charlotte is an outstanding employee, and Oconee County is lucky to have her!”
Thank you, Charlotte, for all you do for our county!
Meet Cindy Hardigree, the Oconee County Parks & Recreation Department Office Assistant at Oconee Veterans Park. Cindy joined the Parks & Recreation Department on November 28, 2005, as the Office Assistant at Herman C. Michael Park. Prior to joining the county, Cindy worked at Oconee State Bank.
Cindy grew up in Bogart and is a graduate of Athens Christian School. Her family includes her husband Matt, daughter and son-in-law Shelley and Jay Feldner, daughter and son-in-law Brittany and Josh Collins, daughter Anna Leigh Hardigree, and stepson and daughter-in-law Blake and Kaylee Hardigree. Cindy also has two grandsons, Bennett Cash Feldner, who is four years old, and Harrison John Feldner, who is two years old. Cindy is looking forward to welcoming her third grandchild into the family soon.
When she isn’t at work, Cindy enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies, reading, traveling, and visiting the mountains and beach.
Cindy says her favorite thing about her job is talking to the regular patrons she sees on a daily or weekly basis and introducing the newcomers she meets to all the great things about Oconee County. She loves working with and helping members of the public, and she loves her work family.
Oconee County Parks & Recreation Director Lisa Davol says, “Cindy Hardigree is the friendly face of the Parks and Recreation Department. She makes every park patron smile with her exceptional customer service. We are lucky to have such an amazing person on our TEAM that truly cares about serving our community.”
Thank you, Cindy, for all you do for Oconee County!
Meet Sandy Maxwell, a customer service expert in the Oconee County Water Resources Department. Sandy joined the Oconee County family on March 31, 2008.
Sandy grew up in Greene County, where she attended Green County High School, but is now a long-time resident of Oconee County. Prior to working for our Water Resources Department, Sandy gained experience working in a college bookstore and as a credit manager for Farmers Furniture, and she even trained and worked as an EMT!
Sandy’s family includes her husband Charles, sons Mathew Maxwell and Michael Lanier, daughters-in-law Brianna Maxwell and Miranda Lanier, and granddaughter Carley Maxwell. Sandy’s family also includes three dogs—a pit bull, a chihuahua, and a rat terrier.
When Sandy isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her granddaughter and going to the mountains with her husband. She also loves going to drag racing events and tractor pulls.
Sandy says her favorite part of her job is meeting and interacting with her customers.
“Sandy is a valued employee in the Water Resources Department,” says Oconee County Water Resources Director Tim Durham. “Her ten years of employment here provide us with a strong background knowledge for customer accounts. She is a friendly face who interacts well with the public, and our customers love her. Oconee County is blessed to have Sandy!”
Thank you, Sandy, for all you do for Oconee County!