Chatham County Commissioner Walter Petty, the lone Republican on the five-member board, announced Monday night he will resign at the end of the April to focus on his family and growing business interests.
Petty was first elected to the Board of County Commissioners in 2010. He ran unopposed in 2018.
Petty quoted Ecclesiastes in making his announcement, saying the season for his service on the board was over and his purpose had changed.
“The demands on my schedule have become increasingly difficult to manage,” he said. “I’ve given this a tremendous amount of thought and [have been] planning it for quite some time
Petty was absent from the March meeting and had missed several other engagements last fall while away on business. He did participate in the budget planning process and the hiring of a new county manager earlier this year, which he said was important to him.
“I appreciate the professionalism and dedication of the staff,” he said. “You made my job an absolute pleasure. I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed my opportunity to serve. I’ve done my best and, I resign with no regrets.”
When Petty said he was resigning, people in the audience said “No.”
One woman said, “You’re the only one we’ve got.”
Chairman Mike Dasher said Petty’s announcement was unexpected.
“He really caught us off guard, and he will be missed,” Dasher said. “It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with him. I’ve just enjoyed the last couple years. We’re gonna miss him. But we certainly wish him well.”
Petty’s business installs and services electrical generators that provide backup power for other businesses across the Southeast. He was gone much of the fall as his company helped in recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence in North Carolina and Hurricane Michael in the Florida panhandle.
Petty’s replacement will be recommended by the Chatham County Republican Party, which could not be reached for comment Tuesday.