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Council honors departing Blitch
Also approves six new jobs
Tommy Blitch Reception 10022012 017
Statesboro Mayor Joe Brannen presents departing council member Tommy Blitch with a proclamation and key to the city at Tuesday's council meeting. - photo by CINDY DIETZ/special

      For nearly a decade of service as the representative for Statesboro’s District 1, City Councilman Tommy Blitch was celebrated Tuesday by friends, family and colleagues.
      City staff hosted a reception to honor the eighth-year councilman, who announced in August that he would relinquish the seat because of health concerns, following a Tuesday morning meeting in City Hall.
      Council kicked off the morning with official recognition of Blitch’s work as a city leader.
      Mayor Joe Brannen presented Blitch with a key to the city and proclamation thanking him for his service. 
      “Councilman Blitch has made massive contributions to the City of Statesboro throughout his career. He has long devoted time and energy to the welfare of citizens of Statesboro,” Brannen said, reading the proclamation. “He has been an invaluable resource for the City of Statesboro’s governing body through his ability to serve citizens and promote growth. During his many years of service to the city, Blitch has been one of the guiding forces to ensure that our infrastructure — streets, bridges, recreation centers, fire stations and libraries — is cared for and preserved.”
      “Friends and colleagues will miss Blitch’s hard work on behalf of the city,” he said. “And we will really miss his smile — his understanding way and ability to make you feel at ease.”
      Blitch stood alongside his family and thanked personnel for the honor.
      “I would not have received this if not for all of the people in this room. I appreciate each and every one of you,” he  said. “I think we have one of the best cities around. I love the City of Statesboro, and I hope that the future will bring plenty of blessings.”
      Blitch served as a member of Statesboro City Council since a special city election victory in 2004. He was subsequently elected in 2005 and 2009.

New jobs
      In other business Tuesday, council approved a motion to create six new full-time firefighter positions with the Statesboro Fire Department.
      The positions were deemed necessary to keep up with increasing demands and needs of a growing community, according to fire department officials.
      “These additions will allow us to begin initial responses to all structure fires with three companies of firefighters, rather than just two,” said Wendell Turner, the city’s director of public safety.
      “This is just another step toward improving fire services for this community,” Fire Chief Tim Grams said.
Money was allocated in this year’s budget, from the Statesboro Fire Fund, to pay salaries of the new firefighters.
      The City of Statesboro will begin advertising for the positions immediately and will accept applications during the next couple of weeks.

      Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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