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Oconee County Employees Forbidden From Speaking to the Press

Photo Credit: Lee Becker

Emil Beshara.

Oconee County Administrative Officer Jeff Benko has issued a directive to county department heads telling them not to make statements to “the press” without clearing those statements in advance with him.

The directive, sent out by email to the department heads at 5:03 p.m. on Apr. 3, followed a 3:49 p.m. email on that date, to Public Works Director Emil Beshara telling him to “refrain from discussing” issues “in the paper.”

The two messages follow a back-and-forth exchange of email messages between Benko and Beshara on Apr. 3.

That exchange was in response to an email sent to Benko at 12:30 p.m. on that date by Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis instructing Benko to talk with Beshara about “his recent comments in the local paper concerning transportation funding by the General Assembly.”

Chuck Williams, a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from Oconee County, had sent Davis an email message a half hour earlier complaining about comments attributed to Beshara in the Apr. 2 edition of The Oconee Enterprise

Williams called the comments “unprofessional and accusatory.”

For more, go to Oconee County Observations.