Polk County Commissioner Jason Ward is soon to be relocating out of the state and is off to the sunny east coast of Florida after finally being able to announce a new job after months of contemplation and work.
Ward announced on Facebook last night that he and his family will be "relocating to Jacksonville, Florida over the next couple of months. I am sure we will have more details to share later but right now we want to thank all our family, friends, and neighbors that have made the last 11 years since we moved back to Polk County amazing."
He said in an interview this afternoon that he'll be starting in a new position with Florida Valuation on June 1, and that for the time being he'll be commuting back and forth to work on county commission business.
"It's a great firm, they do litigation work, DOT work and work for institutional clients," he said. "That's where I will be focusing my efforts in the future."
Ward said he'll continue on serving the county that he and his family will always consider home until they complete their move.
He said he is still working out the details on how he'll be continuing on as county commissioner while on the road in Florida, and also the process for him to step down from the board in a timely fashion. He said that in speaking to County Manager Matt Denton about his stepping down from the board, the pair agreed he can remain on the job for the time being.
""He will be considered a county resident until he officially relocates to his new job," Denton said in confirming the news this afternoon.
As he takes on a new job, Ward's Appraisal Associates where he has been the managing partner and majority stakeholder since 2013, will be passing into the hands of junior partner Patrick Dillon.
Ward said that Dillon bought him out, but that nothing will be changing at the company otherwise. They employ 2 commercial and 2 residential appraisers.
"They will continue on business as usual and I believe they're going to be setup for success," he said.
The move has been in the works for six months, Ward said.
"It's been a slow process, and we've taken our time to think it through," he said.
First elected to office in 2010, Ward is in the middle of his second term in office as a Commissioner. He would have faced election again in 2018.
With more than a year left on his term, Commissioners will get to decide who joins them on the board for what is left of Ward's time in office once he resigns.
If they can't agree on who should take the seat, then the process would end up in the hands of the grand jury according to Elections Director Karen Garmon.
Ward's announcement also added an invite to friends and family to come and visit when they get settled in Jacksonville.
"We won’t be strangers and hope to get back often to visit," the overnight Facebook posting read. "In the meantime, if you need a place to stay when you head to the beach just let us know."
Ward's announcement is just the latest story coming from the County Commission this week, which included overturning a veto on paving requests for recreation parking lots in the cities of Cedartown and Rockmart, and the announcement of a departmental audit of the Polk County Police Department following a letter containing anonymous allegations was sent to commissioners by Sheriff Johnny Moats.