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  • P&Z administrator resigns

  • Controversy continues to explode within Camden County Planning & Zoning as Administrator Don Hathaway tendered his resignation in a dramatic flourish at the end of the regular P&Z meeting Wednesday evening, citing harassment by Associate Commissioner Cliff Luber as the main reason for leaving.
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    • Text of Hathaway's resignation letter

      To:         County Commission & Lake Area Planning & Zoning Commission
      Subject:     Letter of Resignation  
      Date:   ...

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      Text of Hathaway's resignation letter

      To:         County Commission & Lake Area Planning & Zoning Commission

      Subject:     Letter of Resignation  

      Date:        March 16,  2014

      It has been 2 years and six months since my employment as your Administrator of the Planning & Zoning Department.  I was informed at the onset of my employment that my position was historically one of debate and controversy.   A  certain group of folks that did not agree with the implementation of the laws of land use and development, having created an adverse political climate.

      I have weathered the storm of criticism and budget restrictions.  But it is impossible to manage a department without proper staff in which to fulfill the needs of the community.  My goal here was to work with all residents of the county to build a better system of land use control.  Implementation of Code revisions and adoption of modern technical specifications that meet the needs of this community were quickly identified as necessary priorities, along with achieving compliance with the regulatory laws of this state and the federal government for which we are governed.   

      However, there have been multiple instances of confrontation from Commissioner Luber over the past year, these past outbursts of aggression being well documented in recent investigations, for which there has been no report of findings being produced.  In discussions over the procedural policies for code revision, the week after the P&Z meeting, Mr. Luber became argumentative with me regarding statements over my position on the issue.  My request for legal council on the matter, and statements of facts regarding the procedural process in emails caused argumentative comments, which continued Monday in my office.  

      The task here is difficult enough to insure consistent code interpretation that is not arbitrary and capricious, without a hostile work environment being created by Commissioner Luber on a regular basis. Back handed insults, interrogation and reprimand have been constant.  Mr. Lubers issues statements in the media typically infused with self interpretations of the facts, that shows a total lack of respect for due process and the authority of others. He has a right to his opinion, but not total control of the Planning and Zoning Department. I have not solicited, nor do I require Mr. Lubers input on operations of the Planning Commission, and yet he continues to exceed his jurisdictional authority in an attempt for control reserved for the Planning Commission.   His lack of knowledge in the subject is apparent as he seeks to interpret rules and codes to the selection of his agenda.  

       His statements made online, in broadcasts, and even articles in print have engaged in defamation of my character.  He and his followers, many of which join with him in his media attacks have made statements of slanderous content, without providing any facts in the subject in which they make claim.  Let alone any evidence in support of their position or conclusions.

       The loose use of information gained in discussions with me and others, without all the pertinent facts being disclosed in the rhetoric being perpetuated in the media is a gross miss use of his office.   Mr. Luber needs to be very careful how he handles issues with County Employees who are not elected officials.

      These actions follow the infamous statement;   if you tell a big enough lie, often enough, it will be perceived to be the truth, and we all know the origin of that form of propaganda.

      It was not the difficulty of task that has changed my goals to assist this community in their efforts to move forward.  It has been the personal attacks and the statements of Cliff Luber and others, in their political lust for control of your county that make my decision, when they seek to include my immediate family in their preposterous claims in questioning my sincerity of task.  Their referencing my residence in Morgan County as some form of lower interest in lake area improvement, insults my professional integrity, and statements alleging that my proud affiliation with my spouse family,  is some form of conflict of interest,  is insulting.

       If the people of Camden County cannot see beyond the bigoted hatred coming from this team of so called conservatives, you too are blind to their agenda of misinformation and prejudice.  I will be releasing a memorandum of facts on various cases of interest, and as always, the record of those cases is available for review by the public at any time. It doesn’t get any more transparent that this.  

      It is because of Mr. Luber, and the continued harassment of me and my staff, that I submit my notice of resignation. I am unwilling to work in a position that cannot realize the necessary goals we set out to achieve.  I will not work with a man who has engaged in misuse of his powers to thwart the efforts of this administration, and myself, in our duties and obligations to the people of Camden County.   My frustration over the last year has diminished the quality of life I sought to maintain here for my family in your employment.  

       I leave you with the following thoughts.  People who feverously seek power are the ones that least embodies the ability to serve others, over their own ambitions.  Those that wish to serve are those for which power is but a burden, yet empower within themselves the ability to lead. Since quotations of famous men are a practice of Mr. Luber in an attempt to compare himself with those of greatness, I offer my favorite quote of Sir Winston Churchill that I have admired in the past.  “The truth is incontrovertible.  Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”  Seek the truth in statements of your political leaders, and those that they subliminally task with perpetuation of their agenda.  To follow blindly is but to repeat the errors of the past.   My thanks to the Planning Commission for their service.  It has been a pleasure serving with you all.



      Camden County Planning & Zoning  

      Donald E. Hathaway, Jr. CFM

      Planning & Zoning, & Floodplain Administrator

  • Controversy continues to explode within Camden County Planning & Zoning as Administrator Don Hathaway tendered his resignation in a dramatic flourish at the end of the regular P&Z meeting Wednesday evening, citing harassment by Associate Commissioner Cliff Luber as the main reason for leaving.
    A standing-room only crowd flowed out of the courthouse's third floor meeting room and into the hallway as planning commissioners heard a full docket March 19, but it was after all the cases were heard and most of the people were gone that internal strife within the county government erupted in a public forum once again.
    Hathaway read a lengthy letter of resignation near the end of a long meeting March 19, following further argument between Luber and Hathaway over the legality of the presentation of proposed changes to the code by Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken that originally arose at the Feb. 19 meeting.
    Near Hathaway sat Franken and some members of the political action committee, Coalition for Better Government.
    Luber meanwhile sat on the opposite side of the room.
    Following Hathaway's speech, planning commission chair Jerry Carroll commented to Hathaway that "We hate to see you go" as some in the room burst into applause. Subsequently, Luber and a few others left the room without comment.
    In his letter, Hathaway said his goal has been to "work with all residents to build a better system of land use control."
    Priorities have included implementation of code revisions, adoption of modern technical specifications that meet the needs of the local community and achieving compliance with regulatory laws of the state and federal governments, according to Hathaway.
    However, he claims that Luber and the "continued harassment of me and my staff" has made realization of those goals impossible.
    Hathaway also stated that "I was informed at the onset of my employment that my position was historically one of debate and controversy. A certain group of folks that did not agree with the implementation of the laws of land use and development, having created an adverse political climate," Hathaway said. "I have weathered the storm of criticism and budget restrictions. But it is impossible to manage a department without proper staff in which to fulfill the needs of the community."
    Hathaway then blasted Luber over what he says have been multiple confrontations instigated by the Associate Commissioner.
    "The task here is difficult enough to ensure consistent code interpretation that is not arbitrary and capricious, without a hostile work environment being created by Commissioner Luber on a regular basis," Hathaway said. "Back handed insults, interrogations and reprimand have been constant."
    Hathaway claimed that "outbursts of aggression" from Luber have been well documented in recent investigations, but "for which there has been no report of findings being produced."
    Page 2 of 3 - Hathaway did not present further details on the documentation or investigation, and further information on the claims are not yet available.
    Hathaway did cite a discussion with Luber that occurred in the days after the last meeting in which he says Luber became argumentative over Hathaway's position on the question over procedure for code revision.
    Hathaway also took exception to Luber's independent issuance of statements to the media on P&Z issues that were "infused with self interpretations of the facts, that shows a total lack of respect for due process and the authority of others."
    He further accused Luber of exceeding jurisdictional authority by attempting to gain control that is reserved for the planning commission.
    "His lack of knowledge in the subject is apparent as he seeks to interpret rules and codes to the selection of his agenda," Hathaway said.
    "The loose use of information gained in discussions with me and others, without all the pertinent facts being disclosed in the rhetoric being perpetuated in the media is a gross miss use of his office. Mr. Luber needs to be very careful how he handles issues with County Employees who are not elected officials," Hathaway added later in the statement.
    While Luber did not make any comment at the meeting, he did speak with the Lake Sun Thursday morning, saying "I'm sorry if he was offended that I was trying to get him to do his job properly. My goal was to make sure citizens were treated properly and that the land use code fits the lake area."
    According to Hathaway, Luber has also made statements online, in broadcasts and in print articles that have been defamatory of the administrator's character, and that Luber and his "followers" have made statements of "slanderous content, without providing any facts in the subject in which they make claim."
    Hathaway claimed that their personal attacks in questioning his sincerity of task have involved his family and residence in Morgan County.
    At a county commission meeting on Thursday morning, planning commissioner Mickey McDuffey made a public statement in support of Hathaway.
    "I make it a practice when I'm out in the community and if anyone tells me that they have had dealings with planning and zoning whether it's permitting, it's a construction of an addition or just having a meeting with Mr. Hathaway and I have never had a negative comment. They always tell me he was very professional and that he was very accommodating to them," she said. "As a commissioner on the planning and zoning commission, for the pieces that have come before us, I have to say that Hathaway bends over backwards to accommodate people. This was not my experience when Chris Hall was the administrator but Hathaway goes out of his way to make the cases work for people. Now, I don't know about the cases that do not come to us, but the cases that do, Mr. Hathaway does an excellent job and it's been my pleasure working with him and serving on the planning and zoning commission."
    Page 3 of 3 - McDuffey did not speak as a representative of the planning commission as a whole but commented on her own. Other planning commissioners have not commented on the situation.
    In accordance with P&Z professional standards, Hathaway gave 30-day notice, but could be released at any time by the county commission. He said he could help provide training for his replacement within that time period.
    In addition to Hathaway's resignation, it was also announced at the meeting that P&Z Inspector Dann Haworth would be retiring, with health issues being referenced. The planning commission itself is also slated for change in the coming months as McDuffey and Norm Buechting wind down their terms on the board and Camden County Road & Bridge Supervisor Rich Pieper announced his retirement as well.
    *Editor’s Note: Lake Sun reporter Spree Hilliard also contributed to this article.
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