January 17, 2019

Executive Director Retires from HCWA

(Franklin) — Citing health reasons, Jimmy Knight took an early retirement recently from his position as Executive Director of the Heard County Water Authority.

Knight has served as the HCWA Director since 2006. He had already planned to retire in November of this year, but decided to do so early after complications from recent back surgery prolonged his recovery time.

Mr. Jimmy Knight

Mr. Jimmy Knight

“I do not think it is fair to the Heard County Water Authority not to have a full-time Executive Director,” Knight said.

He began his career in water and wastewater management in 1977 with the City of Dawson. Knight also spent time with the City of Camilla, Eco Tech, the Albany Water, Gas, and Light Commission, and the Georgia Water and Wastewater Institute.

According to Knight, his position with the HCWA was one of the more challenging of his career because of the small population of the county.

“Heard County was more of a challenge because of the small number of customers and the miles of distribution system,” he said.

“During my time in Albany, there were 33,000 customers. If revenues needed to be increased it was much easier. A small increase of $2.00 per month for each customer equated to about $900,000.00 more per year. HCWA only has about 2,880 customers, and every water system must meet the same rules and regulations, regardless of number of customers.”

Despite his early retirement, Knight plans to continue to serve in his role as GWWI Board Chair on the Georgia Association of Water Professionals Board of Directors.

He also served in other leadership positions during his tenure including Board Member of the Georgia Rural Water Association, Chairman of the American Water Works, President of the GAWP, and Vice Chairman of the Georgia Division of the American Back-flow Prevention Board.

While Knight is proud of his time with Heard County and thankful for the many good friends he has made along the way, he does confess to being disappointed in one particular area.

“My biggest disappointment during my time with HCWA was my inability to convince the Heard County Commission of the importance of a dependable water supply (reservoir). I wish we could have obtained SPLOST funds to complete a much-needed reservoir.”

Knight plans to take it easy in his retirement although he is currently still undergoing therapy six days per week.

“I plan to fish more, work less, and spend as much time as possible with my five grandchildren,” stated Knight.

Charles Pearce, a former member of the Heard County Water Authority and retired from Georgia Power Plant Wansley, will serve as interim director until the position can be filled.

About HCWA

An act of the Georgia General Assembly created the Franklin-Heard County Water Authority on February 6, 1984.

This act was amended to change the name of the Authority to the Heard County Water Authority and approved on March 22, 1989.

The Heard County Water Authority is not a department of the Heard County but an independent authority.

The five person Board is comprised of two members appointed by the City of Franklin, two appointed by the Heard County Board of Commissioners, and one member is elected by the four current HCWA Board members. The Board serves for four years and the terms are staggered. 

The reason behind utility authorities being created by the State of Georgia Legislature was to keep local politics out of the decision-making process for rates and other matter with regard to the operation of a utility.



  1. Brenda Poole says:

    It’s shameful for Franklin/Heard County to lose qualified people in key positions but, what’s more detrimental is the lack of potentials Heard County can benefit as the result of Professionals. Mr. Knight will be truly missed as Executive of Heard County Water Authority, however, it’s always going to be a no win situation when it come to having a sufficient water resovior.

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