TIFTON -- Daughtry Melton announced Monday that he will vacate his District 2 seat on the Tift County Board of Commission to run for the chairmanship. Chairman Buddy Bryan announced recently that he won't seek re-election to that post this year.

Vacating the post he has held since 1993 is not a frightening proposition, Melton said.

"My record and my reputation speak for itself," Melton said. "People can look at that and see what I have accomplished."

Melton owns and operates Southview Mortuary, Inc. He said his nephew will be graduating soon and will be able to assist in the day-to-day operation of the business. He believes he will have the time to devote to the job if voters elect him.

Melton said he wants to continue to focus on economic development but believes viewing Tifton as more of a regional center is necessary.

"We are headed in the right direction and doing the right things and we want to put this in a regional perspective," Melton said. "If Berrien or Cook gets a plant, Tifton benefits as well.

"People travel back and forth and live and work in different counties."

His vote not to hire Bill Park as county manager was only a matter of disagreement with aspects of his contract, Melton said, and nothing personal.

"I think he (Park) will be an asset," Melton said. "I have had a number of conversations with him and he seems to be a swell guy. It will be business, business, business."

Melton said he believed Park would be strong enough to "streamline the budget and make people justify their existence."

"People (county employees) will have to be accountable," Melton said.

Melton said he was not only interested in consolidation of county and city governments in areas that would prove to save money for taxpayers, but building "a consolidated community."

"I am going to work hard to eliminate as much waste as possible and for us to be more productive," Melton said. "I want to do what is right and fair to the citizens of Tifton and Tift County. I have always looked at all of Tift County as a whole."

Melton said he would like to see a "shop-at-home" philosophy of purchasing implemented in county government.

"I want to give this community a chance to have a shot at what we are bidding on, whether it's tractors, lawnmowers, whatever," Melton said. "Charity starts at home."

Melton said he supported searching "in house" for people qualified to fill vacant positions.

The chairman of the Tift County Board of Commissioners formally votes only in a case of a tie. The chairman is elected at large to fill the District 7 seat. The position is voted on by all residents of Tift County.

"I am thinking a chairman should be strong and do the will of the board," Melton said. "That person needs to be effective by steering and guiding and talking and working well with the commissioners.

"The chairman doesn't rule the governing body."

To contact reporter Angie Thompson, call 382-4321, ext. 208.

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