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Skaggs leaves state agriculture department

Ex-Hall Extension agent says resignation was ‘mutual decision’

POSTED: April 5, 2013 5:48 p.m.

Billy Skaggs, a former Hall County Extension agent, abruptly resigned recently as chief operating officer of the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Skaggs’ resignation letter is dated March 30 and was effective immediately. He said the resignation was a “mutual decision.”

Mary Kathryn Yearta, chief communications officer said the resignation involved a personnel investigation, although she later said it was an internal matter that she couldn’t discuss.

Skaggs said he was not part of an investigation and that he doesn’t know what is happening at the department this week since he no longer works there.

Personnel Director Linda Coody declined to comment.

“Commissioner (Gary) Black and I met and mutually agreed upon my resignation,” he said. “He felt like it was best and I agreed.”

Skaggs said the commute from Gainesville to Atlanta and the amount of travel contributed to his decision to leave because of the time he lost with his family.

In his resignation letter obtained by The Times, he thanked Black for the opportunity “and only wish that I could fulfilled my obligation and commitment to you.”

Black appointed Skaggs to the No. 2 spot in the department in January 2011. Yearta said Black was out of the country and unable to comment.

Skaggs oversaw day-to-day operations of more than 500 people in the department’s five outside divisions, including Plant Industry, Animal Industry, Food Safety, Fuel and Measures and Marketing.

Before he worked for the state of Georgia, Skaggs was county extension coordinator and agriculture agent with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in Hall County from 2002 to 2010.

Skaggs currently serves on the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Abit Massey, president emeritus of the Georgia Poultry Federation, said he knows both Skaggs and Black well. He’s known Skaggs for about 20 years and has worked with him both with Hall County and the state.

“I was impressed with his work ethic and the way he handled things,” Massey said. “He was always helpful.”

Skaggs said he is looking for a job.

“Hopefully this will lead to something closer to home,” he said.

Before working as Hall Extension Agent, Skaggs served in similar roles in Fulton and Haralson counties.


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