Henry County taps first Black general manager of water authority

Tony Carnell will become the first Black general manager of the Henry County Water Authority next year.

In a Wednesday announcement, the authority said Lindy Farmer, its leader for the past 40 years, plans to retire at the end of the year and will be replaced by Tony Carnell. Carnell, the authority’s deputy manager, will take reins as the organization Jan. 1 and become its first Black leader.

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work for this authority for 27 years now, and for the opportunity that Mr. Farmer provided me to be his deputy manager for the past seven years, Carnell said.

“His mentorship and support have been instrumental in preparing me to take this next step in my career and among the leadership of the authority,” Carnell said of Farmer. “He will truly be missed by our staff and the community at large.”

Farmer is the longest tenured chief executive in the state of Georgia’s water industry, the county said. He joined the HCWA as general manager in 1982 and is a Life Member of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals.

In 2018 he was inducted into Life Membership of the American Water Works Association. Under Farmer’s leadership, the authority has won numerous facility and system awards, including this year’s GAWWA Plant of the Year Award for the Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant, the authority said.

“I’m very proud to have been a part of so many accomplishments and to have provided a steady hand during my 40 years leading this authority while we built something special – from a small rural system that had a dozen or so employees when I started, to a model water utility in the state and region, with some of the best employees in the industry,” Farmer said.