Evermore Community Improvement director fired

The embattled board of directors for the Evermore Community Improvement District ousted its executive director in a special called meeting Friday.

The move to fire Brett Harrell comes four days after a Gwinnett County judge ruled a March recall election of two board members aligned with Harrell as legally valid. That ruling shifted the balance of power on the board, which had been deadlocked, 4-4, on issues for the past six months.

Harrell, 48, who was hired in 2003 by the south Gwinnett group of commercial property owners along U.S. 78, said the decision didn't surprise him, and he won't challenge it.

"I'm very proud of my six years of service," Harrell said after the meeting in Snellville. "I'm ready to move on, to move forward."

Harrell, Snellville's former mayor, will receive a severance package of $31,250 from the CID.

But not all board members agreed with Harrell's dismissal.

"I think the CID will be for the worse for Brett's departure," said outgoing board chairman Gary Custar. "I think he would have been able to do good work if it weren't for the obvious friction."

The board also rehired David Stedman in the renamed position of economic development coordinator. Harrell had fired Stedman in December, a move that angered four board members and triggered the recall effort.

"I feel a sense of vindication and recaptured honor," Stedman said. "We lost a lot of momentum over the past six months. I want to regain that momentum."

To replace Harrell, the board hired Jim Brooks as interim executive director. Brooks, the former interim city manager of Snellville, will serve until a new executive director is named, which is expected to happen by December. Both Brooks and Stedman will report to the board.

Forrest Adair, elected board chairman Friday, said it will be business as usual for the CID.

"I know we will see the same result as we go forward," Adair said. "We all have the Evermore CID in our sights."