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Jones wins praise, ribbing upon retirement from HCSA / July 01, 2013
Toasting and roasting — all at the expense of Willie Jones, who retired Friday as executive director — was on the agenda for the Halifax County Service Authority at directors’ meeting this week.

“Willie’s only concern was with getting the job done. He took three systems — from the Towns of South Boston and Halifax and Halifax County — and made them into a workable organization,” said Coleman Speece, vice chairman of the HCSA, during a retirement reception held at the Authority public meeting room on Thursday afternoon.

“We had no road map to go by in establishing the Authority, but we were blessed to have someone like Willie with an understanding of our community and what needed to be done,” said board chairman Dexter Gilliam.

Finance Chairman Stewart Nelson chimed in with a summation of Jones’ work on behalf of the Authority, saying his “integrity and stewardship” produced successful leadership.

Doug Bowman, first chairman of the new Authority, presented Jones with a framed resolution of appreciation from the Halifax County Board of Supervisors for his work in merging the three systems.

“We had things coming at us from all directions, and Willie was able to steer us through the problems,” Bowman reflected.

Halifax Mayor Dick Moore also had warm words for Jones, thanking him for taking care of most of the town’s water/sewer problems and with meeting with Town Council to explain what was being done to help Halifax residents with their water problems.

Fred Mistal, who works with the new South Boston Energy Plant, added that Jones had done an excellent job on finalizing the Authority’s contract to supply gray water to the NOVEC project.

But the roasting had to come, and Halifax Town Manager Carl Espy did the honors — unveiling several water samples that residents have brought to Town Council, complaining of discoloration and smell with their water.

Espy then handed Jones one bottle of slightly discolored water, while he himself drank from a bottle of very dark colored liquid, which he said dated back several years.

The audience laughed loudly at the display as Jones just shook his head, laughing.

Also roasting Jones was South Boston Leigh Street Water Plant operator Mark Wilkerson, who needled Jones on what he can expect with life in retirement. “You’ll just work harder than ever and at the end of the day there’s no pay,” Wilkerson advised.

Jones responded to Wilkerson: “I understand that you plan to retire at the end of December, so you’ll see for yourself how it is.”

On a more serious note, Jones thanked the community for its support in establishing the Authority. “This community had a vision,” he said, “and many of you worked on it. I leave you hoping you will keep that vision and continue to work toward it.”

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