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Sanders stepping down

After 16 years of service in the office, County Administrator Harry Sanders announced Monday that he is retiring in March.

Sanders announced his retirement at the meeting of the Pike County Commission Monday night.

“It’s been a pleasure to serve with the people of Pike County,” Sanders said. “I appreciate the opportunity to have worked here and with the county commission staff beyond anything.”

Sanders joined the county staff in 2002 after spending approximately 20 years in the private sector with Sony in Dothan.

“In 1999 or 2000, they began to downsize,” Sanders said. “I saw the county administrator job open and I was interested. I was born and raised here and relatives had served in different public offices here. I checked into the qualifications and it seems to have worked out OK.”

Sanders said the thing he will miss most is the people that he has been able to work with in his years in the office.

“Pike County is home to me,” Sanders said. “It has always been an honor to work in the place I grew up and to try to help the people I care a great deal about. I just wanted to make a small difference in saying we made it better to live here.”

Commissioners playfully told Sanders they were going to vote no on his retirement.

“Another county administrator thought he was going to retire too and then he kept getting called by commissioners for help,” said Charlie Harris, District 5. “We’re going to still be asking you for help sometimes too.”

Harris, who was on the commission when Sanders was hired in 2000, said Sanders has done an admirable job while in office.

“I enjoyed working with Harry,” Harris said. “He’s been faithful to the county ever since he’s been here. He’s done a great job. I respect him and he respects the county commission. I hate to see him leave.”

Homer Wright, District 1, said it will be hard to watch Sanders leave. “I hate to see him go,” Wright said. “The last 15 years I’ve worked for him he has been a fantastic employee … but he deserves to go and try to enjoy life for a while.”

Chairman Robin Sullivan agreed with Wright’s sentiment. “I totally hate to see that happen, but I’m also glad that he gets to move on at this stage of his life,” Sullivan said. “We wish him only the best.”

Jimmy Barron, District 3, has served with Sanders for 14 years. “He’s been an outstanding administrator,” Barron said. “He’s done a great job and I consider him as a friend.”

Russell Oliver, county engineer, said Sanders is a tremendous man and a great friend. “He is a very good person and has meant a tremendous amount to me over the years as I’ve tried to do my job,” Oliver said. “He’s done a lot in the public eye and much more behind the scenes that people don’t even realize that has been a tremendous benefit to Pike County and its citizens.”

Now that Sanders is retiring, he says he plans to spend more time with family and travelling.

“Our children live some distance away,” Sanders said. “So we plan on spending more time with them and our grandchildren, travelling and just enjoying being together and being with family.”