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Commissioner Barlow defends embattled water system chief

Even as a new report of water system errors was published this week, Fayette County Commissioner David Barlow gave a vigorous defense Aug. 15 of county Water System Director Tony Parrott.

Barlow, speaking from prepared remarks at the end of the commission’s meeting, said he too has “come under vicious attacks.”

“Recently, one of Fayette County’s great leaders, Mr. Tony Parrott, has come under attack,” Barlow said. “When I read the headlines and articles I am taken aback by the unsubstantiated allegations being made against Mr. Tony Parrott, our water system director. ... I cannot and will not allow a politically expediate opportunity take down one of Fayette County’s finest.”

Saying he was speaking for himself and not the other commissioners, Barlow said he would “cast the second stone” against Parrott if the allegations are proven true.

“As one who has come under vicious attacks, I know what it is like to stand firm in one’s convictions when it would seem that everyone else is out to get you,” Barlow said. “In God’s word we are told to ‘put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.’”

Barlow’s defense came a day after The Citizen published details of a scathing report filed by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division that listed 10 drinking water rule violations, 147 deficiencies in the water system and recommended that Parrott and four other employees be investigated for fraud, deception and/or incompetence.

Elsewhere on this website, The Citizen is detailing a report filed Aug. 14 by the county’s special consulting engineer listing a number of operator errors that led to both of the county’s water treatment plants being shut down due to high manganese levels.

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