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UPDATED: City Planning Director Abruptly Resigns

Harmit Bedi submitted his resignation to the city of Snellville Thursday, August 4. An interim director has been named.

UPDATED: 4:30 p.m., August 5, 2011

Harmit Bedi, Snellville's planning director since 2008, has resigned from his position effective immediately.

City Manager Russell Treadway confirmed the resignation Friday, August 5. No reason for Bedi's departure was given.

"We have very capable and dedicated employees in the planning department, and they will continue to provide exceptional service," Treadway said.

Bedi, who made about $70,000 a year, had been with the city for the past three years after being hired following a three-month search. Before Snellville, Bedi worked with the city of Sandy Springs in the community development department.

Bedi, who holds a master's degree in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh, had helped Snellville increase its planning and development efforts in the city. In his tenure, there have been a number of projects, including the new city police department, that have been completed or started.

Treadway said Friday that there is no immediate timeline for replacing Bedi. Jon Davis, former vice president of planning firm Jordan Jones & Goulding (JJG), has been named the interim director. JJG, recently acquired by Jacobs Engineering Group, completed the city's comprehensive plan, town center overlay plans and the original town center study.

"I am saddened by the departure of Snellville's Planning Director, Harmit Bedi," Councilwoman Kelly Kautz said. "Mr. Bedi's hard work has attracted businesses such as McDonald's, Sports Academy, Olive Garden, and Verizon Wireless to Snellville.

"I truly believe that his departure at the beginning of this election season was driven by the actions of my fellow council members and the fact that Mr. Bedi was not a member of their "clique."

"I find it questionable that Mr. Bedi's replacement was a member of the Town Center consulting team."

Although Davis did play a part of some town center plans, Treadway said that he was not part of the final master plan recently completed by Clark Patterson Lee.

In spite of the changes, Treadway said that the city will continue moving forward with planning development.

"This will also give us a chance to reassess (our) processes and procedures as we move forward with the development/re-development in our Towne Center," he said. "We will also take a fresh look at our zoning ordinance and development regulations to make sure they are workable in today’s economic environment."

Jackie O. Ginn August 05, 2011 at 06:31 PM
I find this to be a truly sad departure. Having been a member of the City of Snellville's Planning Commission for a little over a year, and having worked with Mr. Bedi in that capacity, I have always found him to be the consummate professional. He has always been very thorough in his work on each case brought before the Commission, an excellent communicator, pleasant and extremely helpful. I, for one, would gladly welcome Mr. Bedi back to our City should he have a change of heart. Planning Commissioner Jackie O. Ginn
Tom Witts August 06, 2011 at 04:37 AM
I am personally offended by Ms Kautz's comment and challenge the council woman to produce one shred of evidence to support her ridiculous accusation that ANY member of Council was implicit in Mr Bedi's "resignation." It is just not true and she knows it.. But Ms Kautz never lets the truth stand in the way of a good sound bite. Snellville deserves better than this. Tom Witts Snellville City Council
Darla Dixon August 06, 2011 at 01:38 PM
I will second Tom Witts' evaluation of the situation. Ms. Kautz lives in a soap opera world of drama and vixens trying to stir up trouble where there isn't any. Stop the drama for the good of Snellville! I think the article was better and valid before you edited it to add Ms. Kautz's acerbic comments.
Darla Dixon August 06, 2011 at 01:39 PM
Sorry, I forgot the reason why the comments were good to add. They bring more drama and therefore more clicks to this site.
Michelle Couch August 06, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Mr. Bedi was truly an asset to the City of Snellville, the residents, and the businesses - both existing and those considering to locate here. I am very sorry to hear of his resignation; very sorry indeed. I wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors; any municipality will be lucky to have him. I don't feel that the upcoming election has anything to do with his resignation. To the public eye, it didn't appear that Mr. Bedi involved himself in the politics of the city, nor allow it to interfere with his job. He usually sat alone at council meetings, attended Snellville Commerce Club and city event, and was always cordial. He seemed a very gracious gentleman to all. Best wishes Mr. Bedi and thank you for all that you have done for our great city!
Michelle Couch August 06, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Darla, you are too funny! I did get your text the other day - sorry I didn't get back with you. Just what we needed right :) Another ad *#$
Dave Emanuel August 06, 2011 at 05:53 PM
As a member of the Snellville Planning Commission, I have worked with Mr. Bedi on many occasions, and have a great deal of respect and appreciation for the thoroughness and dedication with which he did his job. I am saddened to see him leave and wish him all the best. I am also saddened by the comments made by Council member Kautz. She has trampled on an unfortunate situation, making it a platform from which to spout unfounded accusations against her fellow council members. It is unfortunate for the citizens of Snellville that a council member either doesn't know, or doesn't care about the facts concerning the manner in which the city does business. The decision to fire an employee rests solely with the city manager. Although he may consult with the council, he does not need to seek its approval. It is preposterous to think that council members Bender, Sabbagh, Warner and Witts, along with Mayor Oberholtzer (the "clique" members) would get together and arbitrarily demand that the city manager fire an employee. In addition to lacking foundation, Kautz's accusations also defy logic. There is no political gain to be had from the firing of an employee who was well-liked throughout the community. As stated above "Snellville deserves better".
Jeff August 07, 2011 at 01:47 AM
Has anybody asked him why he resigned?
Rita Sabbagh August 07, 2011 at 03:24 PM
I am in Support of bringing Harmit Back and ask that the regination letter be recinded now. We have too much on our plate to leave un tackeled, as with Walmart , new Olive Garden, McDonalds and others. Mike Sabbagh, city council member (my husband) is in in full support of bringing Harmit back to the city. Mr. Treadway, I speak for my self and ask that you reconsider rejecting the resignation memo. From what I heard, his resignation should not been accepted. I ask that you reconsider this and ask him back. Rita Sabbagh

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