Longtime Road Manager Ronnie Burns is retiring, and the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors chose a familiar face as his replacement.
Mike Aldridge, who was the former assistant road manager, was hired unanimously Monday morning. He will start May 2 at a salary of $90,000 per year, according to President Trip Hairston.
“(Aldridge) had a long career with the Lowndes County Road Department before he retired last year,” Hairston said. “He can roll right into the position, he knows the roads and he knows the department.”
Aldridge previously worked for the road department for 12 years, three of those as assistant road manager.
“I started out as a crew member and worked my way up to foreman and then to assistant road manager,” he said.
He retired last April 1 but decided to come back.
“I just saw an opportunity there where I could come back and add to some of the things the county has going,” Aldridge said. “I have the knowledge of the county, and I can come in and give more growth to the road department. It’s a demanding job, if you do it right, and I want to do it right if I’m going to do it.”
Aldridge said he thinks his biggest challenge is manpower.
“One of the biggest problems is the labor problem, and how many people we’re going to be able to hire,” he said. “There are several positions that are vacant at this time, and it’s going to be something we have to address as soon as we get in. We have to fill positions to be able to handle the summer work.”
Burns spent roughly 26 years with the road department and about 12 years as road manager, also working his way up to the top from being a crewman. He said May 15 is his last day.
“I’m just kind of ready to go,” he said. “I had COVID real bad last year, and I decided I wanted to spend time with my grandson and there were different things I wanted to do for myself.”
Burns said he is proud of the changes he’s made in the road department, especially the buildings for county equipment and the wide range of activities the department supports.
“I built buildings everywhere to put the equipment under, (and) we’ve got places for the equipment when it rains,” Burns said. “We help with everything from the soccer complex to parks and rec, and we work with Artesia, Crawford and Caledonia all we can.”
Burns said he’s enjoyed his time with Lowndes County.
“I’ve enjoyed the whole thing, and I’m not leaving because I’m upset or anything,” he said. “I just want to go home and do some things I want to do.”