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Golden departing, Merrett new director

By Michael Butler

Rick Golden is leaving the Tallassee Parks and Recreation Department after 13 years, 12 as director.

"I got an opportunity to serve as a captain with the Pike Road Fire Protection Agency," Golden said. "It was a good move for me, both financially and it's something I love to do. After a lot of prayer and thinking about it, I decided to take that job."

Golden will be working with Matt Missildine, who is chief at Pike Road and a former chief in Tallassee.

"I've dedicated a little over 15 years here in the fire department with Tallassee," Goldend added. "I'll still be with Tallassee and serve here."

As for leaving the recreation department, the decision was not easy.

"They're like family," he said. "Tammy Merrett and Margaret McLeod have been with me since the (beginning). That weighed heavy on my decision. I felt loyalty. I know they're going to do well. I was really hoping Tammy would have an opportunity to take it over."

Merrett will assume the duties for Golden beginning immediately. She has served for more than 10 years as programs coordinator. With the transition, that position is now open.

"Now I have to hire me," Merrett said. "It's like a secretary and sports person combined. I want to create new programs, not necessarily sports. I want to hire somebody that's going to have that talent and creativity to do something more."

Golden and Merrett

Merrett is exicited about her new role but sees the challenges ahead.

"I am ready to take it on, but am nervous. I know budget constraints are number one. When the mayor and I met, he was like 'budget, budget, budget.' We have to be good stewards of the tax payers' money."

Golden is confident that the department will continue in the right direction.

"After working with Tammy, I know what kind of person she is. (She) and Margaret are both outstanding people. I know it's going to be left in good hands. I had somebody say, 'Rick, you left it better than you found it.' That's what I tried to do. None of it could've been done without everybody that works with you."