Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell is recovering from an open-heart surgery he underwent in May. Last week, he was back at his office for several hours for the first time after the operation.
“I had the surgery May 20,” Cordell said, adding the seriousness of his condition had come as a surprise for him.
Cordell had a doctor’s appointment on May 15, and during the checkup, the doctor discovered Cordell had four blockages.
“I had no chest pains, nothing… and the next thing I knew I was going to the hospital,” he said. “I did not see that coming…your world can change so quickly.”
His experience at the hospital reminded Cordell of the essential role employees in the medical field have. Cordell has an utmost respect for first responders and medical professionals, he said.
“They are really great,” he said.
While he still feels tired, he is much better now, he said.
Cordell started cardiac rehabilitation last week.
“I am glad to get that started,” Cordell said. “I can’t wait to get back into the world and get in the office. I am going to ease back into that. I am trying to take two or three hours a day easing back in.”
He thanked county administrators for the support.
“I have missed our team,” he said. “I’ve missed the people.”
“I am so thankful to Roxanne (Patton) and Sandra (Bennet) for the way they covered this office,” he said. “They went right on and they covered it so well. They did a great job.”
He also expressed appreciation to Commissioner Jackie Duncan, who served as pro-tem chairman at the Coffee County Commission’s meetings in June.
Cordell is looking forward to returning to his office and working side by side with his colleagues.
He expressed satisfaction that the budget for 2020 fiscal year was approved without a tax increase.
“I am glad we passed the budget,” he said. “That’s the fifth year we have gone without a property tax increase.”
County officials are looking for various sources of revenues, he added.
“We are working right now on a Tri-Star award, which helps us get some grants,” he said.
Census 2020 is also underway.
“We are starting to work on our census,” he said. “That’s a big thing we’ve got to have done this year. Every ten years, that’s required by law. Primarily, it’s the mayor’s office responsibility to have that done. We have a team in place now that has started the process. It’s going to take over a year to get that done.”
The county is also working on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transition plan.
“By federal law, we have to have the plan in place by the end of the year, so we’re working on that,” Cordell said. “We have to make sure we have ramps for people with disabilities. We have to make sure we are compliant with federal law, and we have a lot of work to do on that. Our codes director (Kirt Gray) is working on that. We have set aside several thousand dollars to do that. We just don’t know yet what upgrades we are going to have to do, but we are studying that right now.”