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Chamber of Commerce honors retiring Cumming, Forsyth members at annual banquet
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Forsyth County has always honored those who serve, and the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 annual dinner Friday evening was no different.

Instead of giving awards to businessmen and women who helped develop the county, the dinner recognized retiring county officials.

Three city of Cumming officials were honored, along with two Board of Commissioners members.

The men honored were Councilmen John Pugh and Ralph Perry, Assistant City Administrator Steve Bennett, District 5 Commissioner Jim Boff and District 2 Commissioner Brian Tam.

Both Boff and Tam’s seats are uncontested in the Nov. 8 general election, and the councilmen’s seats were filled last year.

District 5 Councilman Pugh served the city for nearly 37 years, 24 of those on the council.

Perry represented Post 2 since 1978.

Bennett, who could not attend the event due to a trip with his grandchildren, worked for the city for 41 years.

“For everyone who supported me and those who did not, I want to thank you,” Boff said. “I did the best I could. I would like to thank the current Board of Commissioners, who has been wonderful. I spoke to the chairman earlier, and we both agreed there were certain items we did not agree on, but generally speaking, we have a lot of things in common.”

Boff stressed what is more important is how well he feels the county has been managed.

“I believe the county, as it goes on, is in very good shape,” he said. “It will continue to thrive. I’ve always maintained that Forsyth County, from the past to the present, has been very well-managed, and I think that continues today.”

He also thanked critics of the board.

“They are also — not always right — but their criticism causes the board to reflect stronger on their decisions,” he said. “I know it did on mine. And [often,] it helped us work out something that was more inclusive of the general citizenry.”

Boff was elected to the BOC in 2008; Tam in 2004.

Forsyth County Manager Doug Derrer, who recently announced his retirement, was not honored at Friday’s event.

Rather, James McCoy, the Chamber’s CEO and president, said he will be honored next year and proceeded to paraphrase the texts Derrer sent to him.

“I left him a voicemail and I said, ‘Doug, we’d like to honor you at the dinner,’” McCoy said. “The message he sent back to me is basically, ‘James, I’m more honored than I can say, unfortunately Chrissy and I have a commitment that I cannot change. The thought of you delivering a presentation to honor me without me there and what you might say scares the living hell out of me. Please let everyone know that I am sorry I can’t be there, however I hope we can do this at the same time next year.’

“So, with that in mind, we will be honoring our county manager, who has done a phenomenal job for many years, at our annual dinner next year.”