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Chief says city asked him to leave
Burgess to lead force in interim
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Forsyth County News

Mike Eason explained his decision to step down last week as Cumming police chief, saying he was asked to resign.

"It was a nice ride, but I got off," Eason said.

"The life of a chief in Georgia is an average of two years or less and I was here almost four and they just decided they wanted a new chief. So I said, 'OK, I'm out of here.'"

Cumming Mayor Ford Gravitt confirmed Eason resigned, but said the chief's letter gave "no reason, just a resignation."

Police Investigator Scott Burgess will serve as director of the department until a new chief is named, a search Gravitt said could take months.

Eason said City Administrator Gerald Blackburn approached him last week on behalf of the city council and asked him to leave the post.

He said Blackburn told him city leaders were "concerned and thought [his] resignation would be appropriate so [he] said OK and submitted [his] resignation."

Eason explained he didn't think there was any point in working a two-week notice.

"When they don't want you, why stay?" he said.

Blackburn offered a different account, saying Eason came to him Wednesday.

"When we met, he just gave me his resignation," Blackburn said. "We had some conversation, but nobody fired him."

Blackburn said the city wishes Eason well.

"The city made the statement that they appreciated the time he had spent with the city and the work that he had done with the police department and wished him and his wife well," he said.

Blackburn said "somebody" may have encouraged Eason to leave, but that was not part of the conversation he had with the chief.

Eason, a longtime county resident, became chief shortly after retiring from the GBI in 2002.

The 15-officer police department manages a full-time emergency dispatch center and a jail that houses detainees on city offenses.

Cumming police also provide municipal court administration, regulate all businesses in the city that serve alcohol and issue permits for vehicles-for-hire, or taxis.

Eason said he was proud of the work he did while at the department.

"It's a good department," he said. "It's got good people and whoever comes after me will probably have an easier job than I did. They'll make changes and they'll make it better I hope."