Cleveland Grimes, the Executive Director of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority, died unexpectedly Tuesday afternoon.
According to media accounts, Grimes collapsed at his home and was rushed to a hospital where he passed away.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said in a statement released by his office on Wednesday that he mourns the loss of “an important member of the community.”
“I am deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Cleveland Grimes,” Mayor Coppinger said in the statement. “Cleveland was an outstanding public servant who worked in one of the most difficult jobs in Hamilton County. A large part of the growth and development of Hamilton County is due to Cleveland’s unwavering dedication to this community and his commitment to always doing the right thing at the WWTA.
“We have lost an important member of the community. I have lost a good friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this extremely difficult time.”
Don Seagle, who was East Ridge’s commissioner on the WWTA for five years, characterized Grimes as a hardworking, honest gentleman, who was a genuine environmentalist. Seagle said Grimes had an immense knowledge of sewer systems and federal and state environmental regulations.
“He will be missed by all who worked with him,” Seagle said in an e-mail. “God bless his family at this sorrowful time.”
Seagle said that some people may not have agreed with all of Grimes’s actions or decisions, but when you got to know the man you appreciated “where he was coming from.”