The Porterdale City Council authorized Mayor Bobby Hamby to sign a contract for a new city manager at a special called meeting Wednesday evening.
Bob Thomson, currently serving as city manager of Thunderbolt, will assume city manager duties in Porterdale June 1. He has worked in municipal government for 20 years serving as city manager of Thunderbolt, Power Springs, Smyrna and Tybee Island and as city administrator of Tybee Island and county administrator of Oconee County.
He received his undergraduate degree from Wofford College and his MPA from the University of Tennessee. He and his wife, Dr. Dori Stiles, who owns a career coaching and consulting business, have a blended family with four adult children.
"Bob was chosen out of 35 applicants for his education, his experience in city management, and his experience with tourism and preservation," Hamby said. "The council and I are excited to have Bob working for Porterdale. I believe we will prosper with Bob’s help."
Thomson’s arrival will come on the heels of the departure of Interim City Manager Frank Sherrill. Sherrill signed a contract with Porterdale in early February after the city manager, city clerk and downtown manager had all resigned. Like Thomson, Sherrill had years of experience in public administration serving as mayor of Social Circle for 17 years, president of the Georgia Municipal Association and various zoning boards, development authorities and planning councils.
"In a very short time Frank has helped with the selection of a new city clerk and instituted changes in our financial reports and other administrative procedures. He also has met with department heads weekly and has kept the city council informed of all matters.
"Frank has taken an interim position and worked it as if it were his life long job."
Hamby said the council members would miss Sherrill but felt they could call on him if the need arises.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed being with you for these four months and I am confident you’ll be in good hands," Sherrill said.
During his short time serving Porterdale, Sherrill helped the council select a new city clerk after Lynn Rodriguez resigned early this year to stay home with her two small children.
The council selected Judy Johnson, who began her tenure as Porterdale’s city clerk on March 16. She came to the town with previous city management experience having worked as a zoning administrator for the Newton County Planning and Development Department for almost five years.
"Judy also came at a difficult time and within days had settled in as if she had been part of the city for years," Hamby said. "She has reorganized the filing and book keeping systems and is an energetic and dedicated employee — well liked by all.
"Judy is doing a wonderful job and we are delighted to have her as part of the city family."
Porterdale will hold a work session at 6:30 p.m. May 27 and a regular meeting at the same time on June 7. Both meetings will be held at city hall.