Though Newton County’s next county manager is set to take over later this year, the Board of Commissioners is still planning to review its organizational chart and charter.
The board will review and discuss the county’s charter and current organizational chart at a 6 p.m. work session Feb. 18, to be led by Dave Wills, a local government expert for the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG).
Commissioner Nancy Schulz said Friday the work session is needed because there are inconsistencies between the charter, organizational chart and some job descriptions in the county.
Following County Manager John Middleton’s Jan. 7 announcement he would retire in late 2014, Schulz made a motion to bring in Wills for two February work session to look at all possible government types the county could choose before selecting the next county manager.
However, at the board’s next meeting, Jan. 21, commissioners voted 4-1 following an executive session to appoint Transportation Director Tom Garrett as assistant county manager and have him begin working with Middleton and to eventually take over the county manager role.
Newton County did not have a county manager until November 2011, when Middleton was promoted from administrative officer. The move also removed authority from the county chairman’s position, which was met with mixed reaction by commissioners and the public; some residents felt the move should not have been made without a public vote.
Prior to Newton County’s move to a county manager form of government, the county manager and chairman jointly oversaw some departments; after the change, the county manager oversaw all departments, while the chairman was only placed in charge of roads and bridges, a responsibility stated in the county charter.
According to ACCG’s December 2013 list of forms of government, Newton and Cobb are the only two Georgia counties that have both a full-time manager and a full-time chairman.
Douglas, Gwinnett, Houston, Oconee and Paulding counties all have a full-time chairman and a full-time county administrator. Bartow County has a sole, full-time commissioner and a full-time county administrator.
Macon-Bibb, Columbus-Muscogee and Augusta-Richmond, three of the state’s consolidated governments, all have full-time mayors and full-time managers.
As for the rest of Georgia’s 159 counties:
• 19 have a full-time chairman and no manager or administrator;
• 8 have a full-time sole commissioner and no manager or administrator;
• 57 have a part-time chairman and full-time administrator (Athens-Clarke consolidated government has a part-time mayor);
• 53 have a part-time chairman and a full-time manager;
• 10 have a part-time chairman and no manager or administrator;
DeKalb County has an elected CEO who is part-time, but is also the top administrative officer.