The end of an era of Newton County government is quickly approaching.
On Aug. 31, veteran County Manager John Middleton will retire. He’s held the position for 14 years, serving 16 different commissioners and four commission chairmen.
But on Tuesday, as staff members gathered to celebrate his retirement with cake and a party, Middleton simply, modestly, wouldn’t talk about himself and his accomplishments.
“As a manager, I believe the most important accomplishments in any organization are made by the people you work with,” he said. “Our department managers and employees do a great job of serving the people of Newton County every single day, never failing to recognize the importance of responsible local government, the power of teamwork, and demonstrating respect and honesty.”
Replacing Middleton will be assistant county manager Tom Garrett, whom Middleton has groomed for the position for months.
Garrett described Middleton like this: “Great, fatherly, a good worker, helped me a lot, gave me historical perspective on a lot of issues we deal with, shared a lot of his wisdom. I wish I could have gotten more. He was very good.”
Board of Commissioners Chairman Keith Ellis said, “I wish John an enjoyable, well deserved retirement after a distinguished career.”
Commissioner Levie Maddox credited Middleton with more than just professionalism. He thanked him personally, as well.
“John has been the voice of experience for me personally in the last two years,” Maddox said at Middleton’s retirement party. “He was answering my questions even during (my) campaign. During the budget discussions, his has been the voice. He’s definitely going to be missed.
“Even more important than his experience, I’ve just found him to be a good man.”
Garrett will assume full-time manager duties after the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday night.