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Newton County finance director resigns
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Michelle Kelly has resigned as Newton County’s Director of Finance.

In her resignation letter, dated Friday, Sept. 30, Kelly said "due to disappointing and unexpected circumstances beyond my control, I am tendering my resignation from the position of Finance Director effective immediately.”

Newton County Manager Lloyd Kerr said Chief Accounting Officer Nicole Cross will be the county’s interim director of finance. 

As part of Kelly's resignation, the county provided her with a 90-day severance package, which includes salary and medical insurance, according to a county official.

Kerr and Newton County Chair Keith Ellis both said they wish Kelly well and that she was not fired from her position. Kelly, however, in her resignation letter, said not everyone was happy with her performance.

“I would have appreciated the opportunity to discuss your displeasure with my performance considering I was unaware of it until yesterday (Sept. 29),” Kelly said, but believe that there are better days for me ahead.”

While with Newton County, Kelly directed the financial operations of the county and its $65 million budget. The county has had financial struggles as of late and recently attempted to pass a motion for financial accountability. That motion failed 3-2 Tuesday. In her resignation, Kelly said she had provided several suggestions for financial improvements within the county.
“As part of the management team we provided several suggestions to the Board that would have been a great financial benefit to the county, if they had been put into effect,” she said.

Kelly started with Newton County in October 2010, following a five-year stint as deputy controller in Beaufort County.
“My main goal while employed by Newton County was to leave it better than I found it, and I believe I succeeded in doing so,” Kelly said in her resignation letter, obtained by The News.

According to Kelly, the county was able to refinance 2003 and 2006 Community Oriented Policing Services, reduce debt load, saving money, and implement a new financial system and new attendance system while she served as director of finance.