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Porterdale hires Georgia county manager to lead city government

A former Randolph County manager is Porterdale’s new interim city manager. 

Porterdale City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 11, voted to hire Franklin Etheridge as interim city manager beginning today, Aug. 12.

Etheridge will lead the city government as it works to deal with an ongoing financial crisis in which it is almost $1 million in debt to a variety of utilities and other entities dating to 2018.

Mayor Arline Chpman said Etheridge will work as city manager “for an undetermined period of time until a permanent city manager is appointed.”

“Mr. Etheridge brings with him the history of an extensive and successful career in city and county management and as a ‘fixer,’” Chapman said.

He has served as county manager for Randolph County since 2014. He worked with a $5.4 million budget; managed 25 full-time and part-time employees; and provided financial and personnel support for the county’s constitutional officers, Chapman said.  

He also worked as county manager for Marion County; city manager for both LaFayette and Pembroke; and planning director for Jackson and Habersham counties, according to his LinkedIn page.

“Mr. Etheridge comes to us recommended by GMA — the Georgia Municipal Association.  We welcome him as a partner as we continue to turn the pages to create an even better Porterdale for the people who we serve,” Chapman said.

Etheridge earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from Troy University-Dothan and his undergraduate degree in geography from UGA.  

He succeeds Robert Witcher, who resigned amid ongoing efforts to generate more revenue to deal with the financial problems included cutting city employees’ pay by 20% and selling some city assets. 

Witcher had told council members the city owed money to such agencies as the Newton County Water & Sewerage Authority and the Newton County government which operates the Cornish Creek Water Treatment Plant.

He was named interim city manager in August 2019 after longtime city manager Bob Thomson resigned in the wake of a GBI investigation into possible financial wrongdoing.

However, the investigation found only financial mismanagement and nothing of a criminal nature, Chapman has said.