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Social Circle police chief resigns
Jeff Fuesting

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — Police Chief Jeff Fuesting has resigned, and the City Council voted Friday night not to allow the city manager’s contract to renew automatically.

Mayor David Keener said City Manager Adele Schirmer accepted Fuesting’s resignation Thursday, effective April 19.

The council met in executive session for 3 1/2 hours Friday night and afterward voted not to let Schirmer’s contract renew automatically in October.

Keener said if the council hadn’t taken action before Saturday, the automatic renewal would have gone into effect.

“This does not mean she will not be the city manager after October of this year but does mean that her current contract will expire in October without automatic renewal,” Keener said.

He declined to comment late Friday about his hopes for Schirmer’s future with the city and said he would issue a statement Saturday.

Keener became mayor in January after several years on the City Council, including a council tenure where Schirmer was hired. In fact, he made the motion to hire her in August 2015. She was hired by unanimous vote of the City Council.

She was the lone finalist out of 43 applicants for the job. Schirmer came to Social Circle from Blacksburg, Virginia, where her 26-year career culminated in serving as the director of engineering and geographic information systems.

Schirmer succeeded Ross Hubbard, who was interim city manager for four months after the surprise termination of longtime City Manager Doug White.

Fuesting came to town in October.

Gov. Brian Kemp tapped police Chief Tyrone Oliver, Schirmer’s first big hire after coming to Social Circle, to lead the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.

Sgt. James Pilgrim served as the interim chief, with Fuesting taking the reins Oct. 7. He previously served as the chief of police in Effingham, Illinois.

Pilgrim resigned Nov. 26 amid an investigation into alleged racist comments and shredded documents. After his resignation, Schirmer said she was not aware of “the detail and extent of the inappropriate behavior” until the investigation Fuesting led.