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Porterdale OK's Sherrill as interim city manager

PORTERDALE — The City Council voted 3-2 Monday night to authorize Mayor Bobby Hamby to sign a contract naming engineer Frank Sherrill interim city manager.

Based on the terms of the contract, Sherrill's firm, Hightower Consulting Engineers in Social Circle, will provide part-time management services for Porterdale for three months at a flat rate of $5,000 per month.

The city is in the process of hiring a new full-time city manager following the resignation of Tom Fox, who worked for the city for 13 years. Fox, whose last day is Friday, has been named public safety director for Social Circle.

Council members Mike Harper and Linda Finger opposed the initial vote last week, authorizing Hamby to negotiate a contract with Sherrill's firm and the motion Monday night authorizing Hamby to sign the contract.

Harper and Finger both said they are concerned about the amount of money being paid under the contract and felt the duties could have been handled more economically in-house.

"I feel like $15,000 is too much money for a part-time interim city manager," Harper said. "I know for a fact we could have gotten it cheaper with somebody in-house, somebody who could have kept the city afloat until we could hire a full-time manager. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Sherrill ... I just have to look after what I think is the best interest of the city, and I don't think it was in our best interest to do this."

Finger said she also felt the job could have been handled at a more economical cost.

Harper said he and Finger had looked at another possible scenario of putting part-time code enforcement officer Monty Hill in the interim city manager position and increasing his hours to full-time. Harper said Hill could have assumed the city manager responsibilities in conjunction with code enforcement. Hill had already taken over some responsibilities from Fox, Harper added, and knows the "ins and outs" of City Hall.

"I felt Monty would have done a good job and saved us some money," Finger said.

Both Finger and Harper said they respect Sherrill's qualifications and anticipate a good working relationship with him during the interim period.

Sherrill is former president of the Georgia Municipal Association and served as mayor of Social Circle from 1979 to 1997. He served on the Georgia Environmental Advisory Council, on the National League of Cities Environmental Steering Committee, the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia, and the Northeast Georgia Police Academy Advisory Board. Sherrill holds a bachelor of civil engineering degree from Georgia Tech and a master's of business administration from Georgia State University. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and worked for Southern Engineering Company of Georgia.