Porterdale OKs interim city manager

PORTERDALE -- Frank Sherrill, an engineer and former president of the Georgia Municipal Association, was selected to serve as interim city manager by the City Council following a closed session for personnel Tuesday night.

The council interviewed three candidates for the interim position, including Porterdale Police Chief Wayne Digby and part-time city code enforcement officer Monty Hill, before voting to enter into contract negotiations with Sherrill.

Councilman Robert Foxworth made the motion to have Mayor Bobby Hamby negotiate a contract with Sherrill for a three-month interim period, and the motion was seconded by Councilwoman Arline Chapman. Foxworth, Chapman and Councilman Lowell Chambers voted in favor of the motion, with Councilmembers Linda Finger and Mike Harper opposed.

Foxworth said Sherrill's long list of qualifications and experience will bring a lot to the city.

"He's got a resume that will turn your head," Foxworth said Wednesday.

Sherrill served 18 years as mayor of Social Circle, from 1979 to 1997, and is president of Hightower Consulting Engineers in Social Circle. 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.

Mayor Hamby said if the negotiations can be completed in time, the city will vote on the contract at the council's regular meeting Monday night at City Hall.

Hamby said he anticipates Sherrill will be able to bring a fresh perspective to operations of the city and advise the council if he sees opportunity for change.

"We can have him make sure we are up to date on all the reports and everything that has to be done and taken care of," Hamby said Wednesday. "I hope he can look at our city from an outside view and see if there are ways we might do things more efficiently and see if we can improve a little on how we are doing things."

Sherrill said his mission in Porterdale is two-fold.

"No. 1, I'll try to keep things going for them. They've got some issues to deal with, and they know what they are," Sherrill said of the city. "And I'll use my gray hair and experience in local government and look at where they are in light of where they need to be and make suggestions about things they could do to maybe take a different approach or to find some new funding sources that maybe they aren't familiar with."

Sherrill, who also served as interim city manager for Monticello for six months, said he isn't looking for a full-time return to government.

"I love city government; I love what cities do for their citizens, and I sense that this is what this mayor and council want to do -- is do the best for their people," Sherrill said.

Nevertheless, he said, "I think I've done enough public service."

Porterdale is seeking a full-time city manager to succeed Tom Fox, who has accepted the position of public safety director for the city of Social Circle. Fox has been city manager of Porterdale for nearly 13 years. His last day with Porterdale is slated to be Feb. 5.

The city manager position is advertised on Porterdale's Web site at www.cityofporterdale.com. Job requirements include a bachelor's degree in public administration, business administration or closely related field, with a master's degree preferred; five years of experience as a city or assistant city manager and/or training that includes local government management, public administration, financial management, budget administration and public relations.

The deadline to apply for the position is March 15.