Middleton resigns as county officer

Photo by Crystal Tatum

Photo by Crystal Tatum

Newton County Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer John Middleton has resigned.

Middleton tendered his resignation to the Board of Commissioners during a Tuesday night executive session following the board meeting.

Middleton said Thursday that he intends to stay until December to provide a reasonable transition time.

Middleton said he is resigning to spend more time with his family.

"My health is fine. I'm not stressed out. I wanted this opportunity to attend to family matters and the flexibility to pursue other opportunities as they come up," he said.

Middleton has been with the county for 11 years. He was hired by former chairman Davis Morgan as finance director and then promoted to administrative officer and chief financial officer by former chairman Aaron Varner.

"I certainly consider it a great opportunity and I'm grateful for it, to serve the people of Newton County and the Board of Commissioners and the staff the last 11 years. From my point of view, I'm leaving at a good time. We've got the best group of department managers and staff we've had, and I think they have the vision and skills the county is going to need going into the next generation," Middleton said. "It's not ever an easy decision to make. The life expectancy of a financial officer seems to be three and a half to four years. I've fared better than average, I think."

The most senior members of the BOC expressed gratitude for Middleton's service.

"He has been an excellent employee and has done an excellent job for the Newton County Board of Commissioners. He will really be missed. I wish him the best, whatever he decides to do after he leaves Newton County. It is a great loss to the county," said Commissioner Mort Ewing.

Commissioner J.C. Henderson has worked with Middleton during his entire tenure with the county. Henderson said he's not ready to say goodbye.

"I asked him to think about it until (December) and make sure he wanted to leave. As far as I'm concerned, he can stay as long as he wants to. He's been really good for the county," Henderson said.

Henderson praised Middleton for his no-nonsense approach to county finances.

"He won't tell you what you want to hear, he'll just tell you like it is," he said, adding that, "We're going to feel a very big loss when John does leave."

Chairman Kathy Morgan said Middleton's goal has been to develop county employees in a professional manner, by continuing their education, cultivating a great work ethic and acknowledging expertise in the performance of their duties.

"John and I share a common philosophy, 'Hire the best and brightest, give them the funds and the tools required to do their job, and respect them enough to allow them to excel,'" Morgan said. "John has performed his duties for Newton County with integrity, diligence and the utmost professionalism. He is a vital part of the Newton County employee family. I will miss John both professionally and personally. His departure will leave a void that cannot be filled."

Middleton's immediate plans after leaving in December include family time and bird hunting.

"I want to express my sincere gratitude to all those that have worked with me at Newton County, from the three chairpersons to every board member, constitutional officers, department managers and to all the great Newton County employees. I know that their success as individuals and as a county government will continue," he said.