Garrett accepts assistant county manager position

Tom Garrett

Tom Garrett

COVINGTON – Newton County now has a replacement for County Manager John Middleton, who is set to retire later this year.

Newton County Transportation Director Tom Garrett accepted the position as assistant county manager on Thursday, according to County Attorney Tommy Craig.

“Tom was flattered to be offered a new position and he enthusiastically accepted. I will make my salary recommendation to the board, and I expect it to be well-received, of course the board makes the final decision,” Craig said.

The Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 to create an assistant county manager position after a closed session at Tuesday’s meeting in order for that person to learn from the current county manager so that he would be better equipped to step into Middleton’s role once he retires.

Craig said Friday he will recommend Garrett earn a salary that is about midway between Garrett’s current compensation of $78,644 as transportation director and Middleton’s salary of $85,989.

The midpoint salary would be $82,316.

“We’re excited to bring Tom aboard. It is important for the community to know this position, while this is an important yet temporary position, it has not added nor will it add to the number of employees for Newton County,” Chairman Keith Ellis said. “His current salary will continue to be paid through the public works department and the county will pay the difference. At this time we are not going to fill the position as transportation director, instead he will carry the dual role.”

Jenny Carter from the county attorney’s office said on Friday that a draft of the job description is being circulated for review.

When Middleton was appointed in November 2011, he transitioned from an administrative officer to the first county manager in Newton County’s history.

He was given the responsibility for all departments with the exception of roads and bridges, which remained under the authority of the chairman.

The county manager reports solely to the Board of Commissioners and not to the chairman.