Local News

March 25, 2014

Brown named city manager of Varnell

VARNELL — Mike Brown stepped down as operations manager for the Dalton Parks and Recreation Department after almost 40 years with that agency on Tuesday. Today, he starts a new job with a new city.

Varnell City Council members unanimously voted Brown as that city’s new manager Tuesday night.

“I’m really excited,” Brown said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge, and I hope I can make a positive impact on the city.”

Brown was named one of three finalists by the council two weeks ago, after they narrowed down their choices from dozens of applications from across the country. The other finalists were Anthony Boatwright of Cohutta, who has worked in the private sector in health, safety and environmental management, and Brent Richards, who has been a Varnell police officer since July 2013.

“We had a lot of qualified people respond, a lot of resumes,” said council member Allan Pippin. “We looked at those resumes again and again. We narrowed it down, and narrowed it down again. And at the end, we thought he (Brown) was the best candidate based on his experience in city management and his knowledge of this area.”

As operations manager for the Dalton recreation department, Brown oversaw the John Davis Recreation Center, the Mack Gaston Community Center and all of the city’s parks. Council members said Varnell’s gym, ball fields and other recreation facilities are important to the city and they hope Brown’s experience can help them grow their recreation programs.

“He seems like a very good fit,” said council member Sheldon Fowler. “We are always going to be a bedroom community, so it’s very important to have the sort of things that can improve the quality of life for our residents.”

Brown said his first priorities today will probably be touring all of the city’s various facilities and meeting any employees he doesn’t already know.

Council members said Brown will receive an annual salary of about $35,000 plus a $250-a-month allowance for insurance.

The most recent city manager, Jason Hall, was paid $50,000 a year.

Hall stepped down in March 2013, more than two years after taking the position, after council members began looking into his use of city-issued credit cards. In January, newly elected council member Jan Pourquoi asked the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office to investigate any possible misuse of city credit cards by Hall. That investigation is ongoing.

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