Local News

March 12, 2014

Varnell close to choosing next city manager

The Varnell City Council is expected to choose its next city manager from among three finalists it released on Tuesday.

The finalists are:

• Anthony Boatwright, a former U.S. Marine Corps staff sergeant with an extensive history in the private sector in health, safety and environmental management. A resident of Cohutta, Boatwright’s work has taken him around the world. He most recently was health, safety, security and environment manager at ExxonMobil’s Point Thompson Project in North Slope, Alaska, and as health, safety and environment supervisor for Fluor Arabia Limited in the Middle East. He has studied at Dalton State College and at Central Texas College and lists a number of military and professional training programs on his résumé.

• Mike Brown, operations manager for the Dalton Parks and Recreation Department, where he oversees operations of the John Davis Recreation Center, the Mack Gaston Community Center and all of the city’s parks. During his time on the job, the recreation department has completed numerous projects, including rebuilding the community center, renovating several facilities and adding a skate park, dog park and disc golf course. Brown has been with the department for almost 30 years. He has a bachelor of science in business management from Covenant College and associate’s degrees in business administration from Dalton State College and computer information systems from Reinhardt College.

• Brent Richards, has been a Varnell police officer since July 2013. Before that he was vice president of ServiceMaster Majestic Crew in Cohutta for six years. He was also a jail officer and deputy for the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office from 2002 to 2007, as well as a reserve officer with the Cohutta Police Department and a consultant with Home Depot. A graduate of Northwest Whitfield High School, Richards has studied business management at Georgia Southern University and Dalton State College and is a graduate of ServiceMaster’s corporate training program.

By state law, the council must wait 14 days before making a hire after announcing the finalists.

Council members began advertising for a new city manager in late January. The city did not advertise a salary, and council members have said that is something they would negotiate with the candidates. The previous 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. The sheriff’s office, in turn, asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to assist with that inquiry. Sheriff’s Maj. John Gibson said Wednesday that investigation is still ongoing.

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