As part of a severance agreement he will continue to receive his salary, which is budgeted at an annual rate of $72,000, until the end of the year, according to Mayor Gary McCullough.
“We are now paying for a ghost city manager,” said city councilmen Sam Norton Tuesday morning. “And we will soon be paying for another city manager.”
Georgia, a former University of North Georgia professor, was placed on paid administrative leave in mid-July soon after another city employee resigned for, as of yet, undisclosed reasons.
McCullough and city administrators opted to turn the matter over to a third-party investigation by the Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency (GIRMA).
On Monday evening, representatives from GIRMA, a Georgia Municipal Association intergovernmental risk-sharing agency, presented their findings to the city council.
Council member Bruce Hoffman said the presentation was made and then no action was taken by the members.
“It didn’t come to the council to vote one way or the other to keep him,” said Hoffman. “The mayor just sat down with [Georgia] and said the investigation is back.”
Georgia resigned last Friday.
The Nugget’s resulting open records request into the details of the GIRMA report has since been denied by the office of City Attorney Doug Parks.
In a written response Parks said the request could not be fulfilled because it pertained to a “workplace investigation” and “attorney client-communications.”
Georgia Press Association legal representative David E. Hudson said that more details should become legally available ten days after such an investigation has concluded.
“Ten days after the investigation results have been presented to the agency or officer, the documents become a public record,” he said. “This is true even though the city may have asked its attorney to assist in the investigation. The attorney-client privilege would not protect any facts developed in the report. It could only protect an attorney’s recommendations to the City-that part could be redacted if in the report.”
Georgia’s departure marks the second untimely resignation by a city manager in a little less than a year.
In September of last year Ron Thomas stepped down after about eight months on the job.
Georgia’s tenure was about eight months as well.
Attempts to contact the former city manager were not returned by press-time.
McCullough said he has been talking to former longtime city manager Bill Lewis about serving on an interim basis.
“I’ve only talked to him about working here,” he said. “He hasn’t signed a contract yet.”