BOC Picks Top 3 Candidates for County Manager–Candidate 3–Franklin Etheridge

It seems that the BOC never checks prior employment of any county manager candidate.  This has been true since 2000, not just currently, and Jasper County has had many less than stellar county managers.

TWG went on Google to see what could be found concerning the top 3 persons being considered for the next County Manager of Jasper County.  Each one will be sent out in a separate blog.  They will be in alphabetical order.  TWG urges you to read each one so you won’t be surprised when the BOC makes their choice.

Mr. Etheridge is again looking for a job.  In an article below, he discussed his own employment history, which includes posts with Jackson, Habersham and Camden counties in Georgia as well as the city of Pembroke, Ga., all since 2000.  But he’s also defending his own work history, which includes four jobs in 11 years, a suspension and a call for his resignation.

FRANKLIN ETHERIDGE–Part 3 of 3

 

‘Little things’ led to LaFayette, Ga., city manager’s departure

published Saturday, March 30th, 2013

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/mar/30/little-things-led-to-city-managers/

by Tim Omarzu

Etheridge Resignation

view full detailsdownload pdf

More details came to light this week in the resignation Monday of LaFayette, Ga., City Manager Frank Etheridge.

“Came out of the blue,” is how longtime Mayor Neal Florence described Etheridge’s departure.

Events started unfolding at the end of a special called City Council meeting Monday night for a one-item agenda: hearing and accepting the audit report for the 2012 fiscal year.

When that was over, City Councilwoman Judy Meeks asked council members to go into executive session. The mayor said the council can go into executive session without putting prior notice on the agenda.

After about two hours’ discussion behind closed doors, “the direction I was given was to ask for his resignation,” Florence said.

Etheridge said he was surprised to be asked to resign, which he agreed to do after a meeting with the mayor and Councilman Andy Arnold.

“I did not know it was coming,” Etheridge said. “Nobody had said anything.”

Etheridge responded Wednesday with a letter to the city’s elected officials in which he “reluctantly” tendered his resignation and addressed concerns that council members raised.

“You have stated that I am a micro-manager,” Etheridge wrote. “I believe this has been necessary given that when I began employment with the city in October 2011, there was a deficit of over $650,000. Under my leadership, the city ended the budget year by being slightly in the black.”

Etheridge wrote that he heard thirdhand that Meeks felt he hadn’t disclosed the full amount that Electric Cities of Georgia charged to help the city prepare new rate sheets for the power it sells. He also cited Public Works Director Mark White being upset at not being able to break a contract for uniform services with Aramark and switch to Clean-A-Matic in Rossville, Ga.

“I just think there were a lot of little things,” Etheridge said.

The mayor said he would recommend another city hire Etheridge.

“Yes,” Florence said. “I would, because he did what I wanted to see done with a city manager, and that was run the city.”

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

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Meet Franklin Etheridge, LaFayette’s new city manager

by Christi McEntyre

http://catoosanews.com/view/full_story/16315968/article-Meet-Franklin-Etheridge–LaFayette%E2%80%99s-new-city-manager?instance=lead_story_bullets_left_column

Nov 07, 2011 | 1504 views | 0  | 8  |  |

Franklin Etheridge

The early resignation of former LaFayette city manager Johnnie Arnold last month left the city council members scrambling to fill his post earlier than they had expected. Luckily for the residents of LaFayette, the council found a ready replacement: Franklin Etheridge, former city administrator for Pembroke, Ga.

Having settled into his new role for nearly one month, Etheridge has already begun to bring his own flavor to the city manager’s office. He has been busily working with the city council to create departmental budgets and is al-ready planning on revitalizing the city’s equipment and personnel studies, which will hopefully lead to standard-ized equipment maintenance and replacement schedules as well as updated wage standardizations for city employees. And more often than not, he is to be found in his office in city hall, ready and willing to talk to any concerned citizen or group.

“When I’m here, the door is open,” said Etheridge. “I’m willing to talk to anybody. We won’t necessarily agree, but as long as we’re talking and the communication’s there, that’s the important part.”

Etheridge has a great deal of experience working as a city administrator and planner, beginning with a master’s degree in public administration he earned while serving in the U.S. Air Force.

After leaving the Air Force, instead of doing contract work like so many other former military personnel, Etheridge decided he wanted to work in the public sector.

“I started out in planning. I did economic planning for Martin County, Florida, for a short period of time, then was the city planner for Destin, Florida.”

After being recalled to active duty for Y2K, Etheridge came back to Georgia to work as the planning and development director for Camden County for three years, then moved up to northeast Georgia as the building and planning director for Habersham County. More recently he has served as the planning manager for Jackson County and, before coming to LaFayette, he worked as the first-ever city administrator for Pembroke, Ga.

The Georgia native grew up in a military family and was originally drawn to the Air Force in order to see and travel the world, but he eventually returned to his home state.

“My dad’s family is out of the Concord/Dublin area, but he was in the Army, so we traveled with him and then came back to the States. I claim Liberty County and Hinesville as my home.”

Etheridge was first drawn to LaFayette because, he said laughingly, “We wanted to come north of the gnat line again.

“LaFayette offers a lot, not just in general government. It has a good recreation program with good facilities. It has an airport and golf course … and a lot of natural resources.”

Etheridge hopes to make good use of LaFayette and Walker County’s natural beauty. Many of the hobbies he en-joys with his family, such as hiking, biking and canoeing, involve the great outdoors.

But despite the beauty, Etheridge has been quick to spot some of the sticky areas in LaFayette’s management, and hopes he can help remedy them in the near future.

“I’ve been here almost a month, and I think the biggest issue is that we really are on a tight budget, and making sure that everyone stays within the budget that we have approved. I know we all would like more, but … it’s tight, and there aren’t any reserve monies to grab back and reach. The city has not raised millage rates and there’s no other way to get it, so we’re going to have to live within what we have.”

He has noticed that most of this year’s budgetary requests, as in previous years, come from the need to maintain or update city vehicles or equipment that have become damaged or fallen into disrepair.

“We’re going to try to formalize a capital equipment improvements plan, coming up with a rotation where the general pieces of equipment should or should not be rotated or mended after so many years of mileage,” he said. Barring accidents, the plan should help maintain a stronger budgetary standard with fewer surprises.

In addition, Etheridge has noticed that it’s been quite a few years since LaFayette has inspected or updated its personnel studies, specifically its list of city employee job descriptions and wage standards.

“The natural course is over time you start getting away from those things, your job descriptions aren’t quite what people are doing today. So we need to look at updating those to make consistent what our folks do. And number two is looking at the wage structure itself, too, to try to put everybody in the same skill set on the same pay … Right now if you look, one person may be here, paid this, and the other is not. So we’ll try to build some consistency back into that.”

Etheridge notes that city employees who were hired many years ago have often not had their pay rates altered to be commiserate with the wages of more recent hires, even those within the same job description or skill set. He hopes to eventually change all that and create fairer and more standardized pay for all city employees.

Etheridge is looking forward to the results of the city council elections, which are Tuesday, and is optimistic that he can easily work with whomever is voted into office.

“Yeah, we all have personal opinions, but we wish them all the best, and good luck with whoever wins. You know, they set the policy and we do the day-to-day activities.”

In the meantime, Etheridge is keeping himself busy getting to know as many of the local LaFayette business own-ers as possible, hoping to establish a rapport that will facilitate communication for all involved.

“I’ve been trying to get out and get to the various businesses. I haven’t made them all, but I want to go at least in-troduce myself and talk and get to know people.”

Closeup

Hometown: Liberty County/Hinesville

Education: Bachelor of arts degree in geography from UGA, master’s degree in public administration from Troy State University

Military service: Over 12 years of active duty service in the Air Force, three years as a captain with the U.S. Air Force Reserves

Hobbies: Hiking, walking, canoeing, biking, reading

TV shows: “NCIS,” “Big Bang Theory”

Favorite books/authors: Suspense, mystery, Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum, John Grisham

Family: Married with a daughter, age 26 and son, age 20

To meet Frank Etheridge or to voice any questions or concerns, visit the city manager’s office in LaFayette City Hall or send him an email at fetheridge@cityoflafayettega.org.
Read more: CatWalkChatt – Meet Franklin Etheridge LaFayette’s new city manager

home » local/regional » Franklin Etheridge, LaFayette’s new …

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published Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/oct/23/lafayette-manager-eyeing-personnel-policies/

Franklin Etheridge, LaFayette’s new city manager, eyeing personnel policies

by Andy Johns

LAFAYETTE, Ga. — LaFayette’s new city manager is taking a close look at employee policies, the municipal golf course and city personnel.

But he’s also defending his own work history, which includes four jobs in 11 years, a suspension and a call for his resignation.

Franklin Etheridge, 51, who took over as city manager for the Walker County town on Oct. 10, says LaFayette is “ahead of the curve” in some aspects but has work to do elsewhere.

He praised the city’s airport and active recreation department. He said the city is lucky to have a nice municipal golf course, but said council members had told him to look at ways it could be run efficiently.

“I’m not here to change everything overnight,” he said. “Obviously there will be changes.”

Etheridge said the city appears to be spending money reasonably, but he will be evaluating the employee roster and pay scale. He said he doesn’t plan on layoffs, but said the last time the city had a serious personnel study appeared to be about 12 years ago.

The former Air Force captain said council members also told him to look at personnel policies.

Former city manager Johnnie Arnold abruptly resigned amid controversy last month. Arnold admitted to dating a subordinate and drinking alcohol during a lunch break, but said that did not violate any city policies. Mayor Neal Florence said the new manager would be revising some rules.

LaFayette City Councilman Wayne Swanson said Etheridge’s knowledge of codes and downtown development as well as his communication skills made him stand out in the interview process. In their brief interactions since Etheridge moved in, Swanson said, he’s continued to be impressed.

“He jumped right in there,” Swanson said of the new manager. “He’s working a lot of hours already.”

Etheridge also discussed his own employment history, which includes posts with Jackson, Habersham and Camden counties in Georgia as well as the city of Pembroke, Ga., all since 2000.

In 2003, Etheridge and his wife were suspended but later cleared and reinstated from government jobs in Camden County, according to reports in the the Georgia Times Union.

According to the paper, a commissioner alleged the couple had shared confidential county information.

Etheridge denied the allegations and said the fact that they were dropped indicates they didn’t have merit.

He also was asked to resign from his most recent job in Pembroke.

In March, after two years as Pembroke’s city administrator, he was asked to resign. He said the mayor was out to get him after they clashed over fees at the municipal cemetery. Etheridge said he wanted consistency with the rules for purchasing plots, but some city leaders did not want to hold everyone to the same standards.

“One person would probably tell you I did a bad job,” he said. “The rest of them would tell you I did a good job.”

Pembroke councilman Douglas Kangeter was vague in his assessment of Etheridge’s tenure.

“We didn’t like some things that were being done,” he said, declining to give details.

When asked if the resignation was about cemetery lots as Etheridge maintained, Kangeter said that wasn’t the reason.

“There were several reasons,” he said.

Pembroke Mayor Judy Cook said “a combination of things” lead to the city’s request for Etheridge’s resignation, but there was nothing specific she could discuss.

“He needed a bigger challenge,” she said. “I think that was the whole thing.”

Overall, Cook praised her former city manager for calling him “instrumental” in city planning initiatives and saying she had no problem recommending him for other jobs.

“He was very, very talented,” she said. “He did a good job for us.”

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·  Lithonia seeks city administrator

championnewspaper.com/…/1019lithonia-seeks-city-administrator-1019….

Jul 20, 2011 – According to council member Deborah Jackson, the council made an offer on July 13 to Franklin T. Etheridge of Pembroke, Ga., who was city 

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#20. City Manager Screening Committee – Lake Wales Florida

http://www.cityoflakewales.com/city/agenda_cc/110406/110406_20.pdf

Mar 30, 2011 17. Etheridge, Franklin T. Pembroke, Georgia. 18. Ewalt, Kari. Florida. 19. Garvison, John M. Bonney Lake, Washington. 20. Gavin, Thomas H

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3 Responses to BOC Picks Top 3 Candidates for County Manager–Candidate 3–Franklin Etheridge

  1. L.Short says:

    Sure, why hire a county manager when we’ve a D-3 Commissioner adept at managing multimillion dollar budgets? Certainly,a piffle 8 million dollar budget would be of little consternation to such a renowned money manager?

    “In this position[School superintendent] I was responsible for an annual budget exceeding 40 million dollars with 900 plus employees. Gene Trammell

    http://themonticellonews.com/gene-trammell-announces-candidacy-p8915-1.htm

  2. Roger Resseau says:

    Hire no one. Commissioners should manage the County’s business. A Clerk can prepare items for their review at meetings.

    Roger Resseau

    • headman says:

      Mr. Resseau,
      Looks like you have no idea in how to run a efficient,cheap and accountable county governments. Commissioners also have full time jobs and other obligations. County Commission government are based on our founding fathers theory of citizens-servants not full time legislators which equates to politicians on the payroll. I have seen where politicians try to run a government full-time and it always seem to fail.

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