ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
The contract for Tom Berry as Albany's new City Manager has been unanimously approved by commissioners. They voted Thursday morning on the official contract terms.
Berry took time Thursday morning to publicly apologize for previous comments he made, calling Albany's city politics the "worst ever." "I think I said some things that were unfair to the commission. They are elected. They have to make decisions they think is best. I'm sure they'll make decisions while I'm here that I don't agree with," said Berry.
Commissioners thanked him for his apology. In a statement, Mayor Dorothy Hubbard said the vote was ultimately about moving the city forward. "I was just glad to have all of our commissioners on board. So that says to me that they are putting all of their personal issues aside, which is what this is all about. It's about the city and moving our city forward," said Hubbard.
According to the contract terms, the city will pay Berry $9,000 each month. The contract further outlined "travel and subsistence" expenses for him to attend seminars, conferences, and committee meetings as he deems appropriate, but only with prior approval by the Mayor and Board of Commissioners.
The vote Thursday comes in the wake of a downtown Albany shakeup that began with the resignation of Berry as Water Gas & Light's top official and the resignation of City Manager James Taylor.
Berry said he didn't have plans to become interim city manager. "I got a request and I felt like maybe it would give me an opportunity to continue some of the things that we had started," explained Berry. "I see more potential in this community, than any community I've been in. The upside here is just huge. But the community has got to work together and if that happens, there's no stopping Albany."
Berry announced he would step down as the interim leader of Water Gas & Light on June 26th, citing a disagreement in a City Commission meeting over changes to the city charter that would give the Albany City Manager more authority over WG&L.
Water Gas & Light later named Stephen Collier to the position of Interim Assistant City Manager for Utilities, which is a new title.
Taylor announced his resignation in a letter after leading the city for just over three years. He was not present at the City Commission meeting when the announcement was made July 8th. Assistant City Manager Wes Smith confirmed the resignation the same day.
A public records request later revealed that Taylor had given a city worker a bonus of more than $20,000. Some City Commissioners questioned the move, but city policy showed that the action was within the authority of Taylor to give.
In an earlier version of this online story, the headline in the link for more information stated that Assistant City Manager Wes Smith resigned. That is not true. In fact, Smith has stressed that he will remain with the city. We apologize for the error.