Retired city manager gives insight on future leadership in Thomasville

Retired city manager gives insight on future leadership in Thomasville
The new council has expressed interest in going back to the way it used to be, with two leaders instead of one. (Source: WALB)
The new council has expressed interest in going back to the way it used to be, with two leaders instead of one. (Source: WALB)
Tom Berry is a retired city manager/utilities superintendent who served in Thomasville right before former city manager Steve Sykes was appointed. (Source: WALB)
Tom Berry is a retired city manager/utilities superintendent who served in Thomasville right before former city manager Steve Sykes was appointed. (Source: WALB)

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Retired city manager Tom Berry said the position of city manager and utilities superintendent were combined during his leadership, ultimately because it made sense, was efficient and saved money.

While leadership changes in Thomasville have drawn attention, it also has caught the attention of someone who looks at those changes from a different viewpoint, one of a former leader.

Berry is a retired city manager/utilities superintendent who served in Thomasville right before former city manager Steve Sykes was appointed.

For his first 10 years in the position, Berry said everything was separate. The city had two different entities and two leaders; a city manager and general superintendent of utilities.

"We abolished a lot of positions when we combined those two, because before we had two city vehicle shops, two accounting, two elements of almost every operation," explained Berry.

Berry said putting them together and having one person hold both roles helped the city be more efficient financially and through customer service.

The new council has expressed interest in going back to the way it used to be, with two leaders instead of one.

"If they are looking at putting a utilities superintendent over the utilities and then having that person report to the city manager, that's okay it kind of operates like that now," explained Berry.

The question now is who will fill those roles? No headway has been made on filling the two positions on a permanent level.

"The key is the city council has got to know what they want in that city manager," said Berry.

Berry said they should have someone with integrity, someone who has served on that level maybe somewhere else in the state and someone who the council can work with. They need to serve all five of the council members and have an equal 'seat' at the table, although they have no vote.

"They are there to bring forward things the council may not know about and keep the council out of trouble, to protect that body," said Berry.

Berry said the process to interview candidates could take 30 to 60 days and then assuming the candidate has a current leadership role elsewhere, they would need to give at least 30 days notice, putting the timeline around 90 days.

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