Smyrna city administrator resigns, police chief to serve as interim

January 6, 2020 Smyrna: Tammi Saddler Jones, city administrator, speaks during the swearing in ceremony for the Mayor and City Council at Smyrna City Hall on Monday, January 6, 2020, in Smyrna. Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

The city of Smyrna is in the market for a new city administrator.

Tammi Saddler Jones resigned from the position on Friday, spokeswoman Jennifer Bennett said. The City Council on Tuesday named Police Chief Joe Bennett Smyrna’s interim city administrator, she said.

Bennett was sworn in to the position on Wednesday. While Bennett is interim city administrator, Deputy Police Chief Robert Harvey will serve as acting police chief, according to Jennifer Bennett, who is no relation to Chief Bennett.

Mayor Derek Norton told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he had “lots of different conversations” with Jones about her future with the city. He said when she decided to “pursue other opportunities,” it didn’t surprise him.

“I wish her nothing but the best going forward,” he said.

Jones emailed city employees Friday to inform them that she was leaving Smyrna.

“It has been an honor and privilege to work with you to accomplish so many great things for these past 10 1/2 years,” she wrote in the email, a screen capture of which was shared by the city. “I wish each of you all the best.”

Bennett said Jones will remain on the city’s payroll for six months. Jones had an annual salary of $170,770, she said.

Jones served as assistant city administrator for Smyrna from December 2009 to April 2017 and was named city administrator in May 2017.

According to a cached version of the city’s website, Jones was the assistant town manager for Berlin, Connecticut, from 2006 to 2009 and served for six years as the assistant to the city administrator in League City, Texas. She has a master’s degree in public administration from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Tougaloo College.

Bennett was appointed Smyrna’s new police chief in February. He replaced former chief David Lee, who retired after more than 30 years in law enforcement.

Norton said he will discuss with the City Council how Smyrna should proceed with finding a permanent city administrator. Until the pandemic improves, Smyrna will continue with an interim city administrator, he said.

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