Decatur still looking to name new city manager by year’s end

Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett. Photo by Hector Amador

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Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett. Photo by Hector Amador

Decatur officials have remained mostly silent about the search for a new city manager, and it appears that won’t change until they name finalists. By law Decatur can’t release the names of any candidates until the list falls below four finalists.

Mayor Patti Garrett recently reiterated the commission hopes to name a successor to City Manager Peggy Merriss by year’s end.

Merriss, who’s been manager for 25½ years, and only the second manager in the last 45 years, announced her retirement in July. Her last day is Dec. 31.

The city had 109 apply for the job, more than double what was originally anticipated. According to Heidi Voorhees, president of GovHRUSA, the search firm hired by Decatur, the applicants come from 21 states and the District of Columbia, with more than 40 from Georgia.

“[Voorhees’ role] is to take that first look at candidates, to summarize them informally, do the initial screening and give us recommendations,” Garrett said. “But the board makes the ultimate decision on who we will interview.”

Garrett said there was no set number of candidates the commission would interview. She also said there were no plans to name an interim, though adding, “If we’re not able to make a decision we might change our mind.”