It’s official: Decatur’s new city manager begins Jan. 1

Decatur’s commission approved the contract of Andrea Arnold who officially becomes the next city manager on Jan. 1. The initial agreement is for two years, or through Jan. 1, 2021, with an annual base salary of $170,000.

Among her benefits Arnold receives “exclusive and unrestricted use of an automobile” provided by the city and this includes $500 per month as an automobile allowance. The complete terms of the contract can be seen at

Arnold now becomes Decatur’s third city manager since 1972. She was selected after a search producing 109 candidates from 21 states and the District of Columbia, with more than 40 from Georgia. She’s worked for the city 21 years and has been assistant city manager (one of three) since 2004.

Peggy Merriss, who presided over her final commission meeting on Dec. 17, has been Decatur’s manager for 25½ years, longest tenure since the city converted to the council-management form of government in 1924. Until now she has been the city’s only woman manager.

Arnold’s father, David Taylor, was city manager in Tarboro, N.C., Chapel Hill, N.C. and Temple, Texas and served as president of International City/County Management Association.

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