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Headley hired as County Manager
A-County Manager Headley mug

Commissioners voted last week to appoint David Headley as Dawson County's next county manager.

Before the vote, Commission Chair Mike Berg informed the commission that Headley and he had signed all of the appropriate documents to begin work and awaited only the commission's vote.

District 4 Commissioner Julie Hughes Nix made a motion to vote to hire Headley, and District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett seconded the motion. Headley was hired in a unanimous vote by Nix, Fausett and District 2 Commissioner James Swafford.

District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby was not in attendance.

On Friday, Fausett said that she is glad to have Headley as county manager.

"We're pleased to have him on board, and we're confident he will do good work for the county," she said.

Headley, 62, has served as the city manager of Dawsonville since December 2015. Prior to that, he spent 10 years working for Dawson County.

Headley was forced to resign from his position as director of public works on Sept. 18, 2015, after then-County Manager Cindy Campbell informed him in a letter that he would be fired because he had failed to perform his duties properly on two separate occasions.

His personnel file was marked to indicate that he was not eligible for rehire by the county.


Despite Headley's history with the county and his status as ineligible for rehire, the commissioners were not prohibited from hiring him because they are elected officials.

Headley said on Sept. 6 that upon assuming the position, he intends to look to the future and not the past.

"I'm excited to go back to the county," Headley said. "My main objective is to bring the city and county together."

Headley reported to work Monday with a beginning salary of $100,000 annually.

Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan said the city council plans to hire a new city manager to replace Headley.

"We [have] started the search," Grogan said. "We've run ads, posted online and have the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission assisting us with finding someone."

The position of city manager did not exist until September of 2015, when the council decided to activate the position. The council hired Headley in December of 2015 to help shoulder some of the mayor's administrative workload.

"We hate to lose David because he was a perfect fit for us," Grogan said. "But I think he'll do great at the county, and the relationship between the city and the county will be better because of him."

Bill Tanner, a retired park superintendent with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, held the post of interim county manager from July 28 through Sept. 16.

He replaced Vicki Neikirk, who had filled the position temporarily on July 21 following the sudden resignation of Randy Dowling, who had accepted the position in February, following the departure of Cindy Campbell.

The county manager is responsible for overseeing eight department heads and reports directly to the board of commissioners, as well as assisting in budget planning.


Headley is the 11th person to fill the role of county manager since 2005.
The list of county managers since 1999 is as follows (information provided by Dawson County Human Resources):

Bill Johnsa 1999 or 2000-April 2005

Phil Anderson April 21, 2005 - Dec. 1, 2007

Lynn Tully (served as interim) Dec. 2, 2007 - Dec. 5, 2007

Ross Hubbard Dec. 6, 2007 - April 30, 2008

Kevin Tanner May 1, 2008 - Dec. 31, 2012

Cindy Campbell Jan. 1, 2013 - Oct. 26, 2015

Mike Berg (served as interim) Oct. 27, 2015 - Feb. 7, 2016

Randy Dowling Feb. 8, 2016 - Sept.19, 2016 (still working out 60 day notice)

Vicki Neikirk (served as interim) July 22, 2016 - July 27, 2016

Bill Tanner (served as interim) July 27, 2016 - Sept.16, 2016

David Headley Sept. 19, 2016