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Forsyth County hires this Dawson County judge as its assistant county manager
Tony Tarnacki 2023
Photo courtesy of Forsyth County government.

A South Forsyth High School graduate will serve as the new assistant county manager for Forsyth County. 

In a news release on Friday, March 24, Forsyth County officials announced Tony Tarnacki has been appointed as assistant county manager. 

Tarnacki is replacing Brandon Kenney, who had served in the role since 2021 before taking a job with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities in March. 

Tarnacki has served as a magistrate judge for Dawson County Magistrate Court since 2009, mostly recently as its chief magistrate. He has also been an adjunct criminal justice professor at the University of North Georgia since 2013.

Georgia law requires that the Northeastern Judicial Circuit’s Superior Court judges appoint a replacement to complete his term of office, stated a press release dated March 23 from Chief Judge Kathlene Gosselin.  

Applications for the appointed position will be considered until April 3 at 5 p.m. Letters of interest and resumés can be sent to Sandy Harkins at 

“OCGA 15-10-22 sets the minimum qualifications for a Magistrate.  The fact that Chief Magistrate Tarnacki was an experienced lawyer proved very helpful to the citizens of Dawson County,” Gosselin stated. “Thus, we would prefer qualified applicants to be members in good standing with the State Bar of Georgia.” 

The next election for Dawson County’s chief magistrate judgeship will align with the primary and general election schedule for 2024. 

Tarnacki earned a Juris Doctorate degree from John Marshall Law School, a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from the University of North Georgia. He is a graduate of South Forsyth High School. 

He has also served as a juvenile court investigator in the Dawson County District Attorney’s Office. 

“Tony’s experience in management, local government and nearly 15 years spent as Chief Magistrate Judge in north Georgia made him an ideal candidate to help further lead Forsyth County’s vision for the future,” County Manager David McKee said in the release. “We look forward to working with him in this role, and we welcome Tony and his family to Forsyth County.” 

In the role, Tarnacki will oversee Forsyth County’s planning and community development, parks and recreation, code enforcement and animal services, senior services and public transportation departments. 

A second county manager will be responsible for other departments, and an announcement for that role “will be made soon” according to the release. 

The assistant county manager positions were previously held by McKee and Kenney, who were also finalists for the county manager position after Kevin Tanner, the county’s previous manager, was selected as commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and developmental Disabilities. 


Note: DCN reporter Julia Hansen contributed information specific to the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, which includes Dawson and Hall counties, for this article. DCN is a sister publication of FCN.