Phillips Steps Aside as Franklin Co. Manager, Still County Engineer

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

John Phillips is stepping aside as Franklin County Manager and returning to his previous job as Franklin County Engineer and Interim Planning Director.

After coming out of an executive session meeting Tuesday evening, Franklin County Commission Chair Thomas Bridges announced the reshuffling of county personnel.

Bridges said the county commission decided that now is the time to make the personnel switch-around.

“We’re doing some shifting in our county personnel,” he said. “We’re shifting John Phillips back to County Engineer and in charge of Planning and Zoning. In addition to that, he’ll be the Director of Public Works in charge of water and sewer and that sort of thing.”

Bridges said Franklin County will retain the department heads for the road and water and sewer departments but Phillips will be over both as the Public Works Director.

In an e-mail to the Franklin County Commission, Phillips had suggested he step back into his role as engineer in order to save the county money on upcoming engineering costs.

Phillips had pointed out in his memo that he has $75,000 in engineering projects currently on his desk.

“We feel like this will save the county some money, keeping us from contracting out a lot of engineering work that we’ve got confronting us that he will be able to handle,” Bridges said.

One of those projects is the planned sewer line along Interstate 85 and new water/wastewater treatment plant in Carnesville.

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners will now turn its attention to finding a new County Manager.

Bridges said they will advertise the position and are looking for someone with a strong financial background.

“We’re looking for a strong candidate with a strong financial background that understands finances. And we will put our finance situation under one umbrella so to speak in all departments,” Bridges said.

Bridges indicated that Franklin County Commissioners may also create a specific Finance Department to work under the new County Manager.

Phillips has been the Franklin County Manager for less than a year, taking over from former county manager Billy Morse last fall when he returned to Toccoa.

He was officially hired in December of last year.

No vote was taken on Tuesday’s announcement, but the Franklin County Commission is expected to vote when they meet for their regular meeting on September 8.