Outgoing PTC city manager to ask council to appoint interim manager

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With current City Manager Bernie McMullen retiring at the end of the year, the Peachtree City Council may be selecting an interim city manager at its regular meeting Thursday night.

McMullen’s last day is scheduled to be Dec. 31 after council accepted his resignation via a separation agreement at its Oct. 21 meeting.

McMullen is recommending the appointment of an interim city manager whom he can brief on “current issues,” which will ostensibly create a smoother transition.

The city has already begun the recruitment process for a new city manager and Mayor Don Haddix has said the process will involve a panel of experts who will cull the final list of candidates down for consideration by the City Council.

Council members will meet individually or in pairs to interview the finalists before convening a meeting to select the best candidate to whom the job will be offered, Haddix said. That will be accomplished with each council member ranking the candidates in order from most preferred to least preferred.

Both McMullen and the city, in the separation agreement, have agreed to non-disparagement clauses that in effect prevent them from commenting on the hows and whys of McMullen’s resignation. But a City Hall insider confirmed last week that McMullen chose to retire on his own and was not “forced out.”

There have been some differences of opinion between McMullen and Mayor Haddix as indicated on the annual performance evaluation of McMullen that was authored in June by Haddix. McMullen wrote a rebuttal of that evaluation and contended that the evaluation was “a libel attack by Mr. Haddix because of the fact that I have opposed him on issues such as the renovation of the police headquarters building in 2008. I challenged his unfounded claims and looked out for the citizens of Peachtree City.”

The city spent $800,000 to repair the police station instead of building a new one on a different location as Haddix suggested at a projected cost of $3 million or more.

On top of Haddix’s critical review of McMullen, Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch filed a glowing review of the city manager’s performance in late September. In that letter, Fleisch noted that the city charter requires the Mayor and City Council to conduct the review “and it is my impression that the written evaluation was completed prior to any kind of input by council which is not in keeping with the spirit of the city charter.”