THOMSON - Charlie Newton, chairman of the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners, breathed a heavy sigh a relief Tuesday night after he announced that the county has hired Donald Norton to become interim county manager.
Former County Manager Lamar Hamill resigned in late February amid allegations of financial impropriety. Up until now, Newton has had to take over much of the workload himself.
"We've got a lot of things going on right now and unless I quit my regular job, we're in a position where we need to pay that right now, and this money will be well spent," Newton said.
Norton, who has more than 15 years of county-manager experience, will be paid $400 a day until either he is formally offered the full-time position or the interim agreement is terminated. He also will be given $525 a month to cover living expenses. Norton's previous employment was as county manager in Troup County.
"I don't know but I would not expect this arrangement to last a terribly long time, considering this is a fair amount of money," Newton said. "If you do it on a yearly basis, it comes to about $104,000 a year. He's not getting any employee benefits, so that backs it off somewhat, but that's still a lot of money."
Newton said that talks are continuing with Norton and two other unnamed candidates regarding the full-time position. For now, McDuffie County will benefit from the presence of Norton, who will have his hands full, Newton said.
"My impression of Mr. Norton is that he's a very professional person, and I can't speak for this board, but in my opinion he's a top candidate and he would do a tremendous job for us," Newton said.
Norton has a master's degree in industrial relations and a master's degree in public administration. He also has a bachelor's degree in political science.
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