Phil Sutton, a former Hall County assistant administrator, was named Habersham County manager Thursday by the board of commissioners there.
“Most of my career has been spent working in city and county governments, so it’s a natural fit,” Sutton said. “And I thought that was a good time for me and opportunity to get back in the public sector, so I was very much interested in working with the county commission in Habersham County.”
Sutton was ousted from his role with Hall government, along with others, in a contentious move in January 2011 when newly elected Craig Lutz and Scott Gibbs joined then-Commissioner Ashley Bell to clean house.
Sutton officially takes over managing Habersham on Sept. 16. The appointment was made at the board’s Thursday afternoon commission meeting.
“Yesterday is when they offered the position, and I accepted. They have a two-week waiting period before they can actually confirm it, based on requirements of state law and notifications,” Sutton said.
Sutton, 60, has spent the past almost three years in the private sector.
“The last 2« years or so I’ve had a consulting firm, Sutton Consulting LLC. I’ve been doing primarily local option sales tax negotiations for cities and localities, and service delivery strategy analysis and negotiations,” he said.
Sutton said he was approached by several people about the position and decided to apply after meeting with county commissioners. He’s ready to tackle familiar issues head-on, he said.
“I understand that they’re looking at a new SPLOST referendum, which is coming up very quickly,” he said. “The county commission has a lot of issues related to service delivery between what the kind of work the cities are doing versus the kind of work the county is doing, and looking for opportunities to make improvements in that area and local government cooperation for providing services, which is something that interests me.”
“They’ve got economic development issues that they want to try and encourage, as most governments especially in this North Georgia area are keenly interested in economic development enhancements.”
Sutton lives in Flowery Branch, but said he will relocate for the position.
“My wife and I will be looking for a residence in Habersham over time,” he said.