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Georgia Ports Authority hires former Hall finance director
Fight for funding still on
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Former Hall County Finance Director Michaela Thompson has accepted a job with the Georgia Ports Authority.

Thompson was one of four top officials ousted from the county administration in January by the new Hall County Board of Commissioners.

Thompson will serve as the finance director for the ports authority.

"I am very excited. It's an advancement in my career that I'm very much looking forward to and I'm very appreciative of gaining the governmental experience that I've received with Hall County. That definitely helped set the experience and the foundation for me to get this job," Thompson said. "I'm very glad for having worked in Hall County and all the great people that I worked with."

In January, Commissioners Ashley Bell, Scott Gibbs and Craig Lutz voted against renewing the contracts of Thompson, County Administrator Charley Nix, Assistant County Administrator Phil Sutton and County Attorney Bill Blalock, hoping to take the county in a new direction with new people in leadership positions.

Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom Oliver announced Thompson's new position at the board's Thursday night meeting.

"She will have huge responsibilities as she did in Hall County, and she will handle them in a very professional way as she did in Hall County," Oliver said. "I thank her for her service and the way she professionally handled herself. We wish her well ... and offer her a big thank you."

The Georgia Ports Authority is the body that oversees the Port of Savannah, Port of Brunswick and the inland ports of Bainbridge and Columbus. It produces $61.8 billion in sales, accounting for 8.6 percent of Georgia's total sales.

The Georgia Ports Authority is seeking funds to deepen the Savannah River to accommodate larger cargo ships that are expected to become more prevalent once the Panama Canal's expansion project is completed in 2014.

President Barack Obama's budget proposed $600,000 for the project, short of the $105 million Georgia port officials wanted in hopes of beginning dredging next year. Georgia congressmen have vowed to continue fighting for funding.

Georgia Ports Authority officials couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.