Marja Burney was looking for a job closer to home and got a bonus in the process — no more Gwinnett County traffic jams.
The Braselton woman found her new career in Flowery Branch, where she started Monday as the city clerk.
"I had an hour commute and now it's cut down to 25 minutes," she said.
Burney, 40, left behind a seven-year stint in the city of Lilburn, where she worked in several positions over the years, including assistant city clerk and, most recently, accounting manager in the finance department.
She replaces Melissa McCain, who left the city in late December to serve as Doraville city clerk.
Assistant City Clerk Lou Camiscioni served as interim city clerk.
Flowery Branch City Council voted May 19 to hire Burney, who will be paid $45,000 per year.
She was selected from a dozen "qualified applicants," City Manager Bill Andrew said.
"We were pleased with her qualifications," he said.
The city clerk's office has many duties, including utility billing, overseeing elections and handling property taxes, alcohol licenses and building permits.
Burney, a Huntsville, Ala. native, grew up in Marietta and earned bachelor's degrees in sociology and psychology at LaGrange College.
"I got into child support enforcement and at (the state's) Family and Children Services," she said. "I didn't really like that part of helping people as much. It's pretty rough (work)."
Burney went on to earn her master's degree in public administration from Kennesaw State College in 1997.
At Lilburn, she saw a fair bit of change and growth, including mayors and city managers coming and going.
"(The job) gave me a nice, broad range of how to do all the different things (in the clerk's office), which should help me here."
Flowery Branch is about half the size of Lilburn, she said.
"I like the smaller town atmosphere," said Burney, who is married and has a 9-year-old son.
But she also sees potential for the South Hall city to grow.
"There's a lot of undeveloped land out this way," she said.