Meet your government
Every Monday, The Times takes a look at someone who keeps local government running smoothly.
Assistant County Administrator Phil Sutton knows just about everything there is to know about Hall County. It’s his job.
"What I do is primarily assist the county administrator and county commissioners with just about anything," Sutton said.
Sutton said he works closely with county departments and keeps up with state politics so he can answer questions and help others understand the issues.
He stays informed so he can advise county officials and head up some of the county’s programs.
"What I do is major projects. SPLOST is my responsibility pretty exclusively," Sutton said, citing a major example.
SPLOST, or Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, is a 1 percent sales tax lasting five to six years that funds a list of preapproved capital projects in the county.
Sutton said he likes the financial aspect of his job.
"I enjoy finance, so I keep abreast of the budget," Sutton said. "I think I’ve always had an interest in economics."
Sutton has been Hall County’s assistant administrator for more than eight years. Before that, he worked in Athens-Clarke County for five years in the same capacity.
"I’ve been doing this kind of job for 13 years," Sutton said.
Outside of work, Sutton is an avid competitive rower.
"About four or five days a week, I row," Sutton said.
Sutton became interested after the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Center was built for the 1996 Olympics. Since then, he has competed around the country.
"We mostly travel around the Southeast, but I’ve been to the Charles, which is the biggest competition in the country, in Boston," Sutton said.
He competes in events ranging from short speed races to rowing marathons, but said his favorite event is the 5K race, known as a head race.