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Former Decatur City Manager had gig as city’s consultant before taking Sandy Springs job

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Former Decatur City Manager had gig as city’s consultant before taking Sandy Springs job

Peggy Merriss
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Former Decatur City Manager Peggy Merriss isn’t managing the day-to-day affairs of city government anymore, but she’s stayed busy.

According to Reporter Newspapers, the Sandy Springs City Council hired her to be their interim city manager until a permanent replacement for John McDonough can be found.

Since retiring at the end of 2018, Merriss has started her own consulting firm, Merriss Management & Leadership Consulting, and one of her clients has been the city of Decatur. Merriss was Decatur’s City Manager for 25 years. The Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) recently inducted Merriss into the Municipal Government Hall of Fame.

City Manager Andrea Arnold confirmed the city paid Merriss $6,310.64 for her services this year.

“Ms. Merriss has served as the principal consultant on the E-scooter ordinance development, she provided some assistance with parts of the budget development, and represented the city on the steering committee that is working with the Carl Vinson Institute on a countywide annexation study,” Arnold said. “This assistance was especially needed when the Assistant City Manager position was vacant and while we were developing the budget.”

Martha Perego, an ethics expert with the International City/County Management Association, said that Merriss’ consulting work is fine as long as it’s not in conflict with ICMA’s code of ethics.

“There is guidance provided on consulting to members who are working for local government,” she said. “Members who are no longer working for local government are free to engage in other work as long as they comply with Tenets 1 and 3 of the Code.”

To see the ICMA code of ethics, click here.

Merriss told Decaturish she’d be happy to work with Decatur again.

“If the city has a need they feel I can provide expertise to, I might consider making a proposal in the future,” Merriss said. “It’s not anything I have planned. I’m not going to say it will never happen again.”

Decaturish also asked Merriss if she’s interested in applying to become the next Sandy Springs City Manager.

“At this point, the Sandy Springs interim position is just that. It’s interim,” Merriss said. “It lasts through the end of the year as they do a recruitment for their new chief executive.”

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