Forget the mayor. Forget the commission. The guy who really runs Athens is Manager Alan Reddish—and he’s retiring.
Reddish’s last day will be Feb. 6, Athens-Clarke County announced today.
“This is a decision that I have made of my own accord,” Reddish said in a news release. “I believe retirement should be carefully planned in the same way a career should be planned.”
Fitting words from a man who constantly pushed elected officials toward prudence in their decision making—smoothing out some of their more pie-in-the-sky ideas but also, critics would say, at times using the power of the bureaucracy to stifle creativity.
The Mayor and Commission under Doc Eldridge hired Reddish in 2001. He has served more than 14 years under three administrations and was unanimously reappointed for another two-year term in June.
He previously managed the Wayne County and Dougherty County governments and worked for UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
Mayor Nancy Denson will announce an interim manager and a process for hiring a permanent replacement at a later date.
Out of internal candidates, Reddish appears to have been grooming Assistant Manager Blaine Williams, who was hired away from the Rome, GA government two years ago, for the role.
The job is a big one. Under ACC’s system of government, the manager runs the government’s day-to-day operations, while the mayor has little formal power, and the commission mainly gives a thumbs up or down to initiatives the manager brings forward.