Fayetteville losing 70 years of institutional knowledge

Fayetteville City Manager Joe Morton in a photo from 2013.

Fayetteville City Manager Joe Morton is in the final months of his job. The city is advertising the job and expects to have Morton’s replacement in place by mid-October.

Morton served as Fayetteville City Manager from 1994-1998 and as Peachtree City Assistant City Manager and Director of Financial Services from 1998-2000. He returned as Fayetteville City Manager in 2000, where he served in that capacity for nearly a decade and a half. Morton retired nearly two years ago and returned to the position on a part-time basis.

Morton was not the only administrative staff to take an early retirement in 2012. He was joined by City Clerk Anne Barksdale, Assistant Finance Director Ellen Walls and Finance Director Lynn Robinson, all of whom took early retirement as a cost-saving measure and returned to part-time status. The move was made because replacing administrative staff with full-time employees was cost-prohibitive as the city at that time was still experiencing the effects of the recession.

The approval to advertise Morton’s position came at the July 17 City Council meeting. Interviews are expected to begin in late August, with a selection in September and the new hire reporting to work in October. Morton will be available for the transition period.

Walls and Robinson are also leaving the city.

Robinson will serve as assistant finance director in Henry County and will be leaving the city at the end of July. Robinson’s position as finance director in Fayetteville is currently being advertised.

Walls is beginning her new position as city manager in Brooks, though she will keep her position in Fayetteville until the end of the year. Carthleetha Talmadge, currently in Fayetteville’s finance department, will assume Wall’s position when she leaves.

Barksdale is the only one of the administrative staff not leaving the city.

The departures represent the loss of more than 70 years of institutional knowledge of Fayetteville government.