Staffing issues lead to communications breakdown in Stone Mountain

City of Stone Mountain seal on the historic railroad depot. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Stone Mountain, GA — The city of Stone Mountain is trying to get back on track following the recent departure of several city employees.

The city didn’t send out its usual email notice of a special called meeting on May 31, and the meeting didn’t stream on Facebook live due to a technical error.

Interim City Manager Warren Hutmacher – the second interim since city manager ChaQuias Miller-Thornton left the city – described the current state of the city in frank terms.

“It’s chaos, a little bit,” Hutmacher said. “I came in a month ago as an interim, thinking it was a four to six week engagement. A couple of days after I was hired, the city clerk quit. We had two weeks to get her job backfilled. We brought in someone part-time trying to catch up. She was the city clerk in Chamblee. She’s retired and is in theology school. I told her it would be 25 hours a week, and it’s turned into 60.”

The city’s email notification system was knocked out of commission, which was something the previous city clerk handled.

“We want to be as transparent and communicative as possible,” he said. “We’re just dropping the ball.”

Hutmacher said city council is currently meeting in-person and plans to stream simultaneously, but the May 31 meeting experienced a technical snafu.

In addition to the departure of the city clerk and city manager, the city’s police chief retired and the public works director left at the end of last year

Clint Monroe, a city councilmember, said the job market is more competitive now, and he believes Hutmacher is working hard to fill the city’s vacancies.

“I think most of the departures have to do with other cities looking for people and everybody is out there recruiting,” Monroe said.

Hutmacher said the city has six or seven vacancies out of a staff of about 35 people. In the interim, the city has tried to get by with consulting firms and part-time employees. The city also has an interim police chief who is performing well, and the city doesn’t have immediate plans to advertise that job.

The city met virtually since COVID-19 started, but the city’s emergency declaration expired on May 24, meaning that the city will now meet in person. The city considered reinstating the emergency order, but it failed in a 4-2 vote on May 31.

At the May 31 meeting, the city appointed a chief solicitor because the previous solicitor also resigned.

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