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Derrer named county manager
Board commends official for service
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Forsyth County News

Each of Forsyth County's five commissioners took a turn congratulating Doug Derrer on his big promotion.

But perhaps the biggest compliment during Thursday night's commission meeting was their unanimous vote to remove the "interim" tag from his title as county manager.

Chairman Charles Laughinghouse was the first to commend Derrer on his "ascension to the hot seat." He is the fifth person to hold the county manager spot since 2004.

Derrer thanked Laughinghouse, the other commissioners and county staff, pledging to "serve you and this community to the best of my abilities."

A former Hall County official, Derrer was named sole finalist for the county manager slot two weeks ago. A period of review followed the announcement, during which the public could comment on the pick.

Commissioner Jim Harrell took the opportunity Thursday night to comment on Derrer's abilities as a leader.

"You've shown your best is more than enough, and we're thrilled to have you," Harrell said, adding that he appreciated Derrer's "help in navigating the minefield" during budget cuts last year.

"We're lucky to have you and look forward to working with you," Harrell said.

The position pays the same as Derrer's interim post, $130,000 per year, with a one-year severance should he leave.

Derrer's job does not fall under the protection of the civil service board, a three-member panel that determines employee appeals.

One added benefit to his contract as county manager is that the county will pay 100 percent of his health insurance.

Derrer's government experience runs deep. A veteran of Hall County government, he retired in December 2007 after more than 25 years of service.

He opted to take early retirement from Hall, but felt he "still had a lot of energy left, and I feel like I still have a lot to offer the community."

A couple months after retiring, he joined Forsyth as deputy county manager.

He was elevated to the interim county manager spot after Rhonda Poston-O'Connor was fired as county manager in September 2008.

Derrer's vote to county manager was well-received at Thursday's commission meeting. Following the board's congratulations, county staff and the crowd applauded him.

Derrer gave credit to staff members.

"There is no way I would have been able to get to where we are today without the help of staff," Derrer said. "They have done a tremendous job, and they've been extremely supportive."

Commissioner Jim Boff thanked Derrer for his kindness.

"Thank you for listening to some of my ideas and not bursting into laughter immediately, and sometimes even saying, 'Maybe we can try that,'" Boff said.