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BOC will not renew County Manager Johnson’s contract, former county manager may serve in interim
Eric Johnson
Eric Johnson

It appears a shakeup is coming to the Forsyth County Government. 

After an executive session, county commissioners voted unanimously at their regular meeting on Thursday to negotiate an interim county manager contract with former Forsyth County Manager Doug Derrer. County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the contract of current County Manager Eric Johnson “would come to its natural end” and no final action will be taken until the board’s Sept. 3 meeting.  

“As the board is aware, the existing county manager contract does come to an end in early September, and the board of commissioners is in need, therefore, of negotiating a contract with either a new county manager or an interim county manager,” Jarrard said ahead of the commissioner’s vote. “I believe the board’s preference is to negotiate a contract with an interim county manager to serve, obviously, in an interim capacity until such time as we have a full-time replacement.” 

Other than voting, there was no discussion on the item by commissioners or reasons given for the change. 

This will be the second time Derrer, who previously served as the county manager from 2009 until his retirement in 2017, has served as interim county manager. He previously stepped into that role in Sept. 2008 after accepting the deputy county manager position that March. 

Doug Derrer

Jarrard said the county had to give a list of up to three finalists at least 14 days ahead of the change and that Derrer was the sole finalist.  

Duties of the county manager include working with commissioners to establish long-range goals, supervising administrative offices and senior management, overseeing county programs, and interpreting goals and policies to make decisions consistent with the commission. 

The change would also mean an end to the three-year term by Johnson, who began his role on Sept. 5, 2017. 

Though present in other portions of the meeting, Johnson was absent during the vote.  

Johnson came to Forsyth County from Tampa’s Hillsborough County, in Florida, where he had held a variety of positions since 1993, including assistant county administrator. 

Tampa is the county seat of Hillsborough, a county with about 4,000 employees and a population of about 1.3 million. 

Between the tenures of Derrer and Johnson, Deputy County Manager Tim Merritt served as interim county manager from April to August 2017.

To select a new county manager at that time, commissioners hired an outside consultant to help find a new manager.