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Forsyth County commissioners approve contract with Doug Derrer as interim county manager

The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday during a regular meeting to approve Doug Derrer as interim county manager, bringing back a familiar face to local government to replace outgoing county manager Eric Johnson.

Derrer will start on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and have an annualized salary of $228,000, according to County Attorney Ken Jarrard.

The contract allows both the Board of Commissioners and Derrer to terminate the contract under certain conditions. If neither does, it automatically ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

Derrer has been in this role before. He served as interim county manager in September of 2008, seven months after he was hired as deputy county manager following several years working in Hall County government. Derrer eventually took over the county manager position full-time and held it until his retirement in 2017. 

Derrer helped guide the county through the Great Recession and oversaw the construction of the new county courthouse and jail facilities in downtown Cumming.

The vote officially ends Johnson's tenure as county manager after commissioners opted not to negotiate a new contract with him.

Johnson was hired as county manager in 2017 after working for several years for Hillsborough County in Florida.

Commissioners did not discuss the item before voting, but Dennis Brown, who represents District 2, thanked Johnson for his service at the start of the meeting, particularly for leading the county during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"I just wanted to let you know that we thank you very much for your service," Brown said, "and I know that sentiment is shared by a lot of people."

This story will be updated.