Morse retirement announced, Wheeler to serve as interim City Manager

At Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Toccoa City Commission, City Manager Billy Morse’s retirement was officially announced.

Earlier this year, Morse advised the Commission that he would be retiring at the end of his employment agreement, which expires on September 30. 

In a letter to the Commission and Mayor David Austin dated March 13, Morse wrote, “I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work in local government for the past 40 years. My time as Toccoa City Manager has been rewarding as well as enjoyable.”

Morse stated in his letter that, although his contract expires on September 30, he would be willing to work through the end of the year if needed, to help with the hiring and training of his successor and the transition period. 

During Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Terry Carter called for an executive session at the start of the meeting to “discuss personnel issues and pending litigation.” The motion to go into executive session prior to the meeting failed the first vote, with Mayor David Austin and Commissioner Evan Hellenga voting against Carter’s motion, and Carter and Vice Mayor Gail Fry voting for the motion. Carter moved a second time to enter into executive session, and the motion passed with Hellenga the sole dissenting vote on the second round. 

After an extended executive session, the Commission reconvened the open meeting and, after working through the two remaining items on the agenda – consideration of the purchase of solid waste dumpsters, and the monthly finance report – Carter moved that the city appoint City Clerk Freda Wheeler as interim City Manager, effective October 1, until a new city manager was retained. The motion was unanimously approved. 

Carter stated that Morse had agreed to continue working with the city during the interim period, through the end of the year.

Fry thanked Morse for his work for the city, and stated appreciation for Wheeler’s commitment to the city.


Following the meeting, Morse spoke with WNEG News, saying he was glad to help out during the transition in a consulting role.

He said  the past 10 years since his return as city manager have gone extremely well.

He added that the most important thing for whoever takes his place, as we head into the new year after the municipal election, was going to be forming a working partnership with the new commission.

Morse said the leadership team at City Hall was what he was most proud of during his tenure. 

He added that he was grateful for the support of the citizens of Toccoa during his time as City Manager.

WNEG News also spoke briefly with Wheeler following the meeting, who stated that she was happy to do what she can to continue serving the city. 


The next meeting of the Toccoa City Commission will be on Sept. 25