Year In Review 2013: New City Manager in Toccoa is Familiar Face

The end of one year and the start of another is upon us, which means it is time to take a look at some of the top stories from 2013 in Toccoa and Stephens County.

One of the top stories last year was change at the top in the city of Toccoa.

In September, Toccoa City Commissioners voted unanimously to fire Mike Jackson as City Manager.

Then, the commission looked to the past for Jackson’s replacement, tapping a previous Toccoa City Manager, Billy Morse, who started the year as Franklin County Manager, for the job.

When voting to fire Jackson in September, Toccoa Mayor David Austin said that the commission’s goal was to bring someone in for the long term.

Austin said in September Morse was considered the best option for the city to achieve that goal.

“Billy is someone, like I said, who had served the city well,” said Austin.  “We felt that, knowing the city and the employees and having worked here for so many years, he would be someone that could hit the ground running, without training and that kind of thing.”

However, Jackson said the commission’s decision saddened him.

“It is sad that two commissioners, who are not going to be here in four months, have basically caused this to happen and the remaining commissioners went along with it,” said Jackson.

Jackson’s accusation was denied by multiple commissioners, who noted it was a unanimous decision.

Morse officially returned to Toccoa in October, taking back over the position he held for more than 7 years before leaving to take the FranklinCounty job in 2009.

Morse said he valued his time in Franklin County, but was happy to be back in Toccoa and was looking forward to the challenges ahead.

For more on this and other top stories during the last 12 months, tune in to AM 630 WNEG’s “Year in Review News Program” this week.

It will air again Friday at 4:30 p.m.