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Jason Parker appointed new Dalton administrator

Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker was approved as the city’s administrator Tuesday night by a unanimous vote of the City Council. He said he may start in his new role in two weeks.

Parker was one of two finalists out of about 80 applications.

Patrick Comiskey, the former city manager of Thomaston, was the other finalist. Ty Ross resigned from the position in September 2016 after almost seven years on the job.

“We had a lot of candidates and did lots of interviews,” said council member Denise Wood. “We even included Annalee (Harlan) after she was elected.”

Harlan, who was sworn in as a council member earlier in the evening, was elected in November to the Ward 2 seat previously held by Tate O’Gwin, who did not seek re-election.

Mayor Dennis Mock, who typically votes only when there is a tie, also voted to approve Parker as administrator.

Wood said council members were looking for “trust, honesty and integrity. I think I speak for everyone when I say Jason embodies that.”

Parker, a 30-year-veteran of the police department who has been chief since 2007, said he expects the Public Safety Commission to appoint an interim police chief before he assumes the city administrator position.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” Parker said. “It’s going to be a challenging role, but I’m thankful to have the opportunity for that challenge.” Parker said he realizes he has a lot to learn about the other city departments’ operations and functions, but he’s looking forward to it. He said he will miss the law enforcement arena.

“I’ve been in policing 35 years and it’s a profession that I really love,” he said. “It does a lot of good in the community.”

A native of Dalton, Parker said there are no immediate plans to move back. He lives in Murray County.

“My family and I are looking at that alternative since our children are grown and in college,” he said. “Sometime in the next few years we’ll probably consider that more seriously. That option is always on the table.”

Mock said the council members have spoken with Parker about the possibility of moving to Dalton.

“We cannot require that by law,” Mock said. “We would like for that to happen but it’s still his decision.”

Wood said she would “prefer” Parker live in Dalton. Harlan said it’s not something she would require, which was echoed by council member Tyree Goodlett, who said, “No, absolutely not.” Council member Gary Crews said he would prefer that Parker live in Dalton. Parker said although he doesn’t live in the city he attends church in downtown Dalton and is active in the community.

“I’m a lot more involved in the community than people may know,” he said. “I know that it’s a concern ... I think it’s preferable to have a department head live in the city, but not all department heads do.”

Parker said he thinks what makes a difference is whether the person is accessible to the community.

Please see CITY, 3A

Annalee Harlan is sworn in as a member of the Dalton City Council by city attorney Jim Bisson on Tuesday night.

Shaka L. Cobb / Daily Citizen-News


➢ Continued from 1A

“I think during the last 10 years as police chief I’ve shown that I’ve been very accessible and easy to locate,” he said.

Council members also:

• Voted unanimously to approve a resolution by the Dalton Building Authority to issue $14.3 million in bonds backed by the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) voters approved in March to fund work at Brookwood, City Park and Roan schools and Dalton High School.

• Voted unanimously to approve a request by Juan Morales to rezone 0.16 of an acre at 308 S. Fredrick St. to general commercial from heavy manufacturing.

• Agreed to table mayoral appointments until the next meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

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