City of Statesboro officials confirmed Monday that Judy McCorkle was terminated from her long-time position as city clerk and director of Finance and Administration.
“Effective (Monday) morning, she is no longer an employee of the city,” City Manager Shane Haynes said. “Overall, this is not a decision that was made in a vacuum. It’s something that has been considered over a period of time.”
Haynes said the decision was a tough one, but one that was made in order to build a cohesive team of employees at the city.
“At some point you need to make a decision that you have to have everybody on board,” Haynes said. “If you can’t get everybody on board, you have to make decisions and unfortunately, there are tough decisions like this that have to be made.”
McCorkle reacted to the news from her home Monday evening.
“I feel it was an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Statesboro for almost 16 years,” she said. “That’s the only official comment I’ll make.”
Losing her job came as a surprise to McCorkle, who returned to work Monday after a week-and-a-half vacation.
“Yeah, you don’t think you’d come back from a vacation to that,” McCorkle said.
Councilman Will Britt said there was some discussion of tension between Haynes and McCorkle about a month ago. He said the council asked Haynes, who took over as city manager July 1, to try and work within the existing situation, but that ultimately personnel decisions were his responsibility.
“(Haynes) was doing his part to honor what we asked of him and she was not doing her part of what he asked of her,” Britt said.
Councilman Joe Brannen said the council typically doesn’t comment on personnel matters, adding that the news was rather sudden.
“It’s mostly news to me today (Monday)” Brannen said. “I understand there were some issues, but was not aware of anything this immediate. Yes, I’d had to say it was somewhat of a surprise.”
Haynes said McCorkle’s various tasks will be divided amongst the existing staff, at least for the next 60 days or so.
“We do have a plan in place to divide up the responsibilities in the interim,” Haynes said. “We’re going to do that, we’re going to move forward. It will present some challenges, but we know we have staff that are capable to step up and meet those challenges.”
In addition to her clerk, finance and administration duties, McCorkle was supervisor of elections for the city. Though a final determination has not been made, Haynes said it is likely that her duties will be split up on a more permanent basis.
“To try and put all of that responsibility on one person is a tremendous task,” Haynes said. “Right now, if I had to say, we will probably keep those separate. With the city growing and the city budget the size it is already, there’s enough work to keep someone busy from a finance director’s perspective.”
The city may also look into the possibility of transferring the responsibility of city council elections to the Bulloch County Board of Elections, which oversees all other elections in the county.
“Just from a common sense perspective, as this juncture now, it makes a lot sense for us to move in that direction,” Haynes said. “The council has the prerogative to do that,”
Mayor Bill Hatcher was out of town and could not be reached for comment.
Phil Boyum may be reached at (912) 489-9454.