Peggy Merriss will be Sandy Springs’ interim city manager starting Aug. 3 after her nomination was approved by the City Council.

Peggy Merriss.

Merriss, Decatur’s former city manager, will be the immediate replacement for Sandy Springs’ founding city manager, John McDonough, who has accepted a similar job in Greenville, South Carolina. Sandy Springs aims to hire a permanent replacement by early next year.

Merriss served in Decatur from 1993 to December 2018, and served in other positions with the city starting in 1983, according to a resume included in the city council agenda. She now runs a management and leadership consulting business. Merriss also was recently inducted into the Georgia Municipal Association’s Municipal Government Hall of Fame, as was Eva Galambos, the founding mayor of Sandy Springs.

At the July 16 council meeting where Merriss’ nomination was approved, Mayor Rusty Paul also issued a proclamation declaring it “John McDonough Day” in the city.

“ I have never met or worked with anybody who is more professional, more qualified, more caring, more dedicated and more committed than doing things the right way for the right reasons… [H]is fingerprints are going to linger in this community for a long, long time,” Paul said of McDonough.

McDonough said that leaving Sandy Springs has left him with a lot of mixed feelings, but he is ready for his next adventure.

“I will always look fondly at my time here in Sandy Springs,” said McDonough. “It was a tremendous professional and personal opportunity. The relationships I have made and friendships I have built through the years…are ones that I will take with me and will always treasure.”

“You are in great hands,” McDonough added. “I have the utmost confidence you will find a better city manager than the first one.”

Merriss will be paid a salary of $17,000 per month until Dec. 31. If a new city manager has not been appointed by Jan. 1, 2020, the salary would then be $3,900 per week.

–Hannah Greco