Bowie preparing to step in as interim city manager

Published 9:09 pm Thursday, December 14, 2023

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With the resignation of LaGrange City Manager Meg Kelsey becoming effective on Jan. 12, the city council has voted to appoint Utilities Director Patrick Bowie as interim city manager.

Kelsey announced her impending departure with a surprise resignation on Tuesday, saying she has accepted another job with the City of Newnan. Newnan has since announced that Kelsey was hired as the Assistant City Manager of Finance and Human Resources.  

Kelsey will still be the boss as long as she’s still here, Bowie said, noting his interim leadership will begin after her departure. In the meantime, Bowie will work with Kelsey to make the transition smooth.

Bowie said he planned to meet with Kelsey Thursday afternoon to start going over some of the tasks that had not previously been his purview.

“I’ve always managed the utilities side of the business. There’s a lot of the general government side that I’ll be trying to get up to speed on before she leaves. Of course, she’ll still be available after she goes to Newnan, she’s just a phone call away,” Bowie said. “She’ll be more than willing to help us out.”

In the interim, Bowie will continue to serve as the utilities director while taking on additional city manager duties. Each of the utility departments has its own superintendent to help out so Bowie does not expect the interim job to be overwhelming.

“Those guys do a great job managing the day-to-day aspects of the departments. I do the engineering side,” Bowie said. “I will continue to do the engineering work because I’m the only engineer with the city.

“Once a decision is made about the permanent city manager role, then we’ll decide what to do about utilities moving forward whether I’m in the new city manager role or I stay in the utility role.”

Bowie said he is uncertain if he wants to seek the city manager position on a permanent basis.

“I haven’t made that decision yet. This has only been on my plate for about three days. I’m thinking through all the aspects of both jobs and trying to decide what is the best decision in terms of a replacement for Meg. I’ve been here a very long time. I certainly have a lot of institutional knowledge about the city and how it operates.”

“I am a utility engineer and manager. That’s what I’ve done my whole life. I’ve got to decide whether I want to step into the general government side of things or not,” Bowie said.

“I certainly feel capable of keeping the city moving in the right direction,” Bowie said.

Bowie also noted that he has around six to seven years with the city before he would be eligible for retirement.

“It’s a good opportunity to start thinking about the future of the utility director position as well going forward,” he said.