published Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Murray sole commissioner resigns

DALTON, Ga. — Murray County Commissioner David Ridley turned in a letter of resignation to county leaders Monday, saying the strenuous requirements of the job have made him neglect important family and business matters.

Ridley was elected in 2008 and began serving as sole commissioner in January 2009. The full-time position pays $98,174.96 a year.

County Manager Tom Starnes declined to say whether Ridley’s resignation came as a surprise to leaders. The county attorney will determine what steps the county will need to take to replace Ridley, Starnes said.

Starnes sent the Chattanooga Times Free Press a faxed statement from the Murray County Commissioner’s office that said, “With the highest respect for Commissioner Ridley’s personal decision, the Elected Officials, Department Heads and employees of Murray County wish Commissioner Ridley and his family the best, and are committed to making this transition as smooth as possible for the residents of our community.”

In his resignation letter, Ridley said he enjoyed and considered it a privilege to have served Murray County.

“However,” the letter says. “I must, guided by my conscience, relinquish my position as Commissioner immediately. I don’t want this to be viewed as an abandonment of my office. I will work with the transition team as necessary to make sure that an orderly progression is followed.”

The decision to resign was voluntary, the letter says.

Ridley did not return a message left on his cell phone.

Murray County changed to having a sole commissioner form of government around 1999 after a referendum, Starnes said. The county has a population of 39,628, according to 2010 census numbers.

Contact staff writer Mariann Martin at or 706-980-5824.

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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