Feb. 16—Former Smyrna Police Chief Joseph Bennett, who has served as interim city administrator since September, was made permanent city administrator at the City Council's meeting Monday.
"They don't make them a whole lot better," Smyrna Mayor Derek Norton said at the meeting. "He's done a tremendous job as interim city administrator for us for the better part of a year, during some very difficult times. And he's exceeded any expectations I had."
Norton added that Bennett has a servant's heart, saying he's been attentive to residents and council members.
The recommendation to appoint Bennett was approved unanimously.
"[I will] never pass up an opportunity to thank Joe for all his hard work," Mayor Pro Tem Tim Gould said at the meeting. "It's a pleasure. You respond back to residents' requests, our requests, and I look forward to working with you for a long time."
Bennett, joined by his wife and children, was sworn in by Smyrna Chief Municipal Court Judge Phyllis Collins.
"I am deeply humbled by this opportunity to lead this great city, and thank you all for your guidance and your leadership, especially through the past year that we've had," Bennett told the mayor and council. "I would like also to thank my family for always being there and for the support of those in uniform."
Bennett's contract is still being worked out and his salary as city administrator has not been determined, according to city spokesperson Jennifer Bennett. As police chief, Bennett's salary was $123,600.
Bennett, a Smyrna native, holds a bachelor's degree in organization management and leadership from Reinhardt College and a master's degree in public safety administration from Columbus State University. He is pursuing a doctorate in public administration from Valdosta State University.
A 25-year veteran of the force, Bennett joined the Smyrna Police Department in 1995 and has held positions in the Uniform Patrol Division, Community Oriented Policing Unit and Street Crimes Unit. He has served as assistant commander of the criminal investigations division, E-911 director, commander of the administrative services division and commander of the SWAT team.
Bennett was appointed police chief in February 2020. His appointment to interim city administrator in September came after the previous administrator, Tammi Saddler Jones, stepped down. Jones resigned for personal reasons, the Marietta Daily Journal previously reported.
Smyrna's acting police chief is Robert Harvey, a 28-year SPD officer who has been deputy chief since 2015.