As Taylor prepares to take office in January, Olson will fill the role of retiring County Administrator Steve Bradley. After 19 years in the role, Bradley will retire in January alongside Commissioner Clarence Brown.
In his stead will be Peter Olson, an attorney of 18 years focusing in the areas of zoning and land law, local government law, real property and business litigation. Olson has worked regularly with the county in recent years and serves as city attorney for Kingston and Resaca.
“I’m excited because I’ve come to realize over the years, one of the things that I enjoy most is working with the county and the local governments because you’re working as a team to try and accomplish something positive. I think the county has to continue moving forward and improve the quality of life for the citizens, so I think being a part of that, setting a future direction working with Steve Taylor to move the county forward is what appeals to me,” Olson said.
Taylor looked to name an administrator quickly after the election to afford the necessary time for transition. Olson has already begun conversations with Brown and Bradley and will be involved with budget preparations in the coming months, but many of the position’s responsibilities will coincide with tasks Olson has performed as outside counsel.
“The county and the commissioner have been really good about taking a lot of effort to smooth the transition. They’re setting up transition meetings now,” Olson said. “We’ve already had some meetings and there is a bunch more coming up in September and October so that process is already under way.
“I think I’ll keep on doing a lot of what I have been doing for the county in terms of writing ordinances and reviewing contracts and giving opinions and so forth and then you add in things that I have not necessarily been involved in, like working on the budget. That’s a big part of what Steve Bradley does in the fall. He gets with all the departments and tries to finesse the budgets to get it within the projections of revenue.”
Olson was born outside of Chicago and raised near Montgomery, Ala., before receiving his bachelors degree from Vanderbilt University in 1989 and a juris doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992. A summary of professional accomplishments was included in a statement released Thursday.
“He has lectured at the invitation of the Institute for Continuing Legal Education in Georgia (co-chairing the annual Zoning Law seminar), the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute, the Georgia Association of Zoning Administrators, the Georgia Planning Association, and the Institute for Continuing Judicial Education on zoning, annexation and land use topics,” the statement said.“He frequently speaks at the request of the Atlanta Regional Commission, at Community Planning Institutes and local government training sessions for city councils, boards of commissioners, planning commissions and staff.”
Taylor interviewed local and outside candidates for the position, but said he kept returning to Olson for his skill and experience along with his knowledge of local government.
“We looked outside the community for a couple of candidates and I kept coming back to Peter [Olson],” Taylor said. “Somebody would mention a name, even someone local, and I just kept coming back to Peter. He seemed the most qualified in what I was looking for and he’s got a lot of legal background he can use in this job and there will be some cost savings in that also.”
Just as Olson has, Bradley too came from a background in law, serving as co-counsel for the county at a local firm before stepping into the role of county administrator. After 16 years in Cartersville, Olson stepped out on his own earlier this year to begin a new firm. Taking the role as administrator, he will now begin the process of closing his practice and helping clients through the transition.
Olson and his wife, Ellyn, have two children: Grey, 7, and Eden, 4.