City council will vote whether or not to appoint Tom Gilliam at March 21 meeting

City manager recommends external candidate for parks and rec director


Tom Gilliam, the City of Canton’s former director of parks and recreation,  has been recommended by Cartersville City Manager Tamara Brock to fill the City’s own vacant department of parks and recreation director position.

“He brings several years of experience in the parks and recreation field that I think will be beneficial to the City of Cartersville,” Brock said. “He is a motivated individual who has done everything from facilitating recreational programs and maintaining trails to overseeing the day-to-day operations of a parks and recreation department.”

Gilliam most recently served as the director of operations for Alpharetta-based Halftime Sports, which describes itself as a “faith-based” youth sports marketing company with an emphasis on tournament operations and providing other event platforms. 

Gilliam was a facility supervisor for Oconee County’s parks and recreation department for about four months. He previously served as the City of Canton’s first parks and recreation director from May 2015 to March 2017, where his duties included budgeting, grant writing and handling requests for proposals (RFPs) and provider contracts, among other tasks. Before then, he served a nearly five-year stint as a program coordinator for the City of Milton’s parks and recreation department in north Fulton County.

“He was on the front end of establishing the parks and recreation department for the City of Milton upon its inception in January of 2010,” City of Cartersville Communications and Public Relations Manager Rebecca Bohlander stated in a press release. “He was responsible for RFPs, maintenance, program growth, grant writing and served as their interim director for nine months.” 

Cartersville's parks and recreation department director position has been vacant since former director Greg Anderson retired on Jan. 31.

“Greg was a wonderful parks and recreation director and we’re looking forward to Tom continuing on the legacy that Greg left but also expanding on it and bringing some new ideas to the City of Cartersville," Brock said.

If appointed to the position, Gilliam would manage about two dozen employees as part of his daily parks and recreation department operations and maintenance duties.

“Tom has over 20 years of experience working with government agencies, educational institutions, faith-based organizations and in the private sector,” Bohlander stated. “Tom will bring an extensive knowledge base to his new position that will serve the department well.”

Several residents, however, have voiced their displeasure over the City’s decision to forego selecting a “homegrown" candidate for the open position at the last two Cartersville City Council meetings. 

Resident Damian Elder, Ed. D., said she is particularly upset that the City did not consider David Archer, Jr. for the position.

“He has helped so many people in this community, and to overlook him for a position that he is so overly qualified for is a disgrace,” Elder said at a meeting on Feb. 7. “So for telling people to ‘buy Bartow,’ we need to support Bartow by hiring people within our City.” 

Brock addressed the controversy.

“The goal was to find the best candidate for the position,” she said, “and I believe that’s what we have done.”

The Cartersville City Council will vote whether or not to appoint Gilliam to the position at a public meeting scheduled March 21. The City Hall hearing will take place at 7 p.m. at 10 North Public Square in Cartersville.