Jim Walker

The Catoosa County commissioner's meeting experienced quite the shakeup Tuesday night, Feb. 20 when County Manager Jim Walker resigned during a closed-door executive session.

Walker's fate wasn't a topic of discussion or on the meeting's regular agenda. But Walker's demeanor did change at the start of the meeting when Commissioner Ray Johnson requested adding personnel to the executive session portion of the agenda.

When Johnson motioned for the addition, Walker's facial expressions and body language indicated he was confused about what the request could be regarding.

After nearly an hour of private discussion, Walker was escorted to his office, and ultimately left the building before the board unanimously approved accepting his resignation.

"The county manager has tendered his resignation effective immediately," County Attorney Chad Young said.

The board appointed Chief Financial Officer Carl Henson to serve as interim county manager while the board starts its search for Walker's replacement.

The reasoning behind Walker's departure is unknown, as he didn't return calls seeking comment after the meeting, and the board not being at liberty to comment on items discussed in executive session.

Walker seemed to have a mixed bag of supporters and critics during his tenure, but it's unclear if he simply had enough of the gig, or if the board requested his resignation.

In September 2015, the board unanimously voted to hire Walker to replace long-time County Manager Mike Helton, who left the lucrative position to return to law enforcement.

Walker's contract with the county runs through 2019, so the two sides will seemingly have to negotiate some sort of settlement in the split.

More details in this story will be revealed as they become available.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at acook@npco.com.