The Catoosa County Commission voted Tuesday night to hire a new county manager.

Jim Walker Jr., of McDonough, Ga., will take over the job on Sept. 28, replacing Mike Helton, who resigned in June. Walker will make $125,000 per year — about $35,000 more than the county paid Helton.

But unlike Helton, the county will not pay for Walker's health insurance. A retired Army soldier, Walker receives health insurance through the federal government, County Attorney Clifton "Skip" Patty said.

Before this job, Walker was the manager of Henry County, Ga. With a population of 211,000, Henry County boasts more than three times as many residents as Catoosa County. Its $127.5 million budget, according to his resume, is more than five times larger than Catoosa County's.

From 2003-10, Walker served as Alabama's director of Homeland Security. From 2010-12, he was a liaison between the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and the states of Alabama and Mississippi in the wake of the BP oil spill.

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Jim Walker, whom the Catoosa County commission hired as its new manager Tuesday

During his time in the Army, according to his resume, Walker was an aide to President Ronald Reagan and briefed Gen. Colin Powell during Operation Desert Shield. He was also a legislative assistant to Tennessee Congressman John Tanner.

Walker wrote in his resume that he studied Congress and foreign affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and also was a keynote speaker at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

"What my resume doesn't catalogue," he wrote in a letter to county officials, "are all of the faces, places, nuances and details of a life well lived and challenged by a myriad of highly visible and complex, unprecedented jobs."

He added: "I am certain I possess the skill set, qualifications and enthusiasm to successfully address the challenges and opportunities presented to the next Catoosa County manager."

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at or 423-757-6476.