John McDonough, Sandy Springs City Manager

The new city of Peachtree Corners recently hired Sandy Springs City Manager John McDonough as a consultant as the new city sets up its government.

Peachtree Corners hired McDonough and Johns Creek City Manager John Kachmar to conduct a search for a city manager and to help set up its government.

The men will help the city with revenue projections, create an overview of its government model, draw up requests for proposals to outsource services, and develop a communications strategy, among other tasks. The contract sets the compensation at $15,000 for the city manager search plus an hourly rate of $110 for the other services.

McDonough has worked as a consultant for other governments. McDonough’s contract allows him to take on outside consulting work as long as it doesn’t conflict with his job as the city’s manager. He said he informs Mayor Eva Galambos about any potential jobs.

“My first priority is Sandy Springs and this would be on top of that,” McDonough said. “It’s primarily after hours and on the weekends, is of limited scope and duration, and it’s got to be the right project.”

He recently left a consulting firm he started in 2008 with Oliver Porter, the man who set up Sandy Springs’ unique style of government and served as its interim City Manager in its early days. Both men say the split was amicable.

McDonough, who makes $185,000 annually, says his outside work also benefits Sandy Springs by allowing him to swap ideas and experiences with other cities. The amount of consulting work he performs and the income he’s earned isn’t public information.

The International City/County Management Association, a group representing top administrators around the country, offers guidance for cities allowing their managers to take outside work.

Director of Ethics Martha Perego said under ICMA guidelines, city managers should not take a job that creates a conflict or gets in the way of their official duties.

McDonough said Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason contacted him several weeks ago about the job. McDonough said recently he’s traveled to Toyo University in Japan. His biography for PPP Associates, the company he formed with Porter, says he has advised governments all over world, including cities in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Texas, China, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine.

“Sandy Springs has been recognized for the success it has had utilizing the public-private model,” McDonough said. “There’s been a tremendous amount of interest in what we’re doing here and how we do it, both nationally and internationally.”

McDonough left PPP Associates in March of this year, records show. Porter said McDonough’s experiences made him an ideal partner, but said the company didn’t have many clients.

“I never put it together to be a big money maker,” Porter said.

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011-2014. He is the founder and editor of