Mayor and Council

The City of Port Wentworth is a Georgia municipal corporation with an elected Mayor and six elected Council Members. Council Members are elected for Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4; the Mayor and two Council Members are elected at-large; and the Council elects a Mayor Pro-Tem.

The Mayor is elected by voters at-large and serves a four year term. The six Council Members are elected from single member districts and serve staggered four year terms.
Mayor and Council meets the 4th Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m., no pre-agenda. Meetings are held at Port Wentworth City Hall, 305 South Coastal Highway, Port Wentworth, Georgia 31407. For dates and times of special call meetings, workshops and/or public hearings, contact the Clerk of Council at 912-964-4379 or click here to view the calendar.
City of Port Wentworth Elected Officials

Mayor Gary Norton

912.856.0114 - Business Cell 

912.964.4379 - Office

  • Gary Norton was born and raised in Port Wentworth where he played football and baseball from the age of  6 to 18. At the age of 21 he coached the last Colt League in the history of Port Wentworth at the request of Lewis Mobley, whose son played on the team. He graduated from Groves High School in 1975 furthering his education in management through the International Management Council. In 1981, Gary married Donna Alford-Norton from Pooler. They have a daughter, a son, and five grandchildren. Mr. Norton raised his two children in Port Wentworth where he volunteered on the Recreation Department for 6 years. He coached his daughter’s softball teams for 7 years leading the 16 & Under girls team to the CAA Championship. He also coached his son’s baseball, football and basketball teams for 2 years.

    Mr. Norton is employed at International Paper in Port Wentworth where he has earned “Safety Champion” status while serving on the Mill Wide Safety Team. He was ordained a Deacon at North Salem Baptist Church in 1990 where he functioned on the Board of Deacons for 6 years, as well as volunteered as a RA Director and on the Youth Recreation Committee. Mr. Norton also served as PTO President at Chapel-In-The-Gardens PCA School in Garden City, Georgia where his children attended. In 2009, Gary was elected to the Port Wentworth City Council and served until 2011 where he was successful in rezoning property on Highway 21 from Grange Road to Cargo Group from industrial to light industrial. 

Debbie Johnson | Mayor Pro Tem

912.856.9519 - Business Cell 

912.964.4379 - Office

  • Debbie Johnson is currently serving her second term as Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Port Wentworth. She is a single-mom and community advocate with a solid record of accomplishments. This is due to her ability to listen to the citizens and business owners of Port Wentworth and work together to accomplish community goals. She illustrates a unique understanding of how a community must constantly evolve to continue to meet the growing needs of the citizens. Ms. Johnson recognizes that as a leader, the officials elected by the citizens must be the voice of those citizens; the voice of those unheard individuals. She vows to continue to stand up for the basic fundamental rights and equality of all people she represents and will continue to make this her top priority.

    First Term Accomplishments:

    • One of the first African-American women elected to Port Wentworth City Council
    • Advocate for HB 109 - "Up-Skirting Bill" to make this violation of women a crime punishable by law
    • 2014 Alumni Speaker and tassel-turner for St. Leo University Commencement
    • 2015 AWWIN Award for Top Working Woman Honoree
    • 2016 Drum Major Award Honoree by Feed the Hungry Savannah
    • Member of National League of Cities, WIMG Constituency Group
    • Port Wentworth's Feed the Hungry Coordinator for both the annual Thanksgiving and Christmas Community Events
    • 2016 & 2017 Georgia Municipal Training Board member - 6 year term
    • Member of the Port Wentworth Chamber of Commerce
    • 15 year employee of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department
    • President of the Newport Home Owners Association
    • Member of the Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society
    • Master's Degrees in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology
    • North Central University Doctoral Candidate

Linda Smith | Council Member, At-Large 

912.856.9624 - Business Cell 

912.964.4379 - Office

  • Linda Watson Smith, was born on July 18, 1954 in Savannah, Georgia and is the daughter of the late Hilton Lloyd Watson and Nora Alice Watson. Linda attended public school in Savannah, Georgia and in Jacksonville, Florida. She is one of six siblings and is married to Eddie H. Smith. Linda has three children, Shonda Delk, Larry Mansfield, Jr., and Anthony Smith, and has lived in Port Wentworth since 1987.    
    Linda's working career has been mostly with Chatham County, where she was employed with the District Attorney's Office. Prior to working with the District Attorney, Linda graduated from Andrew Jackson High School in Jacksonville, Florida where she began working for University Hospital as a ward secretary in pediatrics. Linda also served on the Board of Zoning and Appeals and the Planning Commission for the City of Port Wentworth for 15 years and was named Citizen of the Year in 2016.  
    Today, Linda is retired from Chatham County but works part-time at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Savannah. She also serves on the Citizen Review Panel for Chatham County Juvenile Court and does volunteer work with Westview Nursing Home and the Ed Young Senior Citizen Center. Last but not least, Linda is very active in her church, First Baptist Church of Port Wentworth. There, she teaches and serves on several committees. Her faith and her Christian walk are of utmost importance to her. 

Shari Dyal | Council Member, District 1 

912.856.2251 - Business Cell 

912.964.4379 - Office

  • Shari Dyal attended Georgia Southern University where she studied accounting. She has been a Payroll Administrator with SouthCoast Health since April 2000. Shari serves in the Human Resources Department and also works closely with the Accounting Division. She is responsible for payroll administration for over 680 people; including the physicians, mid-level providers, managers, and all hourly employees. Shari is very involved in the administration of the 401K plan and is a member of the policy committee. She has been selected as Employee of the Quarter on two occasions. 
    In 2013, Shari married Alex Dyal and has lived in Port Wentworth since that time. Together they have 7 children and 8 grandchildren. They are members of St. Paul's Lutheran Evangelical Church, where over the years Mrs. Dyal has taught various ages in Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, as well as served on the Church Council and chairperson of the Evangelism Committee. Mrs. Dyal enjoys black & white photography and zigsaw puzzles, but most importantly loves spending time with her family.

Mark Stephens | Council Member, District 2

912.675.4151 - Business Cell 

912.964.4379 - Office

  • Mark Stephens, SSCP is a member of the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (aka (ISC)^2) and holds degrees in both Criminal Justice and Information Security and Assurance from Atlanta Metropolitan College & Kennesaw State University respectively.  He is responsible for helping to secure data and the networks of a multibillion dollar Global Aerospace Company by performing multiple roles within Information Security.  Mark currently holds several Information Technology certifications and in the past, has held technical certifications from organizations such as Cisco Systems, Palo Alto Networks and Microsoft.  Mr. Stephens moved to Port Wentworth in 2013 and enjoys traveling, discovering great music, researching Information Security and technical issues & spending time with his family.

Bill Herrin | Council Member, District 4

912.856.9428 - Business Cell 

912.964.4379 - Office

  • Bill Herrin has an earned degree from Georgia Southern University and is a 1996 retiree from the Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education. He was reared in Brunswick, Georgia, but later moved to Chatham County after serving in the United States Navy. While stationed at Guantanamo Bay Cuba (GTMO), Bill served as Base Organist for the Protestant and Catholic Services. During his stint in Cuba, his duties included serving on the Admiral Staff, working in the analytical department and teaching approximately 10 students per week to play the piano. Following his time served with the Navy, Bill came to Chatham County and taught in the Groves High School Choral and Business Math Departments.
    Upon retirement, his interest turned to helping seniors via the Senior Citizen Programs offered by the City of Port Wentworth. Mr. Bill also begin volunteering with his church and renewed old acquaintances. He believes in community service and visits the West View Nursing Home on a weekly basis.  In 2000, Bill's interests turned to city politics, which lead him to run for City Council where he won his seat and served a four year term. He took a a break from politics in 2004, but was reelected in 2006 and will finish his current term in 2019. Mr. Bill loves Port Wentworth, its history and the people he represents.  He looks forward to the continued growth in the City and working hard to beautify the downtown area.

Thomas Barbee | Council Member, At-Large 

912.856.0398 - Business Cell 

912.964.4379 - Office

  • Serving people and the community is Councilman Thomas Barbee's motto. He is a very familiar and friendly face to many residents of Port Wentworth. Born in Tennessee and raised in Indiana, he joined the United States Air Force in 1984 and retired in 2005 after 21 years of service. His work at the Pentagon along with decades of service ingrained a strong belief in accountability that guides him still and core values instilled by the Air Force “Integrity, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do”. Barbee moved to Port Wentworth in August 2011 and fell in love with the pulse of the community.

    In 2014, he accepted the appointment for Community Watch Chairmen of Rice Creek, working tirelessly alongside other leaders to create safer neighborhoods. He could see the potential for growth and opportunity and wanted to be a part of that growth. Barbee holds several college degrees, including a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management and two Associate degrees; Criminal Justice and Information Systems Technology from the Community College of the Air Force.
    Barbee leads by example, always in help mode. "Intentions are good but results count" is also his motto. A city is an ever changing community and he appreciates his neighbors for electing him to his seat.  He is happy with the progress that has been made, but optimistic that even more will be made in the future. For Barbee, there is no greater reward in public service than knowing that he helped to make a difference in his community!

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