• 75°

New county administrator seizes chance

to ‘give back’

By JAINE TREADWELL

Features Editor

The search for a new county administrator ended Monday night when the Pike County Commission voted to hire a native son, Harry Sanders, to fill the position.

Sanders was at home listening for – hoping for – but not really expecting the phone to ring when Pike County Commission Chairperson Karen Berry called with the news that he was the commissioners’ choice for the job.

The newly appointed administrator was at the Pike County Courthouse almost before the doors opened Tuesday, excited and anxious to get the first day on the job under his belt.

"This means more to me than a job," the Hamilton Crossroads resident said. "This is an opportunity for me to give something back to the county that has been home to me all of my life except for one year. I owe this county and its people so much and I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to work at home and for home folks. I am grateful that the commissioners had enough confidence in me to give me this opportunity."

Sanders is a native of Goshen and a graduate of Troy State University. He and his wife, Becky, chose to live at Hamilton Crossroads because she teaches at Mixon Elementary School in Ozark and he, for 21 years, worked at Sony in Dothan.

When Sony downsized a couple of years ago, Sanders said he had the chance to take a "package" deal with the company, so he did, came home and went to work with Pike Fabrication at the crossroads.

When the county administrator’s job came open, Sanders said he decided to apply. "Although I don’t have experience in public administration I believe I can provide sound management for the county," he said. "Whether it’s in the private sector or the public, sound management is sound management."

On his first day as county administrator, Sanders said he had already learned one thing.

"I’ve got a lot to learn," he said, with a smile. "I hope to learn quickly and I will work hard to do that because Pike County is on the verge of a lot of growth. With new industries locating in the county and the economy seemingly on the upswing, good things lie ahead for us and we have to be prepared. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and go to work. I’ve got a great staff to work with. I can tell that already."

Sanders said the county administrator is responsible for the county’s organizational, management, budget and administrative operations and works under the policies established by the commission.

"I am looking forward to working with the commissioners and getting to know them and them getting to know me," he said. "I expect us to have a good working relationship and I’ll do everything I can to make that happen."

The county administrator oversees the county’s budget, which is more than $8 million annually, and also handles payroll and bookkeeping.

"This job will offer a lot of challenges and it almost seems overwhelming," Sanders said, but adding, confidently, "It’s going to be all right."