Commission seeking new county administrator

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

After 16 years, County Administrator Harry Sanders is retiring and the county commission must now seek someone to fill his shoes.

The commission voted unanimously Monday to begin advertising the opening as soon as March 1, but the vote didn’t come without discussion.

“I’m open to advertising the job, but I would oppose setting an arbitrary deadline for when we had to hire,” said Chad Copeland, District 4 commissioner. “We don’t need to set an arbitrary deadline that we will have to hire whoever is there. We need to find the right fit for the job.”

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Charlie Harris, District 5 commissioner, made the motion to begin the advertising and said he wasn’t concerned with setting a deadline for making a hire, but wanted to get the process started as soon as possible.

Sanders, having gone through the process 16 years ago, advised the commission that they should advertise for resumes to be sent in and then evaluate the next step once the advertising is completed.

“My thought is, without giving a hard fast date, the earlier the better; we’re trying to get this process started sooner than later,” Sanders said. “… It seems to me we don’t know at this point whether you’ll get a large amount of applications or just one or two. You can wait until you get more clarity. Let that be as far as you go at this point would be my recommendation.”

The county administrator oversees day-to-day operations of the county, prepares the annual budget and sometimes brings contracts, ordinances and resolutions before the commissioners.

Sanders officially retires on March 22 and no administrator will be able to be hired until at least March 31, and there is no deadline for a new administrator to be named.

With that in mind, chairman Robin Sullivan said it is his opinion that the commission should name an interim administrator to fulfill those duties until a permanent replacement can be decided. “It’s my personal opinion that we would be better served to have an interim administrator,” he said.

However, he said he does not believe it is required by law to appoint an administrator in the interim.

In other business, the commission:

• Heard from Clay Stewart of NCIC Inmate Communications Services, who said his business could triple the county’s revenue on inmate phone calls without any cost to the county, the inmates or their families.

• Heard from Donald A. Smith, Chambers County EMA Director, on how Chambers County merged EMA and the 911 Board for cost-sharing purposes.

• Approved for interim EMA Director Herb Reeves to submit an Emergency Management Performance Grant application for 2018.

• Declared three items surplus for the Road Department and granted medical leave to a department employee.

• Discussed an upcoming program that the county could potentially partner with to clean up litter in the county.

• Voted unanimously to continue charging the maximum levy on alcohol licenses.

• Voted unanimously to renew a contract with Arrow Disposal for the county’s disposal services.

• Voted unanimously to classify two revenue commission office employees full-time.

The county recessed their meeting to noon today, Wednesday, Feb. 28, to address the last item on their agenda simply titled the “Red Fox Project.” This is the economic development project that the county has been working on with the State under amendment 772 of the Code of Alabama. The commission will release the details of the project at the meeting, discuss the project and vote on whether to enter a project agreement.

The commission also set March 26 as the date of a vote on whether they will allow Lockheed Martin to absorb 2.7 miles of County Road 7717. Lockheed representatives and nearby residents spoke out prior to the meeting Monday.

The commission meeting today will be upstairs at the Pike County Health Department.