Administrator to be under probationary review for six months

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The county commission has chosen a new administrator in McKenzie Wilson, but there will still be six months for the commission to observe how Wilson performs in the role.

“I’m not sure if people are aware that any new hire, including county administrator, starts on a six-month probationary period,” said chairman Robin Sullivan.

The policy, found in the county handbook, explains the purpose of the policy:

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“The probationary period is considered an integral part of the training and evaluation process for each new employee and will be utilized by his/her appointing authority to closely observe the employee’s work, to obtain the most effective adjustment of employee, and to separate any new employee who is considered to be unacceptable for continued employment.”

Wilson has already been serving in the position on an interim basis since former administrator Harry Sanders stepped down from the position in March.

Her probationary period has now begun after being named county administrator Monday night by a 4-2 vote of the commission.

In the final 10 days of the probationary period, “the appointing authority will complete a written evaluation of the employee’s work. The evaluation will include a statement that the employee’s service has been satisfactory and that he/she is being retained as a regular status classified or part-time employee, as the case may be. If the employee receives an unacceptable evaluation, the evaluation will include a statement that the individual is not being retained.”

Wilson was one of two final candidates for the position along with Dr. LaKerri Mack, a Troy University professor and former board president for the Boys and Girls Club of Pike and Surrounding Counties.

Commissioners stalemated on the two candidates twice, coming to 3-3 votes on each candidate for the position. Commissioners disagreed about which candidate was best suited for the role, so Wilson’s performance will be under scrutiny as the commission determines whether she is indeed the right person to serve in the role.

Dianna Bascomb, president of the Pike County NAACP, expressed concerns to the commission prior to the second tie vote about its process to vet candidates, a lack of criteria and no method to break a tie.

County Attorney Allen Jones said the commission handled the process appropriately and conducted the search professionally.

There are certain criteria laid out in the job description for position.

Required knowledge, skills and abilities include comprehensive knowledge of the Code of Alabama as it relates to county operations; of county finance manual requirements; of county rules, regulations, policies and procedures; of county government finance and administration, including national laws affecting the operation of the county.