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County manager search continues


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent 

  The search for the next permanent county manager continues, with about 55 people from across the United States having submitted applications for the post.

  The Henry County Board of Commissioners contracted with the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia to conduct the search, which began in September. Members of the Institute’s staff have already been working to screen all of the initial applicants and narrow the field since the closing date for applications was reached Nov. 25.

  The Institute will submit a list of the most qualified candidates to the Board of Commissioners for final review, according to a county spokesperson. That list is not expected to contain any specific number of candidates, but it will be a “manageable” list from which the final choice can be made.

  The county’s contract with the Institute expires before the end of 2013, so it is expected that the candidate list will be submitted to the county before then.

  The details for the process beyond that has not been made known, and there is no set timeline for choosing a new county manager, although a county spokesperson said the commissioners will likely want to act as quickly as can reasonably be expected. It is also not known for certain whether the commissioners will personally interview every candidate recommended by the Carl Vinson Institute, although that is a possibility.

  No one from the Institute has come in person to update the commissioners on the process at an official meeting since the search began. A county spokesperson did confirm that the search has been nationwide, and that applications have been received from across the United States.

  The Board of Commissioners met Aug. 12 for a special called meeting to announce that county manager Fred Auletta would assume the position of finance director, which had been vacant for several months.

  Auletta had been county manager since early 2012, when he replaced Butch Sanders. At the time Auletta was the sitting District II commissioner, and Brian Preston was named to fill that seat, to which he won re-election later that year.

  Although it didn’t happen officially until August, Auletta’s move to finance director was announced in June. Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom-my Smith said at the time that the move was not forced and would be a positive one for Auletta, who had been undergoing cancer treatments for several months up to that point.

  Smith said in June that Auletta would stay in the county manager’s office until a permanent replacement was found, but the board changed course in August and made the move, appointing planning & zoning services division director Michael Harris to be the interim county manager.

  Harris is a 15-year county employee who has served in several positions during his tenure. As division director, he oversaw five departments: planning and zoning; transportation planning; geographical information systems; environmental compliance and plan review; and building permits and inspections.

  The county manager typically operates under a one-year contract that is rolled over automatically unless the Board of Commissioners takes specific action otherwise. Harris is not under contract in his interim role, and it has not been revealed whether he is an applicant for the permanent job.



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