By Monroe Roark
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
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.