Hiram Council Targets Interim City Manager Prospects
Councilmembers say position should be filled ASAP
The job of Hiram’s interim city manager could be filled in the near future.
The Hiram City Council met for a called meeting Monday and voted in favor of authorizing Mayor Doris Devey to negotiate an agreement with one of three candidates under consideration for the job
During the preceding discussion, all councilmen agreed that the position should be filled as soon as possible. Three candidates under consideration include Billy Beckett, recommended by the Georgia Municipal Association; David Carmichael, a board member of the Paulding County Airport Authority, and Paulding County resident Terry Johnson.
Beckett is favored by the council for his résumé that includes experience as both an interim city manager and a city manager. Councilmen voted 4-1 to negotiate a contract with Beckett, subject to review by City Attorney Glen Stinson and by the council. According to City Clerk Cynthia Geyer, Beckett, if selected, would serve 60 to 90 days or longer, but would not later be among candidates considered for the permanent position.
Some concern was expressed during Monday's meeting that Beckett’s offer of services would not involve sufficient on-site time and that he should be asked to commit to three days a week in Hiram. Councilwoman Kathy Bookout cast the opposing vote and also raised additional concerns, which she disclosed in a prepared statement. Bookout cited that prior to the completion of an audit that’s currently ongoing, the city’s financial position is unknown.
“[Beckett] has asked to be paid . . . $340 a day for eight weeks, but he’s only willing to work three days a week, which is only 24 days in eight weeks with flexible hours. He indicated some of the work can be handled outside the office … In my opinion the Interim City Manager needs to be present to manage the city. We cannot afford to pay for this type of service at this time,” Bookout said in the statement, and added that another option would be instead to have the mayor or someone on the council serve in the position.
In February, the council approved a measure to amend the city charter to allow for the addition of a city manager to the payroll. The amendment to the city charter then was required to be submitted as a piece of legislation before state lawmakers—it went before the Georgia General Assembly and received its approval, and Gov. Nathan Deal signed the piece of legislation soon thereafter.
Councilmen Monday also considered two other staffing matters. The first measure was approved to allow City Operations Manager Jody Palmer to recruit, interview and hire a maintenance worker position in the Public Works department. The council voted 4-1 in favor with Bookout opposed. Technically, Bookout said, per the city charter, that task would be handled by a city manager.
Stinson advised that in the absence of a city manager, or interim city manager, the council could authorize Palmer to perform the task.
A final agenda item to consider authorizing Palmer to recruit and hire a subcontractor to provide cleaning services for Ben Hill Strickland Sr. Memorial Park during weekends to maintain the park during high volumes of use was then tabled by the council until its next regular meeting in June.
Monday’s meeting was the third session for the council this month and councilmen will convene again for a work session prior to June's regular meeting.