Wednesday, July 9 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) - Augusta Commissioners started interviews for the next City Administrator on Wednesday morning.
There will be no final decision made today because the city said, by law, it has to wait 14 days.
Former City of Albany Manager Janice Allen-Jackson is the first to be interviewed for the position. Jackson said she worked as a problem solver in Albany, Georgia merging city departments. She also said she worked in Albany during the floods and worked to evacuate thousands in 1994 and 1998.
She told Commissioners she is comfortable dealing with racial issues and that a better relationship with the media can change the perception of Augusta.
"I also recognize that nobody wants to pay more in taxes. Let's look at some more alternatives before we decide that the tax increase is the way that we have to go," she said. "I would like for the public to be able to say that they hired somebody that is competent and she runs a government that I'm proud of."
Assistant Macon City Manager Steve Layson will interview for the job on Wednesday. This link will take you to his LinkedIn profile. He's the Chief Administrative Officer for Bibb County, Georgia. He spent a year in Jones County as an County Administrator. He also served as a chairman on the Putnam County Board of Commissioners for 11 years.
Layson mentioned his work in Bibb County to put employees on a higher pay scale.
"Your issues would be a little bit different and to a different degree, I need to learn what those are. We are in the people's business," he said. "There are so many commonalities that I can step right in and feel at home. It's just learning a new cast of characters and your issues here will be different."
The third candidate is Oscar Rodriguez spending nearly two years in Taos, New Mexico as a city manager. This link will take you to his LinkedIn profile.
Oscar Rodriguez spoke about his interest in organizing more events in Downtown Augusta.
"One of the the basic things as administrator is you want to make sure what your authorized to spend is truly what you need," he said. "I'm not political. I don't have my own mission or anything. I try to do the best job i can and make a difference."
Leaders started meeting with candidates 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. Former deputy administrator Tameka Allen temporarily filled in the position since Fred Russell was let go in December. Allen did not apply for the job.
News 12 City Government Reporter Ryan Houston is live tweeting the interviews. Follow him @RyanWRDW.
Commissioners have said they're looking for someone with several years experience managing a government similar to Augusta's size.
Here is the law pertaining to the decision that can only be made 14 days from now:
"Appointment of the executive head. Records that would identify all of the applicants for the position of executive head of an agency [such as city administrator] may be withheld until up to three finalists are selected, unless the public has had access to the application and interview process. Fourteen days prior to the final decision, the names and application materials of as many as three finalists must be made available to the public upon request, unless the applicant no longer seeks the position. However, the city may be required to provide information regarding the number of applicants and the race and gender of those applicants."