This time, Statesboro has 57 applicants for the job of city manager, an increase of four applicants from the number received on the first try. With the relaunch of the search in March, more of an effort was made to reach out to the managers of similar-size Georgia cities, said city Human Resources Director Jeff Grant.
“The first week of June would be, tentatively, when we do the interviews with the first candidates,” he told City Council.
Grant made his brief report late in Tuesday morning’s council meeting, which was held in the Statesboro High School auditorium so that students could attend. Mayor Jan Moore, interim City Manager Robert Cheshire and the five council members sat at a table on stage, facing the audience.
Still working with the Norcross-based firm Slavin Management Consultants, Statesboro’s city government launched a new, national search for a permanent city manager in March. The first search netted 53 applications last fall, but after interviewing six selected applicants by videoconferencing, the mayor and council did not identify any finalists they wanted to hire and who still wanted the job. The new applications were received from March 11 until an April 15 deadline.
“On this search, a little bit different from the last, we did get about 57 candidates … and they’re from diverse backgrounds and from about 18 different states,” Grant said.
During the meeting, he said that more are from Georgia this time, but he clarified later Tuesday that there wasn’t a large increase. There are 17 Georgia applicants this time, but there were 16 from the first search, he said.
The search firm vetted the 57 applicants and sent questionnaires to the 15 to 20 considered best qualified, Grant told the council. The completed questionnaires were due Tuesday. Now Slavin Management Consultants is to choose the top 10 to 12 applicants and deliver information booklets on these to the council by Wednesday of next week. A consultant from the management firm is slated to attend the next council meeting, May 17, to discuss the applicants in closed session with council members, who will select four to six candidates, Grant said.
This time around, a special effort was made to reach out to Georgia cities with more than 25,000 people with information about the Statesboro manager’s position, Grant said after the meeting. Statesboro has a population of about 30,000, and Georgia cities tend to be either smaller or much larger, he said. He indicated that he is encouraged by the response.
“It shows that our recruitment efforts worked,” Grant said.
Wastewater and beer
The class bell had rung and the about 100 or fewer Statesboro High students who attended the meeting filed out before Grant’s report. These students also missed Water and Wastewater Director Van Collins presenting a proposed solution after Statesboro’s wastewater discharge violated federal limits on ammonia or nitrogen in February and March. The council unanimously authorized a $201,820 lease-purchase of a lime slurry system intended to increase the alkalinity of the water and reduce the amount of the nitrogen compounds. Collins reported that a trial run of this equipment quickly restored the city’s wastewater treatment plant to compliance in March.
But SHS students had been present when council heard and granted a request from BVT Enterprises and Darin Van Tassell, president of the new Statesboro Premier Development League franchise with its Tormenta FC semipro soccer team, for special event alcoholic beverages permits for five games.
The permits will allow locally brewed beer to be served in a seating area for deluxe ticket holders, without additional charge, during the Tormenta games at Georgia Southern University’s track stadium. Permits under the city’s old Alcoholic Beverages Ordinance were required for the beer, included in the ticket price, to be served at the first five games, May 21 until June 25, because the new alcohol ordinance enacted by council this spring does not take effect until July 1, explained lawyer Bob Mikell, who stood with Van Tassell in making the request.
With the audience available, the city also publicly recognized Statesboro Police Department personnel who previously received annual awards at a police force gathering. Advanced Patrol Officer Kyle Briley was recognized as 2015 Officer of the Year, Officer Jennifer Strosnider as Rookie of the Year, Detective II Kevin Weatherly as Detective of the Year, Sgt. Jake Saxon as Supervisor of the Year, Communications Officer Charita Foy as Support Person of the Year, and Code Enforcement Officer Mike Chappell as Top Gun for achieving a perfect 300 score on the firing range.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.