The City of Statesboro will not have a definitive plan regarding the future of its city manager position for at least two more months, according to Mayor Joe Brannen and members of council.
The city has yet to officially announce when and if the position will be advertised, or who will fill it, said Brannen.
According to the mayor, "council will have to decide whether or not to advertise at some point," but, "right now, nothing is going on."
A decision on advertising the position, and the means by which a permanent city manager will be found, should be known as early as March.
With the long-term future of the position unknown, Statesboro will continue to look to Interim City Manager Frank Parker to fill the role.
The developer and former city councilman was offered the interim job by council after the resignation under fire of former city manager Shane Haynes in September. Parker was deemed a cost-saving, temporary replacement to help stabilize city issues.
"Around the first of March, I do plan to send out advertisements and begin the search for a permanent city manager," said Councilman Travis Chance. Since the process can take several months to complete, we want to begin early and have as many qualified candidates as possible. Our ideal plan is to have a full-time city manager in place by July 1."
"The plan is to not really do anything until March," said Councilman Will Britt. "At that point, we're going to look at our options."
When discussion regarding the position makes its way to council, members will decide whether the city hires an outside firm to locate potential suitors or handles the search internally.
"I do not believe we will hire a firm to search for someone," said Britt. "I feel we have a very competent human resources manager that could advertise and find qualified people. It's hard to pay a firm $20,000 when you have not been able to provide raises or anything of the sort to staff."
Parker accepted a 30-day rolling contract for $3,000 a month. Following the initial 30-day term, and amid a second, the Statesboro City Council voted in November to extend Parker's renewable contract to six months, and offer a raise.
The new contract, effective beginning in January, awards the city manager an additional $1,000 a month and extends the term until June.
"Things are going well, and we wanted to put him in a long-term contract with a salary increase," said Brannen. "We feel he is doing a good job as interim city manager."
If considered for the position when his current contract is out, Parker said he would entertain the possibility of continuing to work as city manager.
"The job has been very fulfilling," he said. "Several council members and department heads have asked me to stay on beyond June. I would certainly sit down and discuss it with them if that's what they'd like me to do."
According to council, several qualifying factors will be examined before a final decision is rendered on any permanent employee.
"I would like to see someone in that position who is very articulate, capable and competent," said Chance. "We need someone with a master's degree in public administration or business administration, and at least 5 to 10 years of full-time city manager experience. I feel this city deserves and really needs a person who can hit the ground running."
"The goal will be to find a city manager that immediately works well with our group of elected officials," said Britt. "I would like to make sure our council clearly agreed on the individual and supported him or her."
Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454