January 6, 2014 9:29:46 AM
From current and former government administrators to doctoral student and fast food restaurant manager, Oktibbeha County's current list of county administrator applicants is comprised of people with a wide array of backgrounds.
Thirty-two people have applied for the vacant position. Former administrator Don Posey retired in December, taking with him almost 20 years of institutional knowledge and leadership.
County supervisors have yet to map out the process in which to fill Posey's position, but board President Orlando Trainer said they could broach the issue at today's 9 a.m. meeting.
Until the board names a successor, most of the administrator's job functions will be absorbed by county staff, Trainer said.
Numerous candidates, including former Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill, Oktibbeha County Comptroller Emily Garrard, Union County Administrator Terry Johnson and former Hinds County Administrator Vern Gavin, have held or currently hold positions similar to the vacant job.
Spruill held Starkville's highest appointed management position in city government from 2005 until she was relieved by the board of aldermen in July. She holds a law degree and a master's degree in public administration from Georgia State University.
Garrard has served as the county's comptroller since 2002. She earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Mississippi State University.
Gavin, who resides in Clinton, served Hinds County from 2008-2010 where he managed 18 departments and about 1,300 employees.
Johnson became Union County's administrator and inventory clerk in December 1999 after working for 16 years with the Mississippi State Auditor's Office. He holds an accounting degree from the University of Mississippi.
Starkville Municipal Court Administrator Tony Rook also applied for the county administrator's job. He has served in his capacity since 1999 and holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from MSU. Rook previously served with both Starkville Police Department and Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department.
Other applicants with experience in municipal or county governance include: Ivory Williams, Jackson's former deputy chief administrator for external funding and deputy director of housing and community development; and Stephanie Coleman, a former lobbyist and mayor's office coordinator for Jackson.
Three Starkville residents with ward representation ties also applied. They are former Ward 2 Alderman Thomas Prentice, former Ward 4 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas and former Ward 4 Democratic candidate John Gaskin.
Other applicants: John Thomas, a regional vice president of operations with Adcare Healthcare Management; Edward McGinnis, a unit controller with Aramark Higher Education - MSU; Fred Allen, a certified public accountant who lobbied for New Light Road pavement projects; Roger Burlingame, a division president of Ceco Building Systems in Columbus; Tyavedia Wilson, who has a human resources background with the U.S. Army Reserve; Norris Bishop, a former supervisor at Capital One Finance in Plano, Texas; Holly Springs Public Works Director Michael Crittle; Lakisha Thompson, an insurance broker/financial advisor; LaKesha Gamble, the former associate director for the Gardner-Simmons Home for Girls; Moses Sanders, a former production administrator and training supervisor with Griffin West Point LLC; TaLiah Hasan, a bond enforcement agent; former Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cecillia Derrington; Shane Aguirre, the CFO of Montgomery Enterprises Inc. of Fulton, which operates 20 check advance and title loan stores in Mississippi and Alabama; April Jeffries, a sales assistant; Kenneth Jones, a projects officer with the Mississippi Secretary of State's Office; Kimberly Bracey, a former deputy tax clerk for Hinds County; James Covington, former Oktibbeha County School District superintendent who was in charge of the system when it was taken over by the state; Tameka McKinney, a customer service representative with Ashley Furniture in Saltillo; Dustin Goley, an assistant vice president/branch manager with Regions Bank in Biloxi; Patrick Clayborn, a manager at Bojangle' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits; Michael Cliburn, a US Foods employee; and OCH Regional Medical Center Chief Information Technology Officer and Director of Information Technology Services Chamath Wijewardane.
"We don't have a set protocol, but we, as a board, can determine where we go next. We need to talk about the process, nail down the shortlist and then maybe decide on interviews," Trainer said Sunday. "We're in no rush right now, but the position can't sit vacant for an extreme amount of time."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
1. Shifting to local: Coffee shop rebrands after getting new owner COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Murder, arson case ends in mistrial COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. Marriages and divorces 12-1-16 BUSINESS