January 12, 2014 1:40:56 AM
Oktibbeha County's search for a new county administrator is expected to last through February as supervisors use an informal process to hone a list of more than 30 applicants to five or so preferred candidates.
In next week's meeting, supervisors are expected to present their top five candidates and then vote on a shortlist. Interviews are expected to be held with the remaining candidates in February. The board has yet to set a date for its next meeting, but supervisors usually meet either the third Monday or Thursday of the month at the county courthouse.
The county's chief administrative position became vacant when former administrator Don Posey retired in December, taking with him almost 20 years of institutional knowledge and leadership. Posey's former job functions have been absorbed by the board during the vacancy.
Both board President Orlando Trainer and Vice President John Montgomery described the next few steps toward hiring a new administrator as an informal one.
"Everybody will submit their five. If a person's name is submitted more than once, we'll peg that name," Trainer said. "We may interview up to five people -- the top five vote-getters are the most logical -- unless the board decides to change the process.
"There's no time frame, but we understand that we need to move along at a pretty good pace and not drag this out," he added.
Thirty-two people have applied for the position, 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.
Other applicants with experience in municipal or county governance include: Tony Rook, Starkville's municipal court administrator; 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 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas, and former Ward 4 Democratic candidate John Gaskin.
"Looking at those resumes, you have quite a few with a strong background in governance," Trainer said. "Now it's time to bring them to the table and see what they can provide for the county."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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