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County administrator candidates down to three

 

AdCare Healthcare Regional Vice President John Thomas, background, interviews with the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors on Feb. 17. Monday, Thomas voluntarily removed his name from contention for the vacant county administrator position. Supervisors are expected to continue discussing the search process 5:30 p.m. March 17.

AdCare Healthcare Regional Vice President John Thomas, background, interviews with the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors on Feb. 17. Monday, Thomas voluntarily removed his name from contention for the vacant county administrator position. Supervisors are expected to continue discussing the search process 5:30 p.m. March 17.
Photo by: Carl Smith/Dispatch Staff

 

 

Carl Smith

 

AdCare Healthcare Regional Vice President John Thomas became the second candidate to pull out of the Oktibbeha County administrator search when he voluntarily removed his name from the running Monday. 

 

He announced his intentions through a letter presented by board Vice President John Montgomery. In the letter, Thomas thanked supervisors for their consideration and wished them luck with the search. 

 

During public interviews last month, Thomas told supervisors he was interested in the vacant position because of travel requirements with his current job. After Monday's meeting, Thomas confirmed his company was adjusting his travel schedule in the future. 

 

"I've decided since the interview that it's best for me to stay put," he said. "There are no hard feelings." 

 

The applicant pool decreased last month when Union Count Administrator Terry Johnson also removed his name from contention before his scheduled public interview. Supervisors did not immediately give a reason for the move, but it is believed that he dropped out because interviews were to be held in public and not during executive session. 

 

Thomas and the three remaining candidates -- Oktibbeha County Comptroller Emily Garrard, former Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill and Ivory Williams, a former bureaucrat with Jackson and Hattiesburg -- all answered questions during the board's Feb. 17 interview session. 

 

Supervisors did not name a preferred candidate then. Instead, they opted to continue discussions on March 17 since District 3 Supervisor Marvel Howard and District 5 Supervisor Joe Williams were absent from Monday's 5:30 p.m. meeting. 

 

A public hearing on the county's ongoing comprehensive planning efforts will follow the meeting at 6 p.m. The county's hearing notice encourages all residents, business owners and interested parties, including residents of Starkville, Maben and Sturgis, to attend the planning meeting. 

 

It is unknown if the board will continue narrowing the candidate pool or make a hire on March 17. Supervisors could choose to go behind closed doors that day to discuss the personnel move. District 2 Supervisor and board President Orlando Trainer has repeatedly referred to the search process as an informal one without set deadlines or guidelines. 

 

Former County Administrator Don Posey, who took the job in 1996, retired from his post Dec. 20, leaving behind a career serving Oktibbeha County residents under five different boards of supervisors.

 

Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch

 

 

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