Public interviews for CAO candidates begin today

January 7, 2014 9:40:13 AM

Carl Smith - [email protected]


Starkville aldermen will interview the three finalists for the city's vacant chief administrative officer position beginning at 4 p.m. in the City Hall courtroom. 


Three candidates -- Taylor Adams, Starkville's city clerk and finance director; Michael Anderson, a regional broadband coordinator with Mississippi's Extension Broadband Education and Adoption Team (e-BEAT); and Andrew Ellard, an employee of Hattiesburg's Community Development Division and Department of Federal and State Programs -- emerged as finalists last month for the position formerly held by Lynn Spruill. 


The interviews are set for 30 minutes each. They are open to the public. 


Aldermen are slated to consider hiring one of the candidates later in the 5:30 p.m. board meeting.  


The position became vacated when aldermen ousted Spruill in July without stating a motive. Although all Starkville department heads were up for reappointment then, she was the only employee not sent back to work by the new board. 


Twenty-two candidates applied for the position, Personnel Director Randy Boyd said in December. Aldermen previously began the process to fill the position in late November when the board retooled the position's salary and job description. Starkville's new CAO is slated to receive a salary grade 19 pay scale of $71,804-$95,562. The raise, Ward 5 Alderman Scott Maynard previously told The Dispatch, was implemented to make the position more competitive. Spruill's salary did not eclipse the $70,000 mark. 


Adjusted job functions include providing oversight for city departments, facilitating internal communication and managing grants and special funding not specific to individual departments. The incoming CAO will also perform other duties as assigned by the board or mayor. 


Adams joined the city in 2012 after the board of aldermen renamed the city clerk's position to "Director of Finance/City Clerk" and increased its pay scale from a grade 15 to a grade 18. Former City Clerk Markeeta Outlaw, who served with the city for almost 30 years, retired on June 1 of that year.  


He holds a business administration degree from MSU and a master's degree in the same discipline from Holt International Business School Adams was the 2011 Mississippi Association of Governmental Purchasing and Property Agents president and 2012 Mississippi Purchasing Manager of the Year award recipient. 


Adams has more than 13 years of management experience in sales, purchasing, public service and finance. 


Anderson holds a bachelor's and master's degree from Mississippi State University. He is currently pursuing a doctorate from the university. A previous Decatur alderman, he now serves as one of six coordinators to implement the governor's broadband initiative. 


His career spans 30 years of management positions. 


Ellard received a bachelor's degree in public affairs management from Indiana University and a master's degree in administration from Central Michigan University. He has 12 years of experience in management, communications and finance. 


Besides comments from elected officials and approval of a claims docket, the potential hire is the only other agenda item not listed as a consent agenda item, but any alderman can remove items from consent prior to the regular session.

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