County administrator interviews set for Monday

February 15, 2014 9:49:25 PM

Carl Smith - [email protected]


Supervisors will continue their search for a new county administrator Monday by interviewing five finalists but it is unknown if the board will either make a selection or continue narrowing the field. 


The board meets 9 a.m. at the county courthouse. Supervisors narrowed the candidate pool to five finalists in February: Oktibbeha County Comptroller Emily Garrard, Union County Administrator Terry Johnson, former Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill, Adcare Healthcare Regional Vice President John Thomas and Ivory Williams, Jackson's former deputy housing and community development director. 


Supervisors Orlando Trainer and John Montgomery both said they were unsure if the board would reach a consensus for a hire or continue narrowing the field to two or three candidates. Both said they'd like to get a hire in place soon to end the search. 


Board members have repeatedly called the search process an informal one since former administrator Don Posey retired in December. 


It is also unknown if Monday's interviews will be conducted in executive session. Supervisors previously hinted at holding the question-and-answer sessions behind closed doors, thereby preventing the public from listening in on the interviews, after at least one candidate expressed concern over the matter and how it relates to his or her current job. 


Starkville aldermen, in comparison, recently held interviews for its previously vacant chief administrative officer, city clerk and police chief positions in regular sessions open to the public. 


"My preference is to do them like the city did. We told candidates that they could be interviewed in the public. They'll be prepared for whatever," Trainer said. 


Posey retired in December after serving as county administrator since 1996. The board absorbed many of his primary job functions. 


Garrard has served as the county's comptroller since 2002. She earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Mississippi State University. 


Johnson became Union County's administrator and inventory clerk in 1999 after working 16 years with the Mississippi State Auditor's Office. He holds an accounting degree from the University of Mississippi. 


Spruill held Starkville's highest appointed management position from 2005 until she was relieved by aldermen in July. She holds a law degree and a master's degree in public administration from Georgia State University.  


Thomas currently serves in his role as regional manager for the health system.

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