Commission says Lott should do hiring -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Commission says Lott should do hiring

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Albany City commission tentatively voted Tuesday to require the city manager to hire department heads rather than leaving it to head hunters. This comes on the heels of Don Buie's criminal history not being revealed in a search by Slavin Management Consultants.

One commissioner also wants to change how much control the city has over Inner City Authority Board members, and we learned more about deals Don Buie made with property owners that never followed through on.

More promises made that won't be delivered by Don Buie. Tuesday, we found out that he promised more facade grants to people who planned on opening up businesses downtown, but now that isn't happening.

Real Estate Developer Bob Brooks said he wanted to rehabilitate property on Front Street, but that it's all at a standstill now that the façade grants are frozen. A bar was set to go in the old Hubbles restaurant, but the operator says Buie promised her a $50,000 check for façade work, and never delivered, and now she won't be able to do the construction on the building as planned.

Commissioner Roger Marietta says the city might not be in such a bad situation if Buie had never been hired. He said, "I wanted to sue Slavin and anyone else affilliated with Slavin that lead us to this $100,000 loss."

Slavin Management consultants charged thousands of dollars to help place top leaders for the city of Albany. But the Buie contract was done through ADICA, so the city attorney says that board would need to sue.

Slavin also selected city Manager Al Lott and his two assistants. The firm was supposed to also do an extensive background search, but the seven years Slavin searched did not reveal Buie's extensive criminal history.

That's why Commissioner Bob Langstaff made a motion to no longer use that company until further notice.  He said, "One is public perception. I don't think the public has confidence in Slavin and I've lost confidence in them too."

Langstaff's motion was voted down, but a substitute motion by commissioner Jon Howard for the city manager to do his own hiring and background checks, without a headhunter, tentatively passed. 

Marietta said, "There two good things about that. It saves us roughtly between $8,000 and $10,000 per position. Plus, the city manager knows he's directly accountable because he did the actual hiring."

Commissioner Marietta also passed out a draft resolution that would give the city commission the ability to dismiss ADICA board members they feel aren't doing a good job.  He said, "Would add the sentence that they serve at the pleasure of the city commission, which means in the future, if something goes bad, that we can remove somebody."

Of course, that resolution would have to pass a vote by the city commission and the General Assembly before it became active.

We should learn more about other promises and leases Don Buie made with business owners tomorrow at a special called meeting of the ADICA board.

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