New downtown manager search begins - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New downtown manager search begins

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The search for a new downtown manager got underway in earnest Monday when city leaders sat down with a consultant.

ADICA Board members made their criteria clear: someone with experience and without a criminal background. They hope to avoid a repeat of the Don Buie fiasco.

It appears that history has taught a lesson to Inner city Authority Board Members. After former Director Don Buie was indicted and convicted on theft charges, it's clear that the board wants someone with impeccable character.

The consultant they've brought in to look for a new manager says he has a "no surprises" policy.

The process is just beginning to hire a new downtown manager and ADICA Director. But before any candidates are hired, City commissioners and ADICA board members are giving input on the qualities they want in a new leader.

David Prisant said, "I want a downtown director who can energize the community toward making the kind of change this community needs to restore downtown to restore downtown to a viable existence."

One by one, ADICA board members explained what they would like to see in a new manager. Integrity, honesty, experience, were all at the top of the list. Consultant Jim Mercer was taking notes. He said, "I think someone who's a really good communicator, who is transparent, whose background is impeccable, who can build relationships with all the stakeholders that need to be built in order to be successful."

Mercer says he has a "no surprises" policy. He does his best to check out every minute detail about the person he's recommending to an organization, so that no stone is unturned. Mercer said, "We don't want some information to come out about our placement later on that none of us knew anything about because typically surprises like that are not pleasant surprises."

Surprises like previous federal convictions that were never disclosed, like in the case of former ADICA director Don Buie who is now serving time in the Dougherty County jail for theft of funds.

Mercer said, "So we try to do everything we can to avoid those. It's not good for the client, it's not good for our firm."

But in addition to cleaning up the reputation of the ADICA board, by hiring an upstanding director, this group also wants to see downtown truly revitalized. Prisant said, "We're always going to have a downtown and to just discard it because, 'well, I don't care anymore', is not acceptable." Not giving up on downtown, but giving it a second chance, again.

City commissioners also met with the consultant Monday to express their concerns and desires for a new downtown manager. The Mercer group will actively seek recruits for about six to eight weeks and then select a pool of candidates.

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