City Manager's resignation fuels talk of consolidation - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

City Manager's resignation fuels talk of consolidation

November 10, 2004

Albany - Embattled Albany City Manager Janice Allen Jackson announced Wednesday she is resigning. Her contract ends December 31st, and she will not attempt to stay on the job any longer.

Jackson would not comment on why she's leaving or on her future plans. In March, commissioners refused to renew her contract because some felt she was doing a poor job. A month later, they renewed the deal but only through the end of the year. Also, all commissioners rated her poor to moderate in a job evaluation.

Still, city department heads say she'll be missed. "We have mixed feelings," said Public Works Director Phil Roberson. "I think I speak for all the department heads we I say, we certainly enjoyed working with this city manager. But, we respect her wishes and her desires to move on. I know she'll land on her feet and do well."

Jackson's resignation letter stated she'll interview applicants for the assistant city manager position. Last year, some commissioners were outraged when Jackson didn't hire an assistant city manager but instead promoted a current city employee to a position called the assistant to the city manager.

Jackson was hired in 1996 after serving as assistant city manager for three years.

With the city manager leaving and the Albany police chief position vacant, now could be a prime time to consider consolidating the city and county. Tuesday, a study committee unanimously recommended consolidation. Now, city and county commissioners are waiting to hear why.

News of Jackson's resignation surprised some city and county commissioners., but city commissioner Bo Dorough says the city manager and Albany police chief vacancies shouldn't affect the decision to consolidate the city and county.

"Consolidation is bigger than any one or two people or filling a couple of vacancies. The city needs a city manager and police chief. I'm sure we will fill those positions before consolidation will get to the voters," Dorough said.

Consolidation is one step closer to getting to the voters. A committee appointed to study the pros and cons of unification will recommend consolidation to city and county commissioners. Commissioners we talked to are anxious to hear the study results.

"I think consolidation would make for a more efficient government," said Dorough.

County commissioner Lamar Hudgins, "We have no clue what the government would look like, so it would be difficult to make a decision if you were for it or against it."

Hudgins and Dorough aren't sure how much money could be saved. Consolidation committee members say $2-million. But, the commissioners say it could help the community receive more grant money and make government more efficient.

"I could see how a combined effort would be more efficient than the county going out for a grant for this and the city going after a grant for that," said Hudgins.

"It would end the natural dissension between the city and county; what are your priorities and responsibilities, what are our priorities and responsibilities," Dorough said.

For now, the priority of city and county leaders is to review the study findings so they can tell citizens the information they need to know to make a ultimate decision about consolidation.

The consolidation committee hopes to give a final report to city and county commissioners by Thanksgiving. The commissions, the voters, and the general assembly would all have to approve consolidation which could take up to a year and half.

Posted at 4:20PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com

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