ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Interim City Manager Tom Berry wants Lonnie Ballard to be the next City Manager.
Berry made the announcement Thursday afternoon, saying that Lonnie Ballard will be brought in as Deputy City Manager, which is a new position. Commissioners plan to ratify the contract during their meeting Tuesday.
Berry says Ballard is his choice for city manger, but he has not been promised the position. "I wouldn't bring him if I didn't support him to be city manager. So he certainly has my vote, but I don't vote. That is a commission's decision," said Berry.
The commission will ultimately vote on the position. There was no immediate word on any other top candidates for the position. "They can then decide over the next months to do a search, they can decide that he's the person, they can decide to bring in somebody else. That is the hazards of this job. They have the ultimate decision," explained Berry.
"I have done searches for 10 years now, for city managers for various cities around the state," said Berry. "I can tell you, the pool is pretty slim, it's pretty bad. And I would rather, we've done a lot of work here to change this organization. And it's my preference, to the extent I have any control of it, and I don't have much, to get somebody in that I'm comfortable with that can carry the organization forward."
"I'm going to give the commission every opportunity to have those people at their disposal. That doesn't control what they do, they may still go out and do the search, but I think the most important thing is that they get the right person, more than having some kind of search."
Berry says before today's announcement he had not formally talked to commissioners about this hire.
A contract hasn't been finalized, but Berry says Ballard will have some sort of protection.
The item is on the agenda for the next commission meeting.
Ballard spent two years as an assistant city manager here in Albany before leaving for a job in Tallahassee last spring. He's currently an assistant city manager there handling Development and Transportation Services. He also worked as the Riverdale Assistant City Manager.
Berry expects Ballard to begin with the City of Albany in about 30 days.