ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Lonnie Ballard is not going to become Albany's Deputy City Manager. He pulled his name from consideration for the newly created post Thursday, according to a source within city government.
Several Albany city commissioners spoke out against the process of hiring a Deputy City Manager, but the commission approved that move earlier in the week. Interim Albany City Manager Tom Berry was behind the move, which has some commissioners concerned, and created considerable controversy.
It was a process that raised red flags for several commissioners.
"I'm not in favor of this process going on," said Commissioner Jon Howard.
"I don't know anything about Lonnie. He might be the best thing for this city, but it's just hard to bring someone in when you don't see a resume, you don't follow the process, and I was just against it," said Ward III Commissioner B. J. Fletcher
"I wasn't voting against Ballard, he's a nice guy. I was voting against the process," said Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta.
Last week, Interim City Manager Tom Berry announced his plan to bring former Assistant City Manager Lonnie Ballard back in a new position, as Deputy City Manager.
Berry plans to leave soon, and recommended Ballard for the City Manager position, but still expects commissioners to conduct a full search.
"This process, I said it today and I'll continue to say it, this in no way binds them, because he'll have no guarantee coming in that he'll just walk right in to the City Manager position," said Berry.
Commissioner Marietta says this process makes it seem like they're favoring one potential candidate over another. "It's like a back door way to bring someone in. That's exactly what it was. I mean really, and I didn't like it," he said.
Commissioners also voiced concerns of essentially having four Assistant City Managers, which isn't needed in a city the size of Albany.
Lonnie Ballard is currently one of the Assistant City Managers in Tallahassee.