By: Laura-Jane Hatcher (WRGA News)
An interim County Manager was named by the Floyd County Commission Tuesday afternoon, alongside plans to advertise the soon-to-be vacant position.
As of January 1st, Department of Finance Director Gary Burkhalter will fill the shoes left by current manager Blaine Williams, at least until a permanent replacement can be found. As the meeting was likely his last, the commission presented Williams with a plaque and expressed their gratitude for his service. Williams, whose last day is December 31st, will assume the role of Assistant Manager for Athens-Clarke County later in January. His departure, he said, is bittersweet.
“I am excited to begin a new adventure, but of course it’s with mixed feelings I’m leaving, because it’s such a great community,” He said. “So, it’s hard to be overly excited about that, because they’re so many great people here, and we’ve been doing so many great things in Floyd County.”
While appreciative of their fond farewell, Williams did not appear to agree with the commission’s decision to bypass current assistant county manager Noah Simon to select Burkhalter. The vote was unanimous, but Commissioner Rhonda Wallace prefaced her decision by emphasizing the commission’s respect for Simon. The assistant manager is fairly new to his own role, having only been in Rome 8 months. With a substantial deficient on the county’s books, Commissioner’s cited Burkhalter’s experience with finance as reason for his appointment.
Advertising for the open Manager’s seat will begin Wednesday, and will likely continue for three and a half weeks. A potential candidate could be selected in as little as 90 days.