UPDATED at 3:55 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10:
From the Savannah Morning News: Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson stated during the Savannah City Council meeting that Alfred Lott is no longer considered a viable candidate and has been eliminated as a candidate for the city manager position.
UPDATED at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10:
From the Savannah Morning News: Mayor Otis Johnson has released a compromise proposal on the city manager search that City Council will vote on this afternoon. It calls for ending the current search until January 2012 to allow a new mayor and council to develop a new search process. Acting City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney would be asked to remain on the job. She would be eligible to apply for the new search. Small-Toney and Albany City Manager Alfred Lott are the two finalists for the position; both have extensive opposition among Savannah councilors and citizens due to their track records.
By Kevin Hogencamp
Albany City Manager Alfred Lott’s hopes to become Savannah’s next top administrator have been stifled amid revelations not only of some of his track record, but that he hid it from his would-be bosses and their executive headhunter.
Affion Public’s Scott Reilly, the headhunter, says, for example, that Lott did not reveal to him that Lott is defending a lawsuit filed against him by former Albany Finance Director Shirley Smith, who now works for the city of Savannah.
Further, eight Savannah City Commission members told the Savannah Morning News that Lott did not reveal skeletons in his closet, including that his former human resources director resigned after filing a federal discrimination complaint against Lott. The director, Mary Lamont, has tape recordings documenting illegal activity, rules violations and mismanagement by Lott and his subordinates. While LaMont says that the city has attempted to purchase the tapes from her; Lott refuses to comment or answer questions regarding LaMont’s claims or his pursuit of the Savannah position.
The only Savannah official not to express misgivings about Lott’s legal issues is Mayor Otis Johnson, a close associate of Albany Mayor Willie Adams, who along with City Commissioners Tommie Postell and Roger Marietta are the only commission members who publicly say that Lott has served Albany well. The other four commissioners – Jon Howard, Dorothy Hubbard, Christopher Pike and Bob Langstaff – refuse to comment about Lott’s performance.
Amid a controversy mired with allegations of racism, Lott was named last month as one of two finalists for the Savannah post. The other candidate is Rochelle Small-Toney, Savannah’s interim city manager. A committee was travel to Albany to gather information on Lott, but Savannah officials say that trip is in jeopardy as council members attempt to determine whether Lott’s newly revealed background will eliminate his candidacy.
Meanwhile, Johnson says that on Thursday, he will unveil a proposal to end the controversial search process.
Lott’s tenure has been plagued with mishaps since he left his Takoma Park, Md., public work director’s post in September 2005 to become Albany’s city manager. When the Albany City Commission met with Lott last summer to force his resignation, Adams convinced a majority of the commissioners to allow Lott to remain on the job for nearly 13 months — until July 2011 – to give him to find another job. The commission then used taxpayer funds to pay for Lott’s trip to a conference in California, where Lott told a Savannah reporter that he met with Affion officials, who steered him toward the Savannah job.