I’m critical of the City of Albany, and have been for some time. Let’s be honest, it’s not like I haven’t had cause. They’ve screwed up a lot, but it’s time to give credit where credit is due. Looking at the finalists for city manager, I’m actually impressed.
By now, most of us know how good assistant city manager and interim city manager James Taylor is at his job. He did an outstanding job as interim downtown manager after the removal of Don Buie. In his brief tenure as interim city manager, he’s done pretty well as far as I’m concerned.
The other two candidates aren’t exactly local, which isn’t surprising for someone in this line of work. However, from what I’ve been able to uncover, I find very little to be upset about with either of these candidates. Frankly, I didn’t find anything to be upset about and I was actually looking.
Barbara Lipsomb is serving as city manager right now, but she seems to be looking to move to a larger community. Albany definitely fits the bill. In 2007, Lipscomb dealt with a budget crunch in Casselberry, Fla. By using some fairly creative juggling to provide needed services while still cutting her city’s budget, she was able to avoid wholesale layoffs and make better use of the city’s available funds. To me, it looked like a little outside the box thinking, and that’s something this city desperately could use.
James Payne was the city manager of Rio Rancho, New Mexico. However, since he left that position, I found mention of him as a finalist with a lot of other communities. I haven’t found any mention why he wasn’t selected for any of those jobs, which causes me to be a bit suspicious, but that’s just my cynical nature.
A bit of looking at these two candidates from outside the area turned up no scandals, not skeletons in the virtual closet. They look like solid candidates. They city, despite using a headhunter service once again, got some solid folks to look at for replacing Al Lott.
What’s more, the City of Albany is doing it right. All three finalists have been presented to us for debate and discussion. The Dougherty County School Board’s controversy of Superintendent Joshua Murfree may well have taught them a lesson about what happens in this community when you don’t do that, but if so it’s important to note that they learned it well.
We’ve got what looks like three solid candidates to replace Lott. I never expected it, but I’m glad to be wrong. Things may surface later, but unless it’s criminal in nature and wouldn’t show up to my own investigations (which is entirely possible) but should have shown up in theirs, the city did a good job this time. For what it’s worth, I doubt anything will get turned up on these three.
I think this town is going to be in good hands, regardless of who gets hired.
Written by Tom Knighton. Read his blog at TomKnighton.com, as well as SWGAPolitics.com. A lifelong political junkie, Tom started out his adult life as a journalism major at Darton College before leaving school to serve his nation as a U.S. Navy Corpsman. Through the years, he has watched government from outside and inside. A former Reagan supporter, then later a Democrat, Tom now finds himself quite comfortable as a card carrying Libertarian and currently serves as Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Southwest Georgia.