Fulton tries again with county manager search

Fulton County has decided to restart its search for a new county manager six months after the previous manager left.

County Commission Chairman John Eaves said commissioners have decided to readvertise the job, although it had two finalists from an initial search. He declined to say why commissioners made that decision.

“We are determined to find the best candidate to run this county,” Eaves said in an interview this week.

The previous county manager, Zachary Williams, left in December to become chief operating officer in DeKalb County. In February commissioners agreed to pay the search firm Korn/Ferry International $80,000 plus expenses to lead a search for a new manager.

Last month the county announced that process had yielded three finalists: Cobb County manager David Hankerson, former MARTA deputy general manager Dwight Ferrell and Fulton County finance director Patrick O’Connor.

Hankerson later withdrew from consideration. Commissioners have met numerous times to discuss the manager’s post in closed session and have been mum about their deliberations.

The Fulton County manager runs the day-to-day operations of a county that serves about 978,000 residents. The manager reports to a county commission studded with strong personalities and at times riven by feuds.

The county has gone through five managers since 1990. Critics have said commissioners interfere in daily operations that should be left to the manager.

Next year north Fulton Republicans in the general assembly may consider legislation that would make it harder to fire the county manager.

County attorney David Ware has served as interim county manager since Williams left.

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