County admin not 'official' yet

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By Alice Du Pont

Officially, Gadsden County still does not have a county administrator.

A letter of understanding for the employment of Johnny Williams was not on the agenda for the regular April 21 meeting and therefore the item could not be voted on. A special meeting has been scheduled for April 27 at 6 p.m. to approve the letter.

Eugene Lamb, commission chairman, said after the meeting it was his "oversight" that the issue was not on the agenda.

"We'll straighten this all out Monday," he said.

Commissioner Brenda Holt said she felt Williams' hiring was done outside of the Sunshine Law guidelines and Commissioner Sherrie Taylor asked for a legal opinion on whether or not Williams could be the county's administrator since a contract and the scope of work had been approved by the commission.

She also asked who gave Williams the authority to send a memo to department directors telling them to cut 15 percent in operations.

"This gentleman should not be sitting here. This (offering the position to Williams), was outside of your right. This is wrong. I have nothing against this gentleman. I don't know him from Adam, but the process is wrong," Taylor told Lamb.

After the county's first choice for county administrator decided not to take the position, Lamb went to Alabama to talk with Williams, who was one of the top five choices presented to the board. On his return and during the April 7 meeting, Lamb recommended hiring Williams. His recommendation passed 3-2 with commissioners Doug Croley and Gene Morgan supporting Lamb’s choice.

Both Holt and Taylor disagreed with the choice and supported Robert Presnell, road and bridge director for the county, who scored the second highest in the selection process.