It's official: Gadsden County has an administrator

-A A +A
By Alice Du Pont

Johnny Williams was officially hired as Gadsden County administrator Monday night after a majority of the Gadsden County commissioners ratified a letter to Williams from Eugene Lamb, commission chairman, during a special meeting.

But Williams' salary, originally set at $100,000 annually, will be an item on the May 5 agenda for discussion. Williams’ moving expenses of $4,700 will also be discussed.

Commissioners Sherrie Taylor and Brenda Holt reiterated their displeasure with what they called "the process" of selecting the county administrator. Taylor asked Williams a battery of questions, including who made reservations for him at the hotel and who paid the bill.

Taylor also asked Commissioner Doug Croley why Jeffery Naftal, the first choice, didn't take the position.

"I met with Mr. Naftal, who was staying at the Holiday Inn Express. He said he didn't feel he could afford to take the job," Croley said.

He added that he also contacted another candidate but that person has taken another position. Croley said he then called Williams, who was his second choice, and asked him to write a letter if he was still interested in being considered for the job. Taylor said Croley had not been given permission by the board to make contact with any candidate and that he should never have contacted Williams.

Taylor said the process of selecting an administrator has been "circumvented," and she said she wanted the government to get back "on track." She said that the public has had no input into the selection of Williams.

Croley said the selection process was legal and that he made the motion to hire Williams based on Lamb's recommendation.

Taylor said Croley's actions in the selection process constituted an ethics violation.

"This is unethical and it is in violation of the law," Holt said.