The New Guy is in town
There are several legal ways for a city government to operate. Some have a full time Mayor, while others have what is known as a Strong Mayor system. As the duties and responsibilities running even small towns and cities has become more complex, most of them have moved to the City Manager form of government.
The revised Charter of the City of Donalsonville provides for the City Manager type of government and for the only time in its history, the city has been faced with the task of replacing a retiring City Manager with a new one.
Marty Shingler served this community well over the course of 37 years. First, he served on the city council, then became Mayor, and finally served for many years as the City Manager. In fact, Marty Shingler is the only full-time City Manager the city has ever had.
His long announced retirement on December 31st of last year opened up the position and the council has spent several months looking for his replacement. Nineteen individuals applied for the position.
The Personnel Committee diligently reviewed the applications, narrowed the field down to the top six, and finally decided on a finalist. The person selected by the full City Council as the new City Manager is Darrell Hampton and he started work on Monday.
Mr. Hampton comes with a wide range of experience in both city and county governments and has been the administrator or manager for several governments much larger and more complicated than the City of Donalsonville.
The City Charter is remarkably brief about the duties of the City Manager. It states that he or she will be appointed solely on the basis of their executive, administrative and technical qualifications. I believe the Council fulfilled their duties on this part.
The charter says the City Manager shall be the chief administrative officer of the city. More specifically, the City Manager is charged with preparing the annual budget, attending all meetings of the mayor and council, and directing and supervising the administration of all departments, offices, and agencies of the city unless otherwise provided by the charter or by law.
Section 2.31 directs the Mayor and council to deal directly with city officers and employees solely through the manager, and neither the Mayor and Council nor its members shall give orders to any such officer or employee, either publicly or privately.
It is inevitable that citizens will see and feel some changes as Mr. Harrell begins his work. That is not a reflection on the past in any way. However, the Mayor and City Council voted unanimously to hire Mr. Hampton because they believe he is the right person for the job at this time.
Take time to welcome the new man to town. His wife and daughter will join him later. We want him to succeed. It is important for us all.
Dan Ponder can be reached at email@example.com