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Supervisors ‘talking to’ potential county administrator candidates

The process of searching for a new county administrator is underway, and the Board of Supervisors has some candidates in mind.

Board president Jeff Busby said Thursday he cannot comment on who specifically “we are talking to,” but they would like to have someone in place sooner than later to replace Joseph Johnson, who resigned earlier this week.

Busby said the board wants a county administrator “with a lot of experience“ and they “have a few in mind. We want someone who also has an accounting background and good PR skills. Those are three vital characteristics of what we need in this county and a vital part of that position.”

Busby said the county administrator “wears a lot of different hats and must be good with people and give them an accurate response in a reasonable amount of time.”

At the time of his resignation, Johnson was making $138,000 a year, Busby said. He added that the salary of the next county administrator would be negotiable depending on experience. Mississippi state code allows the county governing board to set the salary of the administrator.

“Basically, we want someone with governmental experience and someone who has been around the block, so to speak,” said District 4 Supervisor Chad McLarty. “We’re not looking to hire someone fresh out of school.”

Both Busby and McLarty said they hope to have the position filled quickly, but “we want to make sure to do our due diligence to get the right person,” McLarty said. “The county administrator is our liaison with any problem that comes up. Many times they have firsthand knowledge of it. We deal with district problems, but a county as a whole comes through the administrator position.”

While it’s not on the agenda for Monday morning’s board meeting, talk of the position could come up in executive session.

“We will move relatively fast to fill this position in order to move this county in the right direction,” McLarty said.

Asked if the county administrator position could be filled before newly elected supervisors David Rikard and Kevin Frye are sworn in on Dec. 30, Busby said both of the incoming supervisors “have been kept up to speed in what has been going on in the search process to find a new county administrator.”

Frye and Rikard have not met with the board in a quorum, but have met separately about the process, according to Busby.

“They both have been elected and we know going forward they will be a part of this board and the decision process,” Busby said.

In the meantime, Chancery Clerk Sherry Wall has taken on the added responsibility as interim county administrator, as well as interim purchasing clerk and interim inventory clerk without additional pay.