Mayor Robert Reichert will reopen the application process to find a new Emergency Management Agency director for Macon and Bibb County, and his initial first choice has withdrawn from consideration, according to the mayor’s office.
Michael Smith, a North Carolina EMT, had been Reichert’s choice to replace retired EMA Director Johnny Wingers. But the Macon City Council rejected that choice with many members lining up behind interim director LaTravius Smith instead.
That set up a potential showdown, as Reichert’s administration had the City Attorney’s Office research state law on EMA appointments. It turns out Reichert could have bypassed the council altogether, appointing Smith and needing only approval from the head of the statewide Georgia Emergency Management Agency, City Attorney Pope Langstaff said.
Council members seemed to accept that reading of the law and shifted gears, asking the mayor to appoint LaTravius Smith instead of telling him to. But now the job will be posted for another 30 days, and a second national search will be conducted, the mayor’s office announced Thursday evening.
“It is most unfortunate that the process has resulted in a very qualified candidate withdrawing from consideration,” Reichert said in a statement released from his office. “I hope with this new search we can attract an equally qualified candidate.”
Asked if LaTravius Smith will be considered for the job, Reichert spokesman Andrew Blascovich said anyone who applies will be considered.
A panel will handle candidate interviews and this time the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office will be included, the mayor’s announcement states. Council members had complained that during the first interview process Sheriff Jerry Modena was left out of the loop.
To contact writer Travis Fain, call 744-4213.