The Macon-Bibb County attorney is now the interim county manager, as a lengthy search process continues.
Mayor Robert Reichert announced this week that he has appointed County Attorney Judd Drake into the temporary role of county manager. But his decision to do so instead of, say, appointing an assistant county manager, was not well received by at least one commissioner.
Commissioner Elaine Lucas said she was caught off guard by the mayor’s decision after a search process has played over for the last four months. In October, a candidate that the mayor approved bowed out at the last minute after being offered the job.
Lucas said she had nothing against Drake, but instead, Assistant County Manager Charles Coney, who was already serving as co-interim county manager, should have been put in that position.
“I just think it’s a slap in the face,” Lucas said at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting. “As far as I know, (Coney is) quite capable and confident. He’s shown that always, he’s been able to take care of situations, bring peace among folks. This is not to take anything from Judd, but that legal staff is already short-staffed, and to pull the attorney from that position, I don’t understand that.”
Reichert said after a closed session about the county manager search that he felt there was a general consensus among commissioners and their comfort level at Drake’s remaining in the position until a permanent manager can be found.
“It was a good, thorough discussion of the process and the pros and cons,” Reichert told The Telegraph.
The decision to name a different interim manager came after Assistant County Manager Julie Moore said she would no longer have time to perform those duties with budget season looming in early 2018.
The new county manager would replace Dale Walker, who resigned in April after becoming embroiled in a pension scandal.
There were four finalists recommended by a selection committee in October, but the mayor, at least publicly, has not come out in support of any of the three other finalists.
Reichert’s recommendation for county manager would need to receive final approval from the County Commission.
Assistant County Attorney Crystal Jones is serving as interim county attorney.