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Change to come in county manager’s office


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent 

  Henry County government officials will be filling the open position of finance director in a most unusual way.

  County manager Fred Auletta will step into the role once a search for a new county manager is completed, Board of Commissioners Chairman Tommy Smith confirmed late last week.

  The decision was mutual, and Smith emphasized that Auletta was not being forced out or under duress in any way. Auletta, 66, has been undergoing cancer treatment in recent months while on the job, and Smith noted that the reduction in his responsibilities would be a positive change for him.

  He will, however, remain in his current position until his successor can be named, and that could take several months.

  The commissioners are currently considering three possible courses of action for conducting their search. They can do the entire process in-house through the human resources department, get the assistance of the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute as other municipalities in the state have done, or retain a headhunter-type firm to do all of the work for them. No decision on this has been made, according to Smith.

  However the applicants are screened, the commissioners will look at a handful of candidates and narrow the field to three, at which time they are required by law to make the finalists’ names public at least 14 days before the final choice is made.

  “We want to do this as soon as a logical system will allow us to do it,” said Smith. “I’m thinking about three months, but it could be longer.”

  Auletta’s tenure in county government has taken an unusual course. He won a 2010 special election for the District II commissioner post vacated when Rick Jeffares resigned to pursue a state senate seat. After 13 months on the job, he resigned to accept the county manager’s position following the departure of Butch Sanders.

  As this was happening, it was discovered that, according to a county ordinance, Auletta could not be appointed county manager until one year after the expiration of his term in office, which meant he was ineligible for the position until Jan. 1, 2014. In a move that caused no small amount of controversy in an election year, the Board of Commissioners appointed him deputy county manager for a few weeks until the ordinance could be changed legally. In March of 2012 Auletta received a one-year contract as county manager.

  In the first public meeting of 2013, after the election of four new commissioners, Smith expressed his desire to begin discussing the county manager position immediately said he would entertain a motion to start the process of taking applications for the position, adding that Auletta could apply if he chose to do so. The board rejected this idea and ultimately gave Auletta another one-year contract, which expires in March of 2014.

  Mike Bush resigned in February as finance director, and budget director Angie Sorrow became interim finance director.



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