By Monroe Roark
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
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