SAVANNAH, Ga.(WSAV) – Some say Savannah City Council’s failure to choose a new city manager is indicative of its documented struggle to agree on much of anything. Mayor Van Johnson says “You have nine individuals with nine different ideas about what is best for the city… and I think it’s indicative of Savannah making sure that we get this right.”
Of the three finalists – Mesa, Arizona assistant city manager John Pombier was seen as the favorite in a survery of city staff and community members. Yet the council still couldn’t reach a consensus.
Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter says the process has been tainted “by the people picking the new city manager.” She seems to be refering to her fellow aldermen.
Mayor Johnson says the focus now is on bringing in an interim city manager. “I think that the city is in a good position to be able to bring in someone that will help us to at least navigate through the budget, through the end of this year, and through a good part of next year to allow us the time to re-resume our search.” Gibson-Carter disagrees with such a move, saying “another interim city manager isn’t fair to city staff,” and that she “can’t see myself engaging further in the process, as it stands.”
Mayor Johnson says he already has three candidates in mind to step-in as interim city manager, but he’s not ready to say who they are. “I want to create the opportunity for a conversation with the council, and so obviously for me to disclose those will not necessarily be fair to my council. Some are external candidates; some are internal candidates.”
The mayor says, for now, there are no plans to hire a different company to help the council recruit city manager candidates. Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter says she has full faith in the firm the city has been using, Ralph Anderson and Associates.