Savannah City Council starts city manager selection process

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Savannah City Council is starting the process of selecting the new city manager. The interim city manager is leaving in April.

The groundwork for this process was laid out by the previous council and much of the debate Thursday night centered around whether to continue that work or start over.

“Now that we have gone down this road I just want to continuously remind our administration of our desire to be included in these processes as we go forth,” Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter said.

Last year, the previous council approved using four companies that were pre-qualified to conduct searches for the next city manager. They called on three former city managers to find those companies. That idea is not sitting well with new members.

“I believe that we as an entire council need to be fully engaged at square one.” Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Estella Shabazz.

“Maybe we need to start fresh and new,” Alderwoman Alicia Miller Blakely said.

Mayor Van Johnson said they would then run the risk of running out of time since interim city manager Pat Monahan is leaving in April.

“I submit to you, you will not be able to find three finer individuals as you said that is not connected with the city of Savannah that have the knowledge of search firms and the level of individuals who we’re seeking to be able to be engaged in this search,” Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said.

“As I promised this council when the new manager arrives, I saw how awkward it was when I was here with Mr. Hernandez so from that day I am going to resign,” City Manager, Pat Monahan said.

The city manager said the council will still own this process even though most members weren’t there when it began.

“If I were in the position of selecting this firm I would go to those who came before me,” Alderman Nick Palumbo said.

“I don’t see where getting a headhunter would stop and negate us the fact from beginning to the end in who we select,” Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan said.

In the end, the council decided to continue the process that has already begun. One of the recommended firms conducted the search for Savannah’s current police chief. The goal is to have someone placed by May 1.

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