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Two left in bid for downtown manager

ALBANY, Ga. -- Following a recent round of interviews, two candidates remain in the city's search for a downtown manager.

The two will now undergo what Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said will be a "comprehensive" background check.

"Two applicants have been selected for comprehensive background checks and, upon completion, we'll announce one, both or none have emerged as actual finalists," Smith said.

Smith said that, should information arise in the city's search to disqualify the candidates, the city would scrap the process and start over.

The two are seeking to fill the void left by the removal of former Downtown Manager Don Buie, who was terminated by City Manager Alfred Lott when Buie became the focus of a GBI investigation that ultimately led to an indictment and subsequent guilty plea on fraud charges.

The Buie background check itself became the target of much criticism when it was discovered during the subsequent investigation into the former downtown manager that the check had failed to catch a federal bank fraud conviction from a district court in Maryland.

Since that time, the city has vowed to increase scrutiny when checking the backgrounds of candidates seeking to become department heads and has found some success after discovering questionable items in the background of one of the candidates for civic center director. That candidate is no longer under consideration for the position, Smith said.

Whomever is selected for the position will likely assume a role as head of the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority as well. After the downtown manager is hired, ADICA board members will likely vote up or down to select that person as their executive director.