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City picks Civic Center director

ALBANY, Ga. -- City officials have named the head of an Athens venue to take over operations at the Albany Civic Center, officials say.

Shannon McCullough is currently the director of operations at the Classic Center in Athens, according to a bio provided by the city of Albany.

He's been tapped as the "most qualified candidate" to fill the open Civic Center director position. The city must wait 14 days before they can officially offer McCullough the job.

If hired, he'll replace former director John Mazzola who left earlier this year to take a position in Dodge City, Kan.

McCullough and his wife Tina live in Comer with their two children, where his wife runs a small business in a historic storefront in the downtown area below a converted apartment where they reside.

While he may have emerged as the current "best qualified candidate," McCullough is, in reality, the city's No. 2 pick.

The original top candidate, identified only as a male, was discarded from consideration after a background search revealed a tumultuous work history with his previous employers including very poor evaluations from his supervisors.

The city identified McCullough Thursday afternoon after calling him and the second tier candidate, Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said. The second candidate opted to withdraw from consideration when the city informed him it was obligated to turn over his information to the media.

According to city officials, McCullough has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Georgia and is the past hospitality consultant for the Northeast Georgia Regional Center. He's been the director of operations at the Classic Center since 2006.

While at the Classic Center, media reports show that he held various additional positions including director of a free GED preparatory program that worked with Athens Technical College to help students earn a GED.

He has additional professional development training from the International Association of Assembly Managers (IAAM), city officials say.