ALBANY, Ga.: The Albany City Commission voted unanimously following a three-hour closed-door session to hire Assistant City Manager James Taylor to lead the day-to-day operations of the city.
"All of the candidates were extremely viable candidates and were well qualified for the position," Albany Mayor Willie Adams said. "But what set Taylor apart was his knowledge and familiarity with the city and our unique struggles. He also has a strong rapport with business and community leaders here."
The vote, which was offered by Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell and seconded by Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff, followed more than three hours of closed-door interviews with each of the three finalists for the job.
Upon hearing its decision, Taylor said he was grateful to have the board's consideration.
"It's humbling to have this vote of confidence from the board," Taylor said. "It's an honor to be among the caliber of candidates that I was for consideration and to be given this opportunity. I've said, and I believe it, it's not about me. It's about what can we do to move this community forward. That's our top priority."
Taylor was under consideration for the position along with Barbara Lipscomb, the city manager of Casselberry, Fla., and James Payne, a business consultant from Rio Rancho, N.M..
When asked by the Herald if he was concerned that the selection of Taylor would stir concerns voiced in the community about favoritism, Adams said that any connection between him and Taylor --- often referred to as "golfing buddies" in the squawkbox --- ended at the commission table.
"It's not about favoritism," Adams said. "We do share some common interests but even if I did let any personal stuff enter into it, I only have one vote," Adams said. "If you could've been privy to the discussions in executive session you'd know that wasn't the case."
City Attorney Nathan Davis and city staff will now work with the board to develop a contract to present Taylor. Salary and other benefits will be outlined in that document, Adams said, and weren't discussed at Saturday's meeting.