ALBANY, Ga. -- With Friday the deadline to apply, the corporate headhunter hired by the city to find candidates to replace City Manager Alfred Lott said in an e-mail to commissioners that 45 people have put their name in for the position so far.
Colin Baenziger of Baenziger and Associates e-mailed commissioners Saturday with an update on the search process. In that e-mail, which was obtained Wednesday by The Albany Herald, Baenziger said that 45 people had formally applied for the position -- a number that's lower than had been anticipated.
"At this point, we have 45 applicants. I normally would have expected to have a few more at this point in the recruitment period," he wrote. "On the other hand, typically most candidates, particularly the better candidates, apply at the last minute."
In speaking to The Herald on Wednesday, Baenziger said that his firm likely won't have a solid count on who applied until a couple days after the deadline.
"We find more than half the candidates generally sent their resumes in the last week and often in the last day or two," Baenziger wrote in response to an inquiry.
Lott announced last year that he'd be resigning as city manager by June 30 and has emerged as a finalist to become the city manager for Savannah in what has become a controversial selection process in the coastal city.
The Savannah City Council will choose between Lott and interim Savannah City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney. The selection process has been marred by a rekindling of racial tension among council members and the community, along with complaints of favoritism.
Further complicating that search process is the fact that Lott is currently a named defendant in an ongoing lawsuit from Shirley Smith, the city of Albany's former finance director who currently works for the city of Savannah's Recreation and Leisure Bureau. she would again become a subordinate of Lott if he were hired.
Neither the corporate headhunter who was hired by Savannah to recruit candidates, the Affion Group, nor Lott disclosed to the council during the process that Lott and Smith were involved in litigation against one another.