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Taylor to serve as interim city manager

Photo by Jim Hendricks

Photo by Jim Hendricks

ALBANY, Ga. -- Following a closed door session Tuesday, the Albany City Commission reconvened and voted unanimously to both accept the resignation of City Manager Alfred Lott and to appoint Assistant City Manager James Taylor to serve as interim city manager.

Lott's resignation will become effective March 2, with Taylor to take over March 3, according to the motion offered by Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff.

A retired U.S. Marine colonel, Taylor appeared surprised by the commission's action.

Lott tendered his resignation last summer, but asked the commission to allow him to finish the budget process June 30 before it became effective.

Monday, however, Lott told the Herald he had accepted a leadership position in the Washington, D.C., metro area and that his last day will be March 2, although he wouldn't say who had hired him.

Both of the city's assistant city managers, Taylor and Wes Smith, have applied for Lott's job. They join 43 other applicants who have put their names in for the position.

"The city manager search will continue, but since Al is leaving on the second, we have a hiatus there, so we need someone to effectively fill in that position there until we get a new city manager," Albany Mayor Willie Adams said. "And even after he or she is hired there might be a hiatus there, so Mr. Taylor will fill in as needed."

When asked about whether Taylor would be asked to abandon any effort to become the permanent city manager if accepted filling the spot on an interim basis, Adams said that wouldn't be the case.

"No, I don't see that would eliminate Mr. Taylor from the process," Adams said.

It's not the first time that Taylor has been asked to step in and fill a void by city leadership.

Following former Downtown Manager Don Buie's termination and subsequent indictment, Taylor was asked to "right the ship" by Lott and oversee the rebuilding of the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority's tarnished image.

As interim downtown manager, Taylor served as a liaison between the city commission and ADICA, and put in place spending controls and safeguards designed to prevent fraud, waste and abuse within the organization and developed programs downtown.

Taylor handed the downtown manager's office to Aaron Blair last year and reassumed his duties as assistant city manager.

Together, Taylor and Smith oversee operations of most of the city's departments with Taylor responsible for Community and Economic Development, Engineering, Transit, Public Works and Planning.

Smith oversees Central Services, Recreation and Parks, Human Resources, Civic Center and auditorium and Information Technology.

While Lott is responsible for all city departments by virtue of being city manager, he assumes direct responsibility for operations at the police department, the fire department, the airport, code enforcement and finance.

Taylor said the commission's decision caught him off guard, but that he appreciates the opportunity.

"When they voted to accept Al's letter, I thought that was the end of it. I was a little surprised, but that's OK," Taylor said. "We have a good team here and our team is still here, Wes and I work well together.

It's not about me; it's about the city of Albany and its residents."

Taylor was hired March 8, 2006, by Lott.

In addition to being a retired Marine colonel, Taylor is also the previous CEO of Goodwill Industries, has worked with the Alliance for Progress to help keep Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany off the Base Realignment and Closure Committee's radar and the legislative director for the Albany Chamber of Commerce.