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Albany city manager finalists named

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Interim City Manager James Taylor, Casselberry (Fla.) City Manager Barbara W. Lipscomb and James C. Payne, a business consultant in New Mexico and former city manager/administrator, have been named as the three finalists for the Albany city manager post.

The finalists were announced in an e-mail sent out by the city at 5:36 p.m. Thursday.

Taylor was at an executive committee meeting in Camilla regarding a regional sales tax referendum for transportation projects when the announcement was made. Returning a call to The Albany Herald from his home Thursday night, the retired Marine colonel said he was honored to be included in the short list of candidates for the job.

"I appreciate the opportunity to be considered for service to the community," Taylor said. "This is my home. This is where I live. So it is, in fact, an honor and I do appreciate it."

Payne also returned a call seeking reaction to his inclusion on the list. Speaking from his home in Rio Rancho, N.M., the partner in Precision Organizing and Records Management said he was looking forward to visiting Albany for the first time.

Payne, who has spent most of his career in the Midwest and West, said the opportunity in Albany attracted him to the position.

"First and foremost is the job itself," he said. "It seems like a real good opportunity and something that matches my skills and interests. It seems like something I would enjoy and something I would be productive in. And that's what I would hope to do."

He said his wife is from North Carolina and that he hadn't necessarily targeted a job in the Southeast, but it was "an area of interest for us and something we're looking forward to."

A call left on a voice mail at Lipscomb's residence in Casselberry was not returned Thursday night.

Neither Taylor nor Payne knew the time frame for interviews with Albany city officials. On Monday following a closed meeting of the Albany City Commission, Mayor Willie Adams had said the finalists' names would be released "in two or three weeks," so it's unclear what the schedule for interviews might be.

All three candidates have extensive administrative backgrounds.

Taylor has served as assistant city manager in Albany since March 2006 and was tapped to head the city on an interim basis when City Manager Alfred Lott left the job on March 2.

Before joining the city, Taylor was director of government and military affairs for the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and its Economic Development Commission, 2005-06; consultant to the Southwest Georgia Alliance for Progress, 2002-05; CEO of Goodwill Industries of South GA, 1998-2001.

Before that, Taylor was director of the Maintenance Center housed on Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, 1995-98, and was director of maintenance policy at the center in 1993-95. He has a master's degree from Central Michigan University and a bachelor's degree from Johnson C. Smith University of Charlotte, N.C. He had post-graduate studies in foreign policy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the Army Advanced Logistics Course, marines Corps Command and Staff College and Commander Course and Commanders Public Affairs Course while in the military. A certified arbitrator, Taylor's background check showed no records of criminal, civil, traffic or bankruptcy problems and stated he has a "very good" credit rating.

Payne has been a partner with Precision Organizing and Records Management in Rio Rancho, N.M., since October 2008. Before that, he was Rio Rancho city manager, 2007-08; Waukesha, Wis., city administrator, 1999-2007, and Franklin, Wis., business administrator, 1986-99.

After serving as a management intern in Maricopa County, Ariz., in 1976, Payne was system coordinator, LOGIS, Minnesota in 1977-79 and assistant to the city manager of Roseville, Minn., 1979-82.

Payne has a master of public administration from Arizona State University and a bachelor's in modernization processes (political science) from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He's been a member of the International City/County Management Association for 30 years and is an ICMA credentialed manager.

Payne's background check also shows him with a "very good" credit rating and no records related to criminal, bankruptcy or traffic cases. He was a defendant in a civil action in 1997 in Franklin, N.M. Payne said the suit was filed by residents near a quarrying operation after the City Council approved a quarry expansion, and that he was named "only in my official capacity as city administrator and city clerk." The suit was dismissed by the court.

Lipscomb currently heads the city government at Casselberry, a Florida city with a population of 25,000 and a $40.5 million annual budget.

Before that, she served as assistant city manager of Gainesville, Fla., 2004-07, including a stint as the city's interim city manager, 2004-05. She was assistant city manager, deputy city manager and assistant to the city manager in Lakeland, Fla., 1986-2004, and worked in several capacities -- management analyst, acting executive assistant to the city manager and administrative assistant, Community Enrichment Services Group with the government in Grand Rapids, Mich, 1982-86.

She has a master of regional planning from the University of North Carolina and a bachelor's in geography and political science from the University of Georgia. She has been a member of ICMA since 2004 and is a certified public manager from Florida State University.

Her background check revealed no civil, criminal, traffic or bankruptcy records and her credit rating was listed as "very good."