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Leesburg picks finalists for city manager position

LEESBURG — The Leesburg City Council has released the names of the three finalists for its first city manager.

The three finalists are Bob Alexander, Lee County’s director of planning and engineering, and Ron Raburn and Frank Ethredge, two veteran administrators with experience managing north Georgia municipalities.

City Councilwoman Debra Long, who chairs the City’s Human Resources Committee, said the council determined the finalists after interviewing four candidates this past weekend.

The three finalists interviewed in person, while a fourth unnamed candidate was not able to travel to Leesburg but interviewed with the panel via Skype.

“We’ll advertise our three finalists for the required time and begin doing our background checks,” said Long. “Sometimes these background checks can take up to 10 days, so I’m not sure when we’ll meet to make the final decision.”

Underwood & Co., a consulting firm, has been working with the city of Leesburg to find a city manager. Leesburg has never had a city manager, but decided to create the position following an operational assessment completed by the Georgia Municipal Association.

Sources believe Alexander is the leading candidate. He came to Southwest Georgia in the early 1970s to become the city of Albany’s first traffic engineer. The California native served the city of Albany for 36 years before joining Lee County’s government more than five years ago.

Alexander sought the position of Lee County manager a couple of years ago when Alan Ours took a similar position in Glynn County. He has a degree in civil engineering.

Raburn is a University of Georgia graduate and served as city manager in Griffin for three years. He also was city manager in Richland, Wash., and Clearwater, Fla.

Ethredge is a former city manager for Pembroke.

When the position was advertised, Leesburg officials set the salary range at $50,000-$80,000 annually.