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Candidates interview for Lee County manager

LEESBURG — Five people who want to become Lee County’s manager will have been interviewed with the County Commission by the end of today.

County commissioners are conducting the interviews during two half-day closed sessions in a bid to find a permanent replacement for interim County Administrator Lynn Taylor. Two candidates were interviewed Monday morning and three candidates were to be interviewed this afternoon.

These five candidates were listed in the top tier among the 33 applicants for the position, which is expected to pay between $90,000 and $115,000. The Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia was contracted to help the County Commission with the search.

Muggridge said additional candidates may be interviewed if commissioners are not satisfied after talking to the first five candidates.

“I’d love to have someone in place by the first week in October,” said Rick Muggridge, chairman of the County Commission. “Even earlier, if possible. Lynn’s contract expires in the second or third week of September, but I think she would stay on if necessary. In fact, I’m confident she would.”

Muggridge said he expects Taylor to remain long enough to help during the leadership transition.

Taylor was hired by the commission in mid March after the resignation of Tony Massey. Massey left Lee County after a two-year stint as administrator to return to his hometown of Columbia, Tenn., as city manager.

Taylor accepted the interim position after Jack Krakeel of Fayette County initially accepted the job, then changed his mind before signing a contract because of health reasons.

Taylor agreed to serve in the role for about six months, and was offered a financial package which included pay of $3,056 every two weeks plus $1,750 monthly in living expenses.

Her tenure has been relatively quiet. Major accomplishments include guiding the commission through this year’s budget process and working with consultant Skip Starling to merge the county fire and emergency medical service departments into a department of public safety.

Taylor did not want to seek the position on a permanent basis. She had retired and was living in her hometown of Ocilla when she accepted the Lee position.