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Posting prepared for Leesburg manager

LEESBURG, Ga. -- Money is already in the budget. Council members are committed to the plan. A consultant has done the advance work. All that remains is posting an ad seeking applicants to be Leesburg's first city manager.

"We want to move this thing along," said Councilman Bob Wilson recently. Wilson has been one of the most vocal advocates for hiring a city manager for Leesburg.

The topic surfaced publicly after an assessment conducted by the Georgia Municipal Association. Tom Berry of Thomasville, a retired city manager, suggested that Leesburg has grown to the point that it would benefit from a professional city manager.

Leesburg City Attorney Bert Gregory said he would have the precise wording for the employment ad prepared in time for the August meeting. In the meantime, he plans to meet with council members to finalize wording of the job posting.

"The City Charter has provisions for a city manager, but there are delegated duties for the mayor on day-to-day activities," said Gregory. "We need to consider exactly what the city manager will do."

Gregory said the charter tweaking did not require approval by the General Assembly and likely could be accomplished within 60 days.

Gregory assured council members that the switch to a city manager form of government would not weaken their legislative or administrative oversight powers.

"There are different models for these things, and we want to look carefully to get exactly the structure you want in terms of reporting and responsibilities," he said.

"Once you hire someone to run your city, you want to make it clear so they don't overstep their bounds or underdo their jobs."

City Clerk Casey Moore said the recently adopted $2.256 million city budget includes $65,000 for the new position. That does not include benefits. All of that salary likely will not be needed, however, because the council will be several weeks into its budget year before a manager is hired.

The actual salary figure could change based on the caliber of the applicants.