Leesburg offers city manager post to Alexander

Bob Alexander has been selected to become Leesburg’s first city manager. (Albany Herald file photo)

Bob Alexander has been selected to become Leesburg’s first city manager. (Albany Herald file photo)

LEESBURG — The city of Leesburg did not have to travel very far to find its first city manager — just a few blocks down the street.

Bob Alexander, Lee County’s planning director, was offered the job by a 6-0 vote of the Leesburg City Council on Tuesday night. The offer was made with the caveat that City Attorney Bert Gregory and the council’s Personnel Committee negotiate the salary.

Gregory noted the salary will be within the range of $50,000 and $80,000, as posted in the job listing. City officials and Alexander separately said the salary issue should not be a stumbling block. The deal is expected to be finalized this week.

“I have always wanted to be a city manager. It goes back to when Steve Roos hired me (in Albany), and I worked with him and Carl Levy. They mentored me. I have always had the desire. When I came up here to Lee County, I got to work with the elected officials much more than I did in Albany.” Alexander worked in Albany for 36 years before joining Lee County in 2008.

Alexander said he looks forward to his new role.

“You have a harmonious group of elected officials there.” he said. “I think I can be very compatible with them.”

Alexander noted that the Georgia Municipal Association has completed an operational assessment of Leesburg’s governmental operations — the same assessment that proposed that the city hire a manager.

“That’s kind of a road map on what we need to do to bring Leesburg forward and be more efficient,” he said. “I also want to work on updating their strategic plan. I think that is extremely important to formulate what direction the city wants to do. … There is a lot of development that can take place with the employees.

“One of the first things I want to do is get with each council member and see things through their eyes, how they view the city.”

Once the salary issue is resolved, Alexander says he expects to assume his new position in 30 days.

“I would like to give Lee County enough time to work through the transition,” he said. “There are a lot of things we are doing. But, I’ll be just right across the street then. There are a lot of things I still would like to see through.”

Councilman Billy Breeden made the motion to offer the job to Alexander after an hour-long executive session. The motion was seconded by Judy Powell. The vote was 6-0, with Mayor Jim Quinn not attending the called meeting.

Gregory said the council will need to make some changes to its charter in connection with Alexander’s hiring.

“We don’t have to change the charter to hire a city manager, but we will change it to amend its structure.” Gregory said. “It provides for the hiring of a city manager, but it does not specifically define the duties. … There won’t be any big surprises though.”

“The other finalists were good, but we felt like Mr. Bob was better for Lee County,” said Breeden. “He knows the county and the city and it was a good opportunity for us to take advantage of that. To me, he’s the best one of the applicants.”

Councilman Bob Wilson agreed. “The council as a whole was in agreement for Bob because of his professionalism and his track record in Albany and Lee County,” Wilson said. “I am just looking forward to having a city manager on board.

“It is vitally needed. We have a lot of irons in the fire. We need somebody to manage all of this. Bob is a good fella, kind and courteous, and he gets the job done. Leesburg is really ripe for growth. We’ve been getting the infrastructure in place.”