Anniston council selects top choice for city manager - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Anniston council selects top choice for city manager

Posted: Updated:
ANNISTON - AL -

The Anniston City Council voted Wednesday afternoon to offer Brian Johnson the position of city manager.  Johnson is currently the city manager of Garden City, Georgia, which is near Savannah.

The council brought Johnson to the city Wednesday for an in-person interview, and held a public meet and greet for him at City Hall at noon.  Less than two hours later, Mayor Vaughn Stewart and council members Jay Jenkins and Millie Harris voted to give Johnson the job.

Council members David Reddick and Seyram Selase voted in favor of the council's other finalist for the position, Gerald Smith of Kansas City, and said he had more experience.  Smith was in town for a similar interview and public reception Monday.  The council also voted to offer the position to Smith if they are unable to reach an agreement on terms with Johnson.

"Both of them were obviously qualified but I think [Johnson] brought a different skill set to the table as far as being a game changer.  I think at this time, in this place in Anniston's history I think that's what this city needs.  I think the voters voted for that last fall," mayor Stewart said.

"I think he will bring that vision, the ability to unify the staff around that vision. He will give the council good advice and give us an opportunity to get away from the day to day at City Hall so we can do more policy making, visionary work, and setting the tempo," he said.

"I think he's the right person at the right time."

Stewart said Johnson stood out with his creative, outside the box thinking.  The council expects to make a former job offer next week.  The city hopes to have a new manager by the beginning of September, but the mayor said Johnson--or Smith--would likely be unavailable until the middle of the month.

The mayor and council were unanimous in stating that selecting a new city manager is the most important decision they will make. Anniston has a council-manager type government, where the city manager is basically a CEO who handles the day-to-day administration and treats the city like a business.

"You have decisions on policy being made by representatives of the people and decisions on administration and practice done by a professional manager," retiring city manager Don Hoyt said.

Hoyt has 33 years of experience and came to Anniston four years ago from Chambers County, where he was the county administrator. He has two education degrees and a master's degree in public administration.

"If it's important to go to a neurosurgeon for a brain problem, you don't go to an orthopedic surgeon or a pediatrician or a football player. You go to a neurosurgeon for a neurological problem. The same is true for management. If you're going to manage an organization, you want experience in management," Hoyt said.

"People who are elected to office don't always know those things. They oftentimes come from different fields. They're teachers, grocery store operators, bar owners, whatever. They don't necessarily have any knowledge of how to implement the policies they want to implement."

That is the job of the city manager and his staff. He said the new city manager will advise the council on the best way to do things. The council determines what they want done, and the manager determines and advises the council on the best way to do it.

Hoyt said his last day providing advice to the council is August 31, and his replacement will not be receiving instructions on what should be done next.

"I don't advise the new guy. If they hire somebody that needs my advice, they've hired the wrong person," he said.

He plans to retire back home to Louisiana, and said his family lives in the same area as the Robertson family from Duck Dynasty. In fact, Hoyt worked with Phil Robertson for three summers during the 1970s, at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park on the Ouachita River.

"During the summertime they would hire teachers to act as temporary park rangers, patrol the parks, keep the kids from tearing up the place. We worked together three years, patrolling those parks. I know he was carving duck callers, at that time he was trying to get one that had the sound he wanted in it," Hoyt said.
  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Deputy Arrested For Synthetic Marijuana

    Deputy Arrested For Synthetic Marijuana

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:57 AM EDT2014-04-24 11:57:01 GMT
    A Russell County Sheriff's deputy is accused of participating in a drug trafficking operation.The man was arrested Wednesday after police found 1.5 pounds of synthetic marijuana, or spice, in his Lee County apartment. The deputy has been with the sheriff's department for about two months where he worked in the traffic division. He previously worked as a police officer in Phenix City, Ala.It's unclear if charges have officially been filed in the case. A call to the sheriff's office wasn't imme...More >>
    A Russell County Sheriff's deputy is accused of participating in a drug trafficking operation.The man was arrested Wednesday after police found 1.5 pounds of synthetic marijuana, or spice, in his Lee County apartment. The deputy has been with the sheriff's department for about two months where he worked in the traffic division. He previously worked as a police officer in Phenix City, Ala.It's unclear if charges have officially been filed in the case. A call to the sheriff's office wasn't imme...More >>
  • U.S. Space and Rocket Center: Make donation, take aerial tour of Huntsville with NASA Astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson

    U.S. Space and Rocket Center: Make donation, take aerial tour of Huntsville with NASA Astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:52 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:52:00 GMT
    The U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation in Huntsville, Alabama is asking for your help to raise $70,000 to begin installation of a Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's Shuttle Park.The U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation in Huntsville, Alabama is asking for your help to raise $70,000 to begin installation of a Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's Shuttle Park.
    For a generous donation, one can take flight with a veteran NASA astronaut in a shuttle training aircraft and get a birds-eye view of Huntsville, including a rare view of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center campus, organizers announced Wednesday.More >>
    For a generous donation, one can take flight with a veteran NASA astronaut in a shuttle training aircraft and get a birds-eye view of Huntsville, including a rare view of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center campus, organizers announced Wednesday.More >>
  • More guilty pleas expected in multi-state dog fighting probe

    More guilty pleas expected in multi-state dog fighting probe

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:08 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:08:05 GMT
    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Seven of the 14 people arrested in a multi-state dog fighting investigation have filed court papers saying they want to plead guilty. Jennifer McDonald of Fairburn, Ga.; Michael Martin of Auburn, Ala.; and Ricky Van Le of Biloxi, Miss., are the latest to file papers in federal court in Montgomery. Four others previously sent paperwork saying that they want to change their pleas to guilty. They are Lawrence Watford of Adel, Ga.; William Oneil Edwards of Elba, Ala.; DeMo...More >>
    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Seven of the 14 people arrested in a multi-state dog fighting investigation have filed court papers saying they want to plead guilty. Jennifer McDonald of Fairburn, Ga.; Michael Martin of Auburn, Ala.; and Ricky Van Le of Biloxi, Miss., are the latest to file papers in federal court in Montgomery. Four others previously sent paperwork saying that they want to change their pleas to guilty. They are Lawrence Watford of Adel, Ga.; William Oneil Edwards of Elba, Ala.; DeMo...More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Gadsden man found with over 600 pornographic images and videos, arrested on child porn charges

    Gadsden man found with over 600 pornographic images and videos, arrested on child porn charges

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:11 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:11:36 GMT
    Pablo Gabriel UrbinaPablo Gabriel Urbina
    A Gadsden man was arrested Tuesday on child pornography charges following an extensive investigation by several law enforcement agencies, the Etowah County Sheriff's Office said.More >>
    A Gadsden man was arrested Tuesday on child pornography charges following an extensive investigation by several law enforcement agencies, the Etowah County Sheriff's Office said.More >>
  • Search for Riverside man in Logan Martin Lake enters day 3

    Search for Riverside man in Logan Martin Lake enters day 3

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:31 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:31:06 GMT
    Various law enforcement agencies are assisting in the search for a Riverside man who went missing in Logan Martin Lake. (abc3340.com)Various law enforcement agencies are assisting in the search for a Riverside man who went missing in Logan Martin Lake. (abc3340.com)
    The search continues for a Riverside man who fell from a fishing boat in Logan Martin Lake on Sunday.More >>
    The search continues for a Riverside man who fell from a fishing boat in Logan Martin Lake on Sunday.
    More >>
  • Officer-involved shooting in Anniston leaves 53-year-old man dead

    Officer-involved shooting in Anniston leaves 53-year-old man dead

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:24:15 GMT
    ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) - Calhoun County officials say Anniston police fatally shot a man who was accused of pointing a gun at them. According to County Coroner Shane Adrian, 53-year-old Frank Charles Johnston was pronounced dead after being shot outside his house in the Blue Mountain area Tuesday morning. Adrian says neighbors told investigators that Johnston was standing in the street with a gun and that he pointed the weapon at responding officers. Adrian says Johnston's body is being taken to...More >>
    ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) - Calhoun County officials say Anniston police fatally shot a man who was accused of pointing a gun at them. According to County Coroner Shane Adrian, 53-year-old Frank Charles Johnston was pronounced dead after being shot outside his house in the Blue Mountain area Tuesday morning. Adrian says neighbors told investigators that Johnston was standing in the street with a gun and that he pointed the weapon at responding officers. Adrian says Johnston's body is being taken to...More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...