County Manager Blaine Williams is resigning Dec. 31 to take a position as assistant county manager for Athens-Clarke County.
Assistant County Manager Noah Simon, who came from Texas eight months ago, will work with Burkhalter during the search for a permanent county manager, which is expected to take at least 90 days.
Commissioner Rhonda Wallace said Burkhalter’s longevity, his relationship with the city of Rome and the immediate focus on finances and budget issues makes him the best choice as interim manager, but the board also relies on Simon.
“They’ll be a great team,” she said.
Burkhalter, a Floyd County native, was hired as the finance director in March 2006. Before that, he was chief financial officer for the Bartow County School System and spent 19 years as Rome’s finance director.
This is the busy season for the finance department but Burkhalter was confident the workload can be handled.
“I’ve got a great staff,” he said. “I’ll meet with them to reassign some duties, shift some things around. We’ll be working on making this work.”
Commission Chairman Irwin Bagwell asked Human Resources Director Larry Johnson to start advertising the position today, using the job description from last year when Williams was hired to replace Kevin Poe. Applications will be accepted for about three weeks.
Bagwell appointed Commissioners John Mayes and Garry Fricks to review the submissions “and then we’ll take the next step,” he said.
Also on Tuesday, after months of wrangling, the board voted 3-2 to pay a $195,000 change order on the $23.6 million emergency communications system contract made with Harris Corp.
Most of the additional charge was because of abnormal soil conditions and topography at some of the 10 tower sites. Williams said spending to date is still $15,000 below the contract price.
“It’s time to pay them,” Commissioner John Mayes said. “They’ve spent the money, shown us they’ve done the work, convinced us it was needed due to extraordinary circumstances and worked closely with our staff we trust.”
Wallace and County Commissioner Larry Maxey agreed.
Bagwell opposed the change order, saying Harris was required to get written approval of the board before doing the extra work. Fricks, who said he wanted more time to examine the documentation, also voted no.