Cobb County Manager David Hankerson is among three finalists for the position of Fulton County manager.
The Fulton County Board of Commissioners announced the three finalists Wednesday.
Fulton spokeswoman Bobbie Battista said the other two finalists are Dwight Ferrell, former MARTA deputy general manager, and Fulton County Finance Director Patrick O’Connor.
Fulton Board of Commissioners Chairman John Eaves said he hopes to name the winner in the next few weeks.
“We hired an executive search firm, and we gave them the charge of finding the best, and David Hankerson was among those that I brought before the commission for consideration, and certainly his reputation and the good work that he’s done over at Cobb County has resonated with me, and so that’s why we are very interested in him,” Eaves said, when asked why he’s trying to lure Hankerson away from Cobb.
Hankerson said last month that after being contacted by the search firm, he agreed to meet with the Fulton board in a private meeting to discuss the possibility of going to work there.
“I haven’t sat down with anybody or met with anybody or anything since that meeting,” Hankerson said Thursday.
Speaking of being in the top three for the Fulton job, Hankerson said, “If your name is out there, you like to be in the finalists, so it’s always an honor to be in the finalists.”
Hankerson remains uncertain on what it would take for him to accept the job if Fulton offered it to him.
“I don’t know,” he said. “You know the thing is certainly it would take a contract, but I don’t know how far we’re apart, what they’re offering, what’s their requirements, I don’t know of anything, so basically even if they offered it, we’re at square one.”
The position of Fulton County manager opened when Zach Williams left the job to become chief operating officer of DeKalb County in December. As Fulton County manager, Williams received a base salary of $200,000.
Hankerson receives a base salary of $246,923. His total compensation as manager of Cobb County is $274,007.
As for whether Fulton would be willing to pay him that amount, Eaves said, “It’s all negotiable. We want the best, and it’s all negotiable between the finalists and the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.”
Eaves wouldn’t say if he had a favorite out of the three finalists.
“I think that all of the candidates who are under consideration right now are qualified to be the new Fulton County manager,” Eaves said. “So all three are qualified. County Manager Hankerson certainly has done in my opinion a stellar job over in Cobb County.”
Hankerson said since news reports were released that he was being considered for the Fulton job, his Cobb staff for the most part have told him not to leave.
“And that’s pretty well a consensus,” Hankerson said. “I mean, we’re a team, we work together, and that’s been my motivation here because I’ve assembled a good team. We’ve got a good team here, and that’s what makes Cobb County what it is, and sometimes when a component leaves the team, it affects the overall team.”
Hankerson said a lot of people from the community have also told him he doesn’t need to leave for Fulton.
“Of course a lot of people are going to be silent,” he said. “You don’t know what they’re thinking. But the ones that talk about it in the community just out in the grocery store or in a chamber meeting or just in passing, people will say, ‘What is this I’m hearing? You’re not serious are you?’ But you know, I’ve had good support from the community, good support from the staff, and overall you know you’re always going to have a few people that differ, but overall I’ve had good support from the Board of Commissioners, my staff and others, and most of them say, ‘I don’t want you to go, but at the end of the day it’s your decision.’”
Hankerson said he loves his job and working with his staff.
“And that’s the toughest thing. Even if I make the final one to sit down, I’ve got to think about all those things,” he said.
Hankerson, 67, has been eligible to retire since December 1, 2003. He has been employed as Cobb’s manager since 1993. The current amendment to his contract was approved Jan. 27, 2011, and will expire Jan. 31, 2014.