Around Town: Crossing the River? Fulton said to be wooing Hankerson for top job
by Bill Kinney & Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
December 08, 2012 12:06 AM | 6646 views | 6 6 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
IS LONGTIME Cobb County Manager David Hankerson about to be hired in a similar capacity by Fulton County? No, he told the Journal this week — but added he would not be surprised if he is approached about the job, as has happened in the past. And indeed, a Fulton County Commissioner strongly hinted to Around Town late Friday that such conversations have already taken place this week.

Zachary Williams, who was Fulton’s county manager from 2008 until this week, was hired Tuesday to become the new chief operating officer of DeKalb County.

It is an open secret that Hankerson has been approached numerous times by other jurisdictions.

“I’ve been recruited off and on by Fulton for 15 years,” he said. “I’ve been recruited by every chairman since Mike Kenn (1997-2003). I’ve had (current Fulton Chair) John Eaves talk to me off and on saying, ‘I want you in Fulton,’ but so did Mike, so did (Atlanta Mayor) Bill Campbell, so did everybody. I’ve been talked to by a lot of people but I’ve not made any applications. Nobody has approached me (this time from Fulton), because it’s got to go through a process. But I’m sure they’ll approach me sooner or later since they’ve got an opening.”

BUT FULTON’S EAVES probably has already reached out to Hankerson about the job, hinted Fulton Commissioner Bill Edwards on Friday.

“No name (of someone to be hired) has been laid on the table whatsoever,” said Edwards, who represents East Point, Fairburn, Hapeville and unincorporated south Fulton. “But I would venture a guess that somebody on our board has talked to Mr. Hankerson. And I have my sneaking suspicions that it’s the chairman if it happened at all.”

Continued Edwards: “It’s always been my experience that when things like this happen, somebody’s always talked to somebody. It just don’t jump out of the air. Where there’s smoke there’s fire. But we’re not trying to steal anyone from your county.”

HANKERSON told the Journal he has listened to plenty such offers through the years.

“I’ve always talked to anybody that wanted to talk. I’ve been recruited off and on for years and years and years. But it’s not something that I’ve given a lot of thought to. I’ve never been out looking for a job since I’ve been here, because I love Cobb County.”

Hankerson has been eligible to retire from Cobb since 2003, but points to the fact that he recruited many of the current department heads and the fact that he has so much institutional knowledge of the Cobb government as factors that would keep him from taking another job.

“I’ve probably been talked to eight or 10 times (since 2003) by various communities. If somebody talks to me I’ll talk to them. But my focus is to continue to do what I’m doing. If I’m not approached, I won’t be disappointed.”

THE MARIETTA CITY COUNCIL will decide on Wednesday whether to grant a zoning variance request to allow the former Northside Realty office at the corner of Whitlock Avenue and Burnt Hickory Road to be replaced with a QuikTrip convenience store/gas station.

QuikTrip is asking for 10 exceptions for the property at 900 Whitlock Ave., which is zoned Community Retail Commercial. It wants to eliminate the front setback, reduce the rear setback to 0 from 35 feet, increase the impervious surface by 5 percent, erect monument signs a foot higher than now allowed on the two roads, allow its dumpster area to be in public view, reduce the required street trees along the two roads and reduce the required setback for its fuel storage tank. QuikTrip Corp., at 49 Atlanta St. in Marietta, would pay into the city’s Tree Replacement Fund for the tree density that would be lost.

The existing building, which most recently housed a Coldwell Banker realty office but has been empty since 2006, would be demolished and be replaced by new QuikTrip prototype building, according to variance request. It would have 43 parking spaces, up from the 29 required by its zoning.

In addition, due to the site’s topography at the bottom of a slope, a 315-foot retaining wall topped by a fence would be built along the Whitlock and Burnt Hickory frontages. QuikTrip has not yet provided the city with the height or composition of the wall or fence.

“This will put the entire QT site higher than both roads,” states the analysis by the city’s Department of Development Services.

The property in question and adjacent shopping center, which is anchored by Gabriel’s and The Chicken and the Egg restaurants, are owned by LED Hickory Investors LLC of Rome.

The council meets at City Hall at 7 p.m.

A STANDING ROOM ONLY CROWD of legal heavyweights was on hand Thursday morning for the unveiling of a portrait of Cobb Senior Judge and former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Conley Ingram in the Georgia Supreme Courtroom in Atlanta.

The portrait was unveiled by Chief Justice Carol Hunstein. Marietta First United Methodist Church minister Sam Matthews gave the invocation and Justice Harris Hines of Marietta offered remarks about Ingram to a crowd that included not just family and friends but a “Who’s Who” of Georgia legal figures.

Among those on hand were Supreme Court Justices David Nahmias, Hugh Thompson and Keith Blackwell of Smyrna, retired Justice George Carlyle, Appellate Judges Harris Adams of Marietta, John Ellington and Herbert Phipps, and Cobb Superior Court Judges Robert Flournoy, Stephen Schuster and Reuben Green. Others included former Congressman Buddy Darden and Mayor Steve Tumlin of Marietta, Cobb Commissioners Helen Goreham and JoAnn Birrell, Cobb Superior Court Administrator Tom Charron, and Cobb attorneys Matt Flournoy, Tom Browning, Fred Bentley Jr., Allison and John Salter and Nathan Wade.

Also in the crowd were Ingram’s wife, Sylvia, daughters Cobb Superior Court Judge Lark Ingram (and husband Dan Pompillio) and Nancy Ingram Jordan, son Conley Ingram Jr. and wife Barbara, grandson Lawton Jordon, granddaughters Martha Ingram and Larkie Post with the judge’s first great-grandchild, Emory Post.

LOOK FOR former Gov. Zell Miller in next week’s MDJ to endorse the $1 billion stadium proposed for the Atlanta Falcons.

The public/private partnership would actually cost the public less money, once inflation is taken into account, than construction of the Georgia Dome did two decades ago, he writes.

THOUGH Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee said “leading economists” assured him that the 3 percent raises for county employees are indeed sustainable, he won’t name those economists. “I just won’t,” he told the Journal on Friday, before adding that there were two economists he spoke to before making his presentation, and that since then, two others have approached him to concur.

He said both economists told him that the federal economists and statisticians projected continued growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013.

THE HOUSE OF LU on Cherokee Street behind the Strand Theatre is about to get a new look. Owner Cindy Lu has hired interior designer Cassandra Buckalew to do a makeover of the Chinese eatery’s exterior and interior, starting with the main dining area and façade.

“We have discussed what that concept might look like and the overall feel, and we both agree it should be reflective of the culture but not the obvious, expected Asian themes so often seen and overdone in Chinese restaurants,” said Buckalew, who also is owner of the Marietta Trolley Co. “Cindy would like it to have a more modern approach without being cold.

“I am so very thrilled to be working on this project, for them and for the Square. I feel confident an update will drive more business to the restaurant and will benefit them immensely, as well as, everyone on the Square.”

HARRY NORMAN agent Johnny Sinclair, Marietta’s Ward 3 Councilman, was named Realtor of the Year Thursday by the Cobb Association of Realtors.

WEDDING BELLS: Senior Cobb Superior Court Judge Grant Brantley apparently has decided that 18 years of bachelorhood is long enough. He popped the question to girlfriend Claudia Chadwick at the Starbucks on Dallas Highway the other day. But she said the answer would be “No” unless he asked “the right way.” So the judge dropped down on one knee and proposed the proper way — and got the answer he wanted.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
December 12, 2012
Please go somewhere else Hankerson!! Anywhere else!!

That would be a major step forward for Cobb County.

This county has progressed and been successful in spite of you, not because of you.

Let's get a professional manager. Cobb County deserves someone who actually knows what they are doing.
December 10, 2012
Hope the Council doesn't allow QT the variancies etc. It will cause traffic problems at Burnt Hickory and it certainly won't help the businesses up in the shopping center. It will hurt the shopping center in several ways, one, which is very important is that it is already difficult at times to get out onto Burnt Hickory from the shopping center and if that traffic situation worsens, which it will, I am afraid it would hurt our small, local businesses. We need to help them, not work against them.
December 09, 2012
Almost 1400 views and no comments as of 12-9-12 at 2:15pm?
Please Go
December 08, 2012

Please go and help your sister county. Give them all of that knowledge you got from Cobb. Truth is, you couldn't make it there. If you were the great manager you claim to be then you should have several waiting in the wings. Every great manager know the first rule is to find and trace your replacement. Sounds like you think the county should be called Hankersonville, since you have " much institutional knowledge of the Cobb government as factors that would keep him from taking another job." Get a life!!

December 08, 2012
Wishful thinking, Hankerson. There's no way Fulton County would approach you. You are too reactionary. You're not as open-minded as Fulton Countians. They would do a national search and get a progressive, sophisticated person. You are far from what Fulton County would get. The people wouldn't tolerate you. There is no one like you in Fulton County government and never will be. You belong with the rednecks in Cobb County. You are NOT impressive.
December 12, 2012
assess Hankerson as highly qualified! Having worked with Tom Andrews at Fulton (former Fulton manager with many years of experience) acknowledged as a seasoned professional, I think Mr. Hankerson would perform well at Fulton. The finance director, O'Connor, is the best in the business and they would work well together. Although, O'Connor must be close to retirement. O'Connor knows how to manage a reserve budget, where a $30 mil shortfall could be absorbed. The big driver in property taxes is escalation in school budgets.
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