County Administrator

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Supervisors see list of applicants for county’s top job

By Billy Davis

Panola County’s search for a new county administrator has yielded 13 applicants, including only one who is currently serving in that role.

Panola County Administrator David Chandler passed out a list of the 13 names Monday at supervisors’ Second District meeting. The applicants are Kelly Magee, Jeremy Flippin, Billy Bright, Trey Hamby, Levette Upshaw, Carolyn Mills, Robert B. Sullivant Jr., John A. Cannon, Jim Crowley, Sidney M. Runnels, Terry Johnson, Tim Climer and Lygunnah Bean.

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Reached after the meeting, Chandler said applicant Terry Johnson is serving as county administrator in Union County, Miss.

The applicant list includes three county employees: purchase clerk Carolyn Mills, deputy tax collector Billy Bright, and road manager Lygunnah Bean.

Other applicants employed locally include Trey Hamby, program specialist for North Delta Planning and Development in Batesville, and Levette Upshaw, finance officer for the North Panola School District.

Still other names on the list have local ties to Panola County, such as Kelly Magee, a Batesville resident who is deputy comptroller and inventory control clerk for Lafayette County; Tim Climer, formerly of Batesville and now involved in economic development in West Point, and Jim Crowley.    

The deadline for applications came last Friday, June 6.

With Supervisor Bubba Waldrup absent, the four supervisors present Monday received packets from Chandler with applications and resumes.

“Have you checked to see if they met the requirements?” Supervisor Gary Thompson asked Chandler.

“I did not check,” Chandler replied. “Since they submitted resumes, you need to review each one.”

In past months Chandler and supervisors had discussed narrowing the applicant pool via a three-person committee, but Chandler suggested Monday that the board drop that idea since he felt the pool is smaller than what he expected.  

To proceed through the applicant list, Chandler suggested that supervisors set aside a day to interview and stagger the interviews in thirty minute or one-hour intervals.

“I’ve got 10 questions to ask each one of them,” he told the board.

The job of a county administrator is described in Mississippi state law, allowing for a role with broad responsibilities and authority. Among the most important responsibilities is preparation of the annual county budget and tax levy, hence a requirement by supervisors for the next hire to have experience in accounting, budget planning or a related field, and possess a bachelor’s degree.

Other responsibilities of a county administrator include:

•Ensuring supervisors’ board decisions are “faithfully executed”

•Securing insurance coverage for county property and employees

•Supervising a solid waste department, airport property, and overseeing maintenance, janitorial services, and upkeep of all county-owned properties

•Supervising all purchases and inventory

All totaled, state law lists 16 duty requirements for a county administrator under Mississippi’s “unit” system of county government.

Chandler graduated from Delta State University with a degree in accounting. He was employed by the Mississippi’s state auditor’s office when he was hired by Panola County supervisors in 1987 to oversee a move to the unit system.

Chandler’s annual salary was $96,756 during the 2006-2007 fiscal year, but since January he is technically working on a contractual basis at $7,500 a month.

After Monday’s meeting, Chandler told The Panolian he was disappointed that the applicant pool was small.

“I really expected more than that,” he said.