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Retired Hall County administrator not gone yet

Monday was Shuler’s last official day, but he will consult for 3 months

POSTED: July 4, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Hall County Administrator Jim Shuler officially retired Monday after more than 30 years of working for the county. But he won’t be going too far just yet.

"I still have roots here," Shuler said. "I’ll always be connected to Hall County; I grew up here. Hall County’s basically been my only employer, and Hall County’s the only place I’ve ever lived."

Shuler, who has held a number of different positions within the county, said he has an optimistic outlook for the future.

"A lot of good things are headed this way. This area’s going to continue to be strong and grow," he said.

Shuler retired early from his position as county administrator, and the county will continue to pay him as a consultant for the next three months.

The board of commissioners or interim county administrator will be able to call Shuler for help with projects or advice as needed.

Shuler said he plans to take the summer off to relax and spend time at his house in Blairsville.

"Golf is my passion," he said.

He does not have any immediate plans to get another job, but "it’s a possibility," he said.

Commissioner Steve Gailey said he knows of other counties that are interested in hiring Shuler.

Gailey said he believes that the person hired as Hall County administrator likely will be someone who is retired from another county, like Shuler.

Shuler said his time as county administrator taught him to "depend on your people." He said teamwork with other managers and staff helped him get through issues.

"Government’s all about dealing with issues and helping people and resolving problems and providing services," he said. "With good department heads, good staff, good employees, ... I don’t see anything there that they can’t do."

Gailey described his working relationship with Shuler as "extremely close."

"He’s irreplaceable in my opinion," Gailey said. "Jim’s not perfect. But he was a really, really good manager and extremely well-liked."

Commissioner Bobby Banks said he is looking forward to having a new administrator and thinks Hall County is ready for the change.

"After July 1, Hall County will be a lot more open. There’s a lot of stuff people don’t know about," Banks said. "I can tell a difference in the employees’ morale."

Charley Nix, the director of human resources, took over as interim county administrator and will continue in that role until the search for a new administrator is completed.

"I’ve got pretty big shoes to fill," Nix said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jim. I also have confidence in my ability to make the transition smooth."

The search for the new administrator has not yet begun, but the position could take 3 to 6 months to fill.

"Sometimes you get lucky and you find someone who clicks sooner than later," said Nix, who will be involved in the search for the new administrator.

Nix said becoming the permanent county administrator is not his objective, but he is not ruling out the possibility completely.

Gailey said he worries that the position will be hard to fill because of "too much negative press over the last six months" about Hall County.

He also thinks the county’s retirement program, which is investment-based, is not attractive to prospective employees because of the condition of the stock market.

Nix said acclimating to a new county administrator will be difficult, but "change in any organization is not necessarily a negative thing. Change can be good."



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