The Hall County Board of Commissioners has narrowed its search for a new county administrator to two finalists and will make a decision at its Nov. 13 meeting.
Interim Hall County Administrator Charley Nix and James "Butch" Sanders, former city administrator for Dalton, are the top candidates for the position.
The county has received 40 applications for the job since Aug. 21, and four candidates were interviewed.
Former County Administrator Jim Shuler retired June 30 after eight years in that capacity.
Nix was human resources director for Hall County before he was appointed interim administrator by the commission. He has been acting as administrator since July 1.
Hall County Commission Chairman Tom Oliver said he feels the most important quality for an administrator is the ability to work well with people.
Oliver has offered his support for Nix in the past.
"I’m still pleased with Charley," Oliver said. "It seems like he’s developed very, very good relationships with staff and department heads and within the community."
But Oliver said commissioners went through the interview process and selected another candidate they feel very confident in as well.
"We were very diligent in our process," Oliver said, and called Sanders "quite a qualified candidate."
In accordance with state law, the board must wait 14 days after announcing the finalists before voting on the position.
But though the commission has some time to make a decision, Oliver feels commissioners soon will decide on a new administrator.
"I think we’re close to a consensus," Oliver said.
Sanders said he was attracted to Hall County because of the quality of its government.
"I believe Hall County’s a very progressive government, a stable government. I think the elected officials and staff have always been forward thinking, and that’s the type of government I’d like to be involved in," Sanders said.
Sanders has worked in government for more than 20 years, and said he has a lot of experience to offer.
Though Nix has been working for Hall County since 2006, Sanders said he is not worried about being an outsider.
"I don’t really look at it as a real competition. When elected officials make a decision from the top two, anyone ... will be very capable and be able to serve the community well," Sanders said. "I just appreciated the opportunity to compete for the job, and I hope for the best."
Nix said though he wasn’t originally interested in becoming the county administrator, he has discovered he enjoys it in his time as interim.
"Six months ago I didn’t have my sights set on this position," Nix said. "Frankly, I love it."
Nix said his experience in human resources will be a good fit for the position, and his time as an interim director has allowed others to watch how he performs as administrator.
"I was a candidate just like any other candidate," Nix said. "Any interim candidate has kind of got an advantage because it’s kind of like you’re on an extended interview. You’re on the job interviewing while you’re here.
"People can actually observe whether you’re succeeding or not while you’re here," he said.